Sylvia Ryerson

Sylvia Ryerson is a radio producer, sound artist and journalist whose work probes the overlapping crises of mass incarceration, rural poverty, and environmental destruction. Her work has been featured on the BBC Radio 4, NPR, The Marshall Project,, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival. After graduating from Wesleyan University, Sylvia moved to southeastern Kentucky to work at Appalshop, a renowned documentary arts center and home to WMMT-FM community radio. Sylvia served as a reporter and Director of Public Affairs for WMMT-FM, and led the production of Calls from Home, a nationally recognized radio program sending messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in Central Appalachia. In 2014, Sylvia started Restorative Radio, a participatory radio project that broadcasts audio postcards from family members to their loved ones in prison. The project aims to transcend prison walls and change public perceptions of who is behind them.

Project Description

During the Institute Sylvia Ryerson will be working on her participatory radio project, Restorative Radio. Sylvia works with families that have loved ones incarcerated in prison or immigrant detention centers to create “audio postcards” from home that are broadcast on public airwaves to reach their relatives inside. In broadcasting a sense of intimacy and family connectedness into the very surveilled spaces that deny humanity, this project is a public intervention that aims to destabilize the normalization of mass incarceration and mass detention, and provide pathways for healing.

Read more about the Restorative Radio project on the Transom Media site…