Sherrill Roland

 

What is your concentration and classification at UNCG?

My concentration is Studio Art and my classification is 2nd Year MFA Graduate student.

What brought you to UNCG?

Well that is a long story. I wanted to learn how to be a professional artist. I started the Graduate program here at UNCG in 2012 and then I was sent to prison in 2013 at the beginning of my second year. I really didn’t possess the same desire, after my Washington DC experience, that I had when I started in 2012. I wanted to succeed in 2012 for myself but now I only wish to succeed in helping others.

Part of your MFA is the Jumpsuit Project, explain how this started and what it does?

For more than three years, I was forced to relinquish control of my life. Through this very personal project, I want to provide an opportunity for people impacted by incarceration (whether directly or indirectly) to share their stories and to create a new network of support for each other. The stories before, during and after incarceration are usually the ones we don’t share.

How has it been wearing the jumpsuit everyday you’re on campus?

Wearing the orange jumpsuit everyday is laborious. I would love to wear regular clothes on campus like any other student. Even though it's not an actually County Jail suit, it still receives the same reactions that a real jail suit would initiate. But I find strength in the motivation and purpose behind it. The entire point is for me to share my story with others, so they can feel less isolated in the world.

What are some responses you have gotten from this project?

I have received some very inspirational responses to this project. Every response is valuable, both negative and positive. We all need to discuss mass incarceration issues and address the reasons why we reach certain conclusions about those who have been incarcerated. It’s good practice, not just for issues around incarceration but for other issues too.

What are some outcomes you hope to see or have seen, either personally or in the community?

I hope to continue to spread the project to other campuses, across disciplines. I think that UNCG has a diverse campus and I want to explore what the jumpsuit is capable of doing within different cultures. Depending on how far I go, I would like to partner with organizations to help inmates reentering society and/or lend legal advice as well.    

Do you want this project to continue after you graduate?

Yes, I hope to continue with this work as long as others can take something useful away from it.

What are you plans or hopes after you graduation?

My plans are very simple and probably are inline with many soon-to-be graduates. I just want a job to be very honest.

Check out the website for his project:

www.jumpsuitproject.com

Or join the Jumpsuit Project Facebook Group Below:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheJumpsuitProject/