Recovery in Practice

February 2, 2024

John Freyer
John Freyer

Research Fridays: John Freyer

Start time: 12:00 p.m.

End time: 1:00 p.m

Location: Virtual

View event video

Please join the VCU Humanities Research Center for an update on John Freyer’s “Recovery in Practice” project which brings together artists, writers, researchers and activists with lived experience in recovery from substance use disorders.

Freyer hosted the first iteration of Recovery in Practice in September 2023 at Columbia University.  The program featured a series of panels, workshops, readings and shared community meals. Speakers included writers Leslie Jamison, Mary Karr, Elizabeth Crane, Valley Haggard, Joy Priest and Kaveh Akbar; artists Amanda Valdez and Paul Villinski; recovery advocates, Keith Murphy, Caleb Knight, Kristine De Jesus, Reverend Jan M. Brown and Columbia Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Carl Erik Fisher. The program also carefully attended to the intersectional nexus between recovery and decarceration, foregrounding the voices of the formerly incarcerated; including, Stanford School of Medicine Researcher Noel Vest, musician and recovery advocate Kasey Anderson, Dziko Singleton Harm Reduction Coordinator at Health Brigade in Richmond VA and Morgan Godvin founder of the harm reduction project Beats Overdose.

Freyer is working to bring “Recovery In Practice” on tour to the home institutions of the inaugural program participants with events planned in Richmond in 2024 and Portland in 2025.  

About the Speaker

John D. Freyer is an artist, author and educator based in Richmond Virginia. His projects include All My Life for Sale, Big Boy, Live IKEA, Free Ice Water and Free Hot Coffee. Freyer is an Associate Professor of Cross Disciplinary Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. Freyer’s practice engages accidental audiences in galleries, museums, and public spaces. He explores the role of everyday, personal objects in our lives – as commodities, fetishes, and totems and investigates how the circulation of objects and stories enrich social ties between individuals and groups. He earned his B.A. from Hamilton College and M.A. & M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. His work has been reviewed in The New Yorker, The Sunday London Times, Artforum, Print Magazine and NBC’s The Today ShowFreyer is a Fulbright Scholar, a Macdowell Colony Fellow and was an Artist in Residence at Light Work and the Fannon Center, Doha, Qatar. Freyer has brought his social practice projects – Free Ice Water and Free Hot Coffee to the TEDx stage, has exhibited at Mixed Greens Gallery in New York, the Liverpool Biennial Fringe in Liverpool, UK and was a 2018 Tate Exchange Associate at Tate Modern, London.