Multimedia artist Nigel Poor ’86, co-creator, co-producer, and co-host of the award-winning podcast Ear Hustle, a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Audio Reporting, will address the class of 2020 at Bennington College’s 85th commencement. Poor’s visual artwork explores the various ways people make a mark and leave behind evidence of their existence. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and can be found in various museum collections including the SFMOMA, the M.H. deYoung Museum, The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. She is also a professor of photography at California State University, Sacramento.
In 2011, Poor got involved with San Quentin State Prison as a volunteer teacher for the Prison University Project. In 2013, she started working with a group of incarcerated men producing a radio project. Currently, Poor is the co-creator, co-producer, and co-host of the award-winning podcast Ear Hustle, which shares everyday stories of life inside prison told from the perspective of those who live it. Ear Hustle, now on the cusp of its fifth season, is produced by Poor and Earlonne Woods, who was formerly incarcerated at San Quentin. The podcast is a collaboration between people inside and outside the prison system, working together as colleagues. Although the show concentrates on life inside San Quentin, it ultimately addresses larger questions about humanity.
Since its inception, Ear Hustle episodes have been downloaded over 38 million times, and today, prisons around the world are sharing Ear Hustle stories internally. It has received critical acclaim from the New York Times Magazine, WIRED, PBS Newshour, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered, Rolling Stone, The Economist, The Marshall Project, and The Guardian. Ear Hustle has also received 2 Peabody nominations.
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