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. 


Karrie Auger is a nehiyawak iskwew, originally from Bigstone Cree Nation (Wabasca, Desmarais). She grew up most of her life in beautiful amiskwaciwâskahikan. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies in 2019. She spent two summers of her undergrad as a research assistant at the Faculty of Native Studies, in critical prison studies, which led her down the path of working with and for incarcerated peoples. She has been part of several grass-roots driven prisoner-advocacy groups and projects, and has built many beautiful connections with folks doing amazing work to support prisoners and formerly-incarcerated peoples. She is a poet, and full-heartedly believes in the power of art to heal, to connect, to resist.