Our Story

Mass Story Lab is a participatory storytelling project designed by storyteller, educator, and cultural organizer, Piper Anderson. Mass Story Lab aims to make stories an instrument of justice. In a Mass Story Lab the stories of people directly impacted by mass incarceration become the transformative lens through which communities imagine a world beyond prisons. Mass Story Lab aims to reach 20 U.S communities between 2016-2018.



The Mass Story Process

Mass Story Labs facilitate discussion, participation, and collaboration and serve as community platforms to confront the impacts of mass incarceration. Through engaged story circles, dialogue, and design sessions, Mass Story Labs articulate the real lived experiences of mass incarceration affecting our communities in order to design more restorative approaches to justice.


Public Story Circle

Our public circles bring stories together to build communities of shared experiences. As intimate settings they help to reveal the impact of mass incarceration through a structured story circle process.

Dialogue with Story Agents and Witnesses

Participants reflects on stories told through a facilitated dialogue and form connections that creating healing, strengthen community, and increase civic engagement.

Community Design Session

Lastly, everyone participates in community design sessions to address systemic problems presented by the stories in efforts to collaboratively design strategies for change.



Who participates in a Mass Story event?

Engaged Witnesses: people strategically positioned to create change

  • Concerned community members
  • People who work in corrections
  • Police
  • Criminal defense attorneys
  • Prosecutors
  • Judges
  • Social workers
  • Re-entry Practitioners
  • Educators
  • Artists and cultural workers

Story Agents: people directly impacted by incarceration

  • Formerly incarcerated people
  • Family members of incarcerated people
  • Victims of crime
  • Family members of victims of crime
  • People criminalized by law enforcement


Become a Catalyst: Bring Mass Story to Your City

Catalyst partners are coalitions, criminal justice organizations, universities, businesses, and public agencies that recognize the need for a Mass Story lab in their community and make it happen. Partners provide space to host the Mass Story event, lead outreach efforts, and fundraising.