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Women’s HIV Program at UCSF and Rhodessa Jones (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Performing Arts Grant awarded in 2016 

To premiere: October 2017

Rhodessa Jones and her Medea Project for Incarcerated Women are developing a new work with participants in the Women’s HIV Program at UCSF, focusing on the theme of violence against women. Over decades of work with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, Jones has honed methods that help women develop the skills and confidence to tell their stories publicly. She previously worked with women living with HIV in 2008, and at that time emphasized their need to acknowledge their health status and share it with partners and family members. Those participants’ stories revealed that many were living with lifelong histories of trauma from violence.

In her project beginning in late 2016, Jones proposes to focus on workshops and performances that help these women address their trauma directly, heal from past abuse, and avoid further trauma. She will work closely with Dr. Edward Machtinger of the Women’s HIV Program to identify participants and produce community forums, speaking engagements, and open rehearsals with feedback sessions. The project will culminate with performances at the Buriel Clay Theater in October 2017.

Rhodessa Jones has developed dozens of original works with the Medea Project for Incarcerated Women and with Cultural Odyssey, the company she co-created with Idris Ackamoor.