Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, is an artist and teacher currently employed as an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa. She has a joint appointment between the School of Art & Art History (Intermedia) and Gender Women's and Sexuality Studies. She is originally from North Carolina (the Eastern Coastal Plain), but she has lived in Iowa since 1998, and taught at The University of Iowa since 1999. Her work as a researcher and creative scholar has always been focused on women's issues, community, art, and people who are incarcerated. She earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing from East Carolina University and an MFA (Studio Art) and a Ph.D.(Art Education) from Florida State University.
American alternative/single creator comics and graphic novels have been at the heart of her creative scholarship for the past few years. Her graphic scholarship has been published by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, and the International Journal of Comic Art. Her current projects include a graphic novel about the Detroit Race Riots of 1943, a mini comic about police brutality,and The Prison Chronicles, a series of stories about working in women's prisons.
While Professor Williams is an artist she is also an academic scholar. Her traditional scholarship has been focused on women in prison. She has worked with incarcerated women since 1994. The prisons where she has conducted research include the Monroe County Jail in Key West, Florida, Jefferson Correctional Institution in Florida, Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, Deerlodge Correctional Institution in Montana, the State Training School in Eldora, Iowa, the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, Iowa, the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa and HMP Holloway in London, England. She has visited and toured numerous other correctional institutions in the US. In 2010 she enrolled in the Inside-Out Prison Education Program through Temple University . Her scholarship has been published by the Journal of Correctional Education, The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, the Journal of Art Education, and Visual Arts Research. She is also the Co-Editor of the Marilyn Zurmuehlen Working Papers.