American INSIGHT

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American INSIGHT
AI Muse.svg
Type501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization
Coordinates40°00′30″N 75°15′38″W / 40.008446°N 75.26046°W / 40.008446; -75.26046Coordinates: 40°00′30″N 75°15′38″W / 40.008446°N 75.26046°W / 40.008446; -75.26046
Margaret Chew Barringer

American INSIGHT’s mission is to promote knowledge of (and insight into) "Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law," by broadening exposure to the history and future of Free Speech through emerging technologies. Combining the resources of a broadcast-quality television production company with a fully integrated digital network and delivery system for multi-platform media content, American INSIGHT is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization registered in the State of Pennsylvania.[1]


American INSIGHT was founded in 1983 by Margaret Chew Barringer under the original name of the American Poetry Center to promote Free Speech and the Spoken Word. Its success in Pennsylvania led to the creation of National Poetry Month. The organization legally changed its name to American INSIGHT as it prepared to reach Internet audiences through the latest advances in all-digital historic archival research, video production techniques, and Internet-based delivery systems. [2]

American Insight, in its original incarnation as the American Poetry Center, is referred to in various literary and artistic settings and critical works (for example in discussing Robert Creeley[3])

Ongoing Programs[edit]

Internship Program[edit]

Initiated in 2001, American INSIGHT's Internship Program has fostered the talents of over 50 university students in the Greater Philadelphia area who are dedicated to preserving our nation's history. Interns who successfully volunteer or receive academic credit for a semester are eligible to apply for American INSIGHT's paid Internships. By including Interns in all phases of the production of historical documentaries, American INSIGHT fills a critical need in our nation's television production industry.

Free Speech Film Festival + Free Speech Award[edit]

American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival was created and developed after six years of detailed research into the history of Free Speech. Managed by university students enrolled in American INSIGHT’s Internship Program, the Festival is a low-cost, grassroots, sustainable program that unites Celebrity Presenters, students, scholars, poets, artists, scientists, writers, educators, and the general public in conversations about the history and future of Free Speech.[4]

Filmmakers from nations around the world participated in American INSIGHT's 2012 Free Speech Film Festival. Winner of the 2012 Free Speech Awards was Free China: The Courage to Believe, directed by Michael Perlman and Kean Wong. The film focuses on human rights and slave labor camps inside China, and is told through the story of a Chinese mother whose life is transformed by the peaceful spiritual movement that swept across China in the 1990s. Israeli-American film director, Joseph Ohayon, won American INSIGHT's 2013 Free Speech Award for his documentary, Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New World. The documentary explores the depths of the current human condition and the emergence of a new worldview.

American INSIGHT’s 2015 Free Speech Award-winning film, Honor Diaries, the first film to break the silence on “honor violence” against women and girls, features women’s rights advocates with roots in Muslim majority societies. Winner of American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Award in 2016, Australian Director Judy Rymer’s film, I Will Not Be Silenced, graphically predicts the beginnings of change for women in Kenya. British Director Tarquin Ramsay’s film Free Speech Fear Free, examines the lurking threat of corporate and government surveillance, and won American INSIGHT’s 2017 Free Speech Award.

American INSIGHT's 2018 Free Speech Award was given to TEAM ENOUGH, a youth-based group committed to ending gun violence. The 2019 Free Speech Award was presented to Brave New Films Founder and Director Robert Greenwald for his film "SUPPRESSED: The Fight to Vote." The event took place at Cliveden of the National Trust in Germantown. 2020 Free Speech Award was given to "BOXED", based on the true story of an enslaved man who mailed himself to freedom in Philadelphia in 1849, directed by Wanjiru Njendu.

Free Speech Storyline[edit]

American INSIGHT's Free Speech Storyline was initially based on research completed by our Interns on Philadelphia artist Violet Oakley, who was commissioned to complete thirteen life size murals in the Governor’s Reception Room at the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1906. Featured in the story are William Tyndale printing the Bible in English, Poet Anne Askew, the English Civil War, Quaker leader George Fox, and six murals depicting the visionary life of William Penn. American INSIGHT Interns continue to carry the Storyline both backward through history and forward to the next Free Speech Award-winning film.

Andrew Hamilton, Esq.: The Philadelphia Lawyer[edit]

A website-in-progress dedicated to continuing research on Colonial lawyer and public figure, Andrew Hamilton, Esq. Hamilton is best remembered for his pro bono defense of John Peter Zenger in 1735, in which he successfully defended the press’ right to free speech, forty years before the American Revolution.

Benjamin Chew, Esq.: The Politics of Peace[edit]

A website-in-progress dedicated to promoting ongoing historical research, manuscripts, articles, lectures and films about the life and career of a critically important, but overlooked, American hero, Benjamin Chew, Esq. A lifelong pacifist, negotiator and consummate lawyer, Chew helped forge the legal pathways that led to the creation of the United States Constitution.

Arthur B. Carles: Philadelphia Artist[edit]

Completed in 2005, American INSIGHT's first historical documentary Arthur B. Carles: Philadelphia Artist, examines the life and work of seminal Philadelphia artist, Arthur B. Carles, and was produced in cooperation with seventeen scholars over forty cultural institutions in the Greater Philadelphia area. Archival photographs, film clips and footage of locations important to Carles’ life provide a backdrop for readings from Carles' letters. Poetry readings occur throughout the film by Carles’ contemporaries Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and William Carlos Williams. Philadelphia composer Eric Sessler provided the documentary’s original score. The film was screened at over twenty venues throughout the region, including the Barnes Foundation and the Michener Art Museum.

Robert Indiana: Full Circle[edit]

American INSIGHT’s documentary-in-progress, Robert Indiana: Full Circle, examines the ingenuity of American Pop artist Robert Indiana, who considered Philadelphia his spiritual home. Inventing, but never copyrighting, the famous LOVE sculpture, Indiana continues to use words and typographic forms to define his distinctive approach to both language and art. American INSIGHT crews have captured hours of footage containing both conversations with him and his public appearances since 1990.[5]


  1. ^ "Documentaries reveal Pennsylvania's role in U.S. history | Video production in the service of historical preservation". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  2. ^ "History Lesson - Main Line Today - July 2008 - Philadelphia, PA". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  3. ^ Watten, Barrett. "Presentism and periodization in language writing, conceptual art, and conceptual writing." Journal of Narrative Theory 41, no. 1 (2011): 125-161. [1]
  4. ^ "Philadelphia Welcomes the First International Free Speech Film Festival | Cover Story | News and Opinion | Philadelphia Weekly". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  5. ^ "ART/ARCHITECTURE; Exiled in Maine, The Creator and Prisoner of 'Love' - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-03-16.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]