Rachel Williams

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Rachel Williams
Associate Professor and Chair
Art & Art History; Office of the Ombudsperson
401 Jefferson Building
(319) 335-3022

Rachel Marie-Crane Williams is an artist and teacher currently employed as an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa and as a University Ombuds. She has a joint appointment between the School of Art and Art History (Intermedia) and Gender Women's and Sexuality Studies. Half of her time is also spent in the Office of the Ombuds in Seashore Hall.  

She is originally from North Carolina (the Eastern Coastal Plain), but she has lived in Iowa since 1998, and taught at The University of Iowa since 1999. Her work as a researcher and creative scholar has always been focused on women’s issues, community, art, and people who are incarcerated. She earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing from East Carolina University and an MFA (Studio Art) and a Ph.D.(Art Education) from Florida State University. Since graduating she has pursued additional training and certifications through Doulas of North America, Lamaze International Childbirth Education, the Rape Victims Advocate Program, Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Inside Out through Temple University, The International Ombudsman Association, and mediation training at Johnson County Community College.

American alternative/single creator comics and graphic novels have been at the heart of her creative scholarship for the past few years. Her graphic scholarship has been published by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, and the International Journal of Comic Art. Her current projects include a graphic novel about the Detroit Race Riots of 1943, a novella about the lynching of Mary Turner, a mini comic about police brutality,and The Prison Chronicles, a series of stories about working in women's prisons. She recently completed 25 large scale illustrations for the Guts and Glory exhibition about the Czechoslovak Legion during World War I for the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library which are on display through December of 2018.

The traditional scholarship of Professor Williams has been focused on women in prison. She has worked with incarcerated women since 1994. The prisons where she has conducted research include the Monroe County Jail in Key West, Florida, Jefferson Correctional Institution in Florida, Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, Deerlodge Correctional Institution in Montana, the State Training School in Eldora, Iowa, the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, Iowa, the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa and HMP Holloway in London, England. She has visited and toured numerous other correctional institutions in the US. Her scholarship has been published by the Journal of Correctional Education, Southern Cultures, The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, the Journal of Art Education, and Visual Arts Research, Feminist Studies.

Professor Williams teaches courses about comics and sequential art, women's studies, intermedia, prison, feminist research methods, and civic engagement.

Her work can be explored at http://rachelwilliams.squarespace.com/