Sylvia Ryerson



PhD Student


Sylvia Ryerson received her B.A. from Wesleyan University with High Honors in American Studies and Music. After graduating in 2010, Sylvia worked at Appalshop, a documentary arts center in Central Appalachia. Sylvia served as a radio producer and Director of Public Affairs Programming for Appalshop’s community radio station WMMT-FM, and led Calls from Home, a nationally recognized radio show broadcasting toll-free phone messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in rural Appalachia. In 2015 she started Restorative Radio, a participatory audio documentary project that sends “audio postcards” to people in prisons and ICE immigrant detention centers. Her research is rooted at the intersection of scholarship, activism and art, and probes the overlapping crises of mass incarceration and detention, rural poverty, and environmental destruction. Her work has been featured on NPR, the BBC, The Marshall Project, the Boston Review, the Third Coast International Audio Festival,, and in the film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes.