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If Justice Was a Woman, 2018 – ongoing

A Machine to Unmake You is a project created by Melanie Crean in conjunction with the Foundation for Art and Contemporary Technology in Liverpool UK, the sociology department of John Moores University, and incarcerated veterans. FACT commissioned Crean to work with incarcerated veterans to create a “knowledge library” of material they feel would be helpful for civilians to understand about challenges people face when leaving the military. Working with ex-military at Altcourse prison, the group decided to focus instead on society’s stereotyping of both veterans and the incarcerated, and the need for offboarding services after leaving the military. If bootcamp is a “machine” that makes soldiers, the veterans described that there is no machine to “unmake them,” nothing to help soldiers return to civilian society.

The project goal is to work with advisors to Parliament to create materials for an ad campaign for this “Machine,” and in so doing, discuss what programs such a Machine might consist of, and how one might market them to other decision makers. Funding for veterans is being considered for elimination, so determining and swaying decision makers’ opinions is timely and crucial. The group began by creating an insight strategy document and Style Guide for the speculative campaign, which they hope to “user test” with parliamentary advisors from the Howard League in 2021. The final output will consist of photography and video filmed for the campaign at Altcourse prison, a Style Guide describing how the group translates key selling points and key messaging to a speculative visual advertising strategy, as well as a range of sample ads.