Outside the Wire is a multi-format humanities project that highlights the narratives and experiences of American veterans throughout the country’s history of conflict. This year supported in part by a COVID-19 Response Grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, this project includes generative writing workshops for the veteran community in South Jersey and Philadelphia led by national nonprofit Warrior Writers; an annual public program featuring conversations between recent veterans and writers/scholars/curators whose work intersects with issues of concern to veterans and service members, and a digital exhibit co-curated by veterans themselves.
During the 2021-22 project cycle, Outside the Wire will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the military community. How has the pandemic intensified the isolation many veterans already feel? How has it inflected or triggered memories of trauma from their service experiences? How have veterans participated in or benefited from the swell of mutual aid and community action that have colored the last two years?
Learn more about this project’s programs below or sign up for our email list to hear updates.
Facilitators from national nonprofit Warrior Writers facilitate a series of free, generative writing workshops for veterans and active duty service members. “Generative” means that writers in these sessions produce brand-new writing in the moment; there’s no need to have work ready to share before hand. In 2021-22, some of these workshops will take place virtually. They are open to any veteran or active-duty service member.
2021-22 Workshop Schedule
January 22, 2022, 1 – 3 pm EST.
More workshop dates coming soon.
Sign up for our email list to receive updates on future workshop dates and other events in this series.
Each year, our public program places veterans, writers, scholars, and curators in conversation around a theme of importance to veterans and active duty service members. Some highlights:
In 2017, veteran medics and nurses were in conversation with Professor Jane Schultz (IUPUI) and Professor Tyler Hoffman (Rutgers-Camden) about the comparative experiences of contemporary medical professionals in the military and those of writers like Walt Whitman and Louisa May Alcott during the Civil War.
On November 14, 2018, Andrew Carroll, director of the Center for American War Letters, delivered a lecture about the history and significance of war letters, followed by a conversation between Mr. Carroll, Army veteran Joe Nygard, and his mother Nancy.
In January 2020, veterans Nicky Castro and Mike Miller were in conversation with journalist Helen Benedict and curator/historian Samuel Black about the unique experiences of marginalized groups in the service, including women and service members of color.
On March 25, 2021, poet Jehanne Dubrow and anthropologist Gala True joined veteran speakers to discuss the impact of service on veterans’ families.
Veterans Respond to COVID-19: Call for Submissions
In 2022, we are seeking veterans, active duty service members, and/or family members to contribute to and/or co-curate a digital exhibit that sheds light on veterans’ experiences of the pandemic. Veterans, service members, and family members are invited to submit an object, document, or other artifact that represents or is associated with their experience of the pandemic. Photographs of objects and replicas of documents will be featured in the exhibit accompanied by participants’ written or oral narratives about the artifacts and their relationship to participants’ experiences.
To participate, please contact Leah Falk (email@example.com) with the subject line “Outside the Wire Exhibit” and attach a photograph of the object or document you would like to share (image size minimum 2000 x 12000). Leah will communicate with you about the accompanying narrative. If you already have something written about the object or document that you would like to share, you may attach it; please limit written submissions to between 500-1000 words (.doc, .docx, .pdf or Google Drive links only).
Letters Home Digital Exhibit (2020)
This online exhibit features letters from three veterans with ties to Rutgers. Browse the letters and read these service members’ stories at https://writinghome.omeka.net/exhibits/show/lettershome
Outside the Wire is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.