Indigenous Prison Arts & Education Program (IPAEP)

The Indigenous Prison Arts and Education Project (IPAEP) is a new initiative in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. The IPAEP makes post-secondary education more accessible to incarcerated people, supports prisoner advocacy, and facilitates creative arts programming inside prisons. We also support research related to Indigenous prison arts and education. IPAEP is currently offering three established programs:


Inspired Minds: All Nations Creative Writing


Inspired Minds (IM) is a creative writing program for people who are incarcerated in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

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Bedtime Stories


The Bedtime Stories program is part of the Inspired Minds program.


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Walls 2 Bridges

The Walls to Bridges program brings together university students with incarcerated people to study as peers. 

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Nancy Van Styvendale is a white settler scholar, Associate Professor, and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Native Studies. She is Director of the Indigenous Prison Arts & Education Project (IPAEP), and a co-founder and coordinator of Inspired Minds, a creative writing program for incarcerated people in Saskatchewan and Alberta. She is member of Free Lands Free Peoples, an Indigenous-led, anti-colonial penal abolition group focused on public education and prisoner justice in the prairies. She does community-engaged research in the field of Indigenous literatures, with particular commitments to Indigenous prison writing; penal abolition; arts-based programs in prison; and community-engaged/community-based education. 


Sarah Auger is a PhD Candidate in Educational Policy Studies with a specialization in Indigenous Peoples Education. Her doctoral research examines Indigenous art as pedagogy. She holds an M.Ed. in Educational Policy Studies (2012) and a B.A. in Native Studies (1999). Sarah is a citizen of Mikisew Cree First Nation, Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, where her father’s family resides. Her mother’s family is Métis from Lac Ste Anne, Alberta. She is also a beadwork artist who has maintained a long-standing personal and professional interest in Indigenous prison art.