For The Wild Podcast

DR. BRETT STORY on How We Belong to Each Other / 303

September 7, 2022

This week, Ayana is joined by filmmaker and author Dr. Brett Story. Together, they ponder justice, accountability, and interconnection in a complex and rapidly changing world. 


In this intellectual and timely conversation, Brett begins by unpacking how carceral logics and conceptions of the “criminal” work, mark and dictate the world spatially, while at the same time explaining the socially-constructed nature of crime. Brett’s work examines the ways we individually and collectively metabolize our anxieties, and through this lens, she makes connections across the broad issues of our current reality from changing climates to criminal justice systems that were designed to enforce control rather than to produce true justice. 


At the center of the conversation is the question of  interdependence– emphasizing the need for community and collective action in the face of neoliberal individualism. Mass-incarceration and climate change are not crises of the individual, but of our culture. The abolitionist imagination may be the key to a collective future– as Brett reminds listeners that our aspirations can be both practical and utiopan. 


Brett Story is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker based in Toronto whose films have screened at festivals and theaters internationally. She is the director of the award winning feature documentaries The Hottest August (2019) and The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016), both of which were also broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens. Brett holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. She is the author of the book, Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America.  Brett was a 2016 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in film and video.


Music by Jahawi Bertolli, Jahnavi Veronica, and Leyla McCalla. Visit our website at for the full episode description, references, and action points.


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