Kim Marie Clark
Kim Marie Clark is a doctoral student, a San Diego Fellow, and a Freida Daum Urey Fellow. Clark’s research integrates scholarly communication with engaged social and media practice. Her primary focus surrounds intersections between cultural and knowledge production and exchange, and efforts to fight mass incarceration, police brutality, and the detention and deportation of im\migrants. Her work is informed by and in support of the broadening scope and reach of intercultural and international grassroots community-building and self-advocacy efforts involving digital and static media.
A McNair Scholar, Kim completed a dual Baccalaureate degree in Sociology and Africana Studies at Binghamton University. Her archival research surrounding Pura Belpré was conducted under Dr. Gladys Jimenez-Muñoz. As a Clifford D. Clark Graduate Fellow, Clark received her Master of Public Administration degree and Certificate in Nonprofit Management, also from Binghamton University.
Her research examined International Service Learning programs, and domestic and international community-based organizations.
Clark has been actively engaged in social and media justice practice for over 20 years. She is the Founder (2002), and former Director of FREE! Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment, a women-led, self-advocacy collective in New York, NY (originally named Prison Families Community Forum). FREE!’s mission is to empower and mobilize people with incarcerated loved ones to create viable community alternatives to the destructive, profit-driven prison industry, and build avenues for increased participation in existing social structures.
In 2006, Kim was awarded a $50,000 Union Square Award for her visionary leadership of FREE! She has also contributed various grassroots and coalition efforts across New York State to encourage and strengthen the self-determination of disenfranchised people.
Clark has traveled to Ghana, Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Canada, Holland, and Italy.
Kim Marie Clark’s research is situated in communities across New York and around the world. While working with families of prisoners (2002-2009) Clark conducted extensive collaborative field research of communications and legislative policy. This work helped to uncover unethical state contracts, the inner workings of which produced decades of exorbitant telephone charges. The exploitative fee structure punitively and illegally taxed people with incarcerated loved ones for keeping their families connected.
Under Clark’s leadership, the prison families collective spearheaded the “Stop the Contract” Campaign (2003) leading to a larger statewide coalition, and the development of the NY Campaign for Telephone Justice. This research and social practice allowed the statewide coalition to expose and eliminate the $26 million annual kickback to NY State.
Clark’s field research on prison telephone contracts contributed to her associate production of a documentary, “Collect Call” (2008), with Diana Logreira a (then) Hunter College MFA student.
Graduate level field research of four nonprofits in Cusco, Peru (2013) most notably Pasa la Voz, found linkages between positive transformations among youth linked to Peruvian criminal justice and social services systems and the interactive pedagocical integration of communication tools and media production.
Clark’s Masters thesis (2014) study examined International Service Learning (ISL) assessment practices for Binghamton University’s Office of International Programs to help remedy impoverished learning outcomes data, and improve approaches to collaborative knowledge production projects.
As a McNair scholar Clark’s archival research examined how Pura Belpré, a Puerto Rican migrant, engaged Afro-diasporic communication, culture, and authorship to create transcultural, cross-platform experiences. Belpré’s work transformed the shape of NY Public Library systems, and literacy and community engagement in NYC (1920’s-1980’s). Clark’s paper, “Using Media Arts for Social Change: A Torch Lit by a Love for Her People” was presented at the 2011 McNair Scholars conference in Buffalo, NY.
Clark also conducted ethnographic research on local (traditional and post-colonial) justice policies and practices in Accra and Volta Region, Ghana (2010). She has also employed video to interview people impacted by NY State cuts higher education funds and simultaneous increases in prison expansion. She also interviewed women about being catcalled and approached in NYC streets by men they don’t know, creating a short documentary entitled, “Fair Game” (1998).
Clark’s media and artistic practice includes working with clay, creative writing, music, performance, and videography.
"To create healthy and sustainable structures for communities pushed to the peripheries of the public sphere, we must prioritize putting digital media authoring tools in the hands of the people who can tell first hand the stories least shared, but most insightful." ~Kim Marie Clark (2013)