Mercedes Eng, 2022-23 Shadbolt Fellow
Host department: Department of English and the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Mercedes Eng is an author and award-winning poet writing about sex work, the prison-industrial complex, and resistance. She also teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and recently completed her term as SFU Department of English's Ellen and Warren Tallman writer-in-residence.
During her fellowship at SFU, Mercedes will be working a women’s prison anthology constellating the knowledges of people with experience of women’s prisons in Canada, allowing readers to access information produced by those most affected by the prison system. To activate the public’s imagination towards a world without prisons, her hope is that it contributes to ongoing and new conversations on transformative justice and abolition, particularly around racialized carcerality, carceral feminism, and the interrelation of systems working together in service of the carceral state, such as psychiatric institutions and foster care.
As part of this project, Mercedes will host a public event on defunding the police and decarceration, which will include an imaginative element asking attendees to contribute their thoughts on what is necessary to reform or abolish prisons. Attendees will be encouraged to dream big, be practical and be artistic in their responses, and what is generated will form the basis of an anonymous anti-carceral community poem for the prison anthology.
Mercedes' term as a Shadbolt Fellow runs from January to August 2023.