Human Kindness Foundation: Together-Apart

Human Kindness Foundation 50 year logo

Leela Prasad


Type: Lab

Students in the Duke University Humanities Unbounded Lab, “Asia” in the Making of American Religiosity Lab collaborated with Executive Director Erin Parish of Human Kindness Foundation to research the Foundation's archives. Human Kindness Foundation has promoted spirituality, mindfulness and wellness for people experiencing incarceration and their families for 50 years. Much of this work has included receiving and responding to letters and artwork sent from people living in prisons and jails. The organization now has a rich collection of decades of writing and artwork illustrating the hardship, resilience and wisdom experienced during incarceration.

During Fall and Spring semester of academic year 2022-2023, undergraduate student fellows went through several decades of Human Kindness Foundation newsletters to collect impactful excerpts from letters written during incarceration. Students created a coding and definitional system to theme these letters. The organizational structure for this content facilitated the creative development of Together-Apart, a new performance piece written by Lyden Harris, founder and artistic director of Hidden Voices arts collective. The writing and art form the basis of Together-Apart to tell a story of connections and community formation in the midst of disconnection and isolation. The piece was performed on December 2, 2023 as part of Human Kindness Foundation's 50th anniversary celebration.


  • Ishrit Gupta
  • Gargi Sahasrabudhe
  • Ana Beatriz Sales Vieira Macedo