Tea and Letters for Liberation

Tea Headlands Cathy Kossack 1

Mar 15, 2024


The Study at University of Chicago
1227 E 60th St
Chicago, IL 60637



The Tea Project invites you to take a moment to stop, sit, sip, and reflect over a cup of tea while writing a letter to imprisoned torture survivors. 

This is a drop-in event. No RSVP is required.


From Illinois to Guantánamo, despite the well-documented use of police and military torture to extract forced confessions, many torture survivors remain imprisoned. 

To break through their enforced isolation, and as a gesture of compassion and solidarity, you are invited to write to a torture survivor in Illinois or the US military prison in Guantánamo. 

Insights and guidance on writing the letters will be provided by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Chicago Torture Justice Center. 

Tea Project Installation LAC 018 Jeremy Rockwell

As guests write, Aaron Hughes and Amber Ginsburg–featured artists in Illinois Humanities Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION virtual exhibition–will serve tea in porcelain-cast Styrofoam teacups inscribed with flowers based on stories of the people imprisoned in Guantánamo who carve floral patterns into Styrofoam cups as a form of personal expression and resistance. The tea served will be prepared based on selections from the 48 recipes and traditions featured in the Tea Project archive and recipe book, Invitation to Tea

About the Participants

Amber Ginsburg
Amber Ginsburg

Amber Ginsburg has collaborated with Aaron Hughes on the Tea Project since 2009. She is a Chicago-based artist teaching at the University of Chicago. She creates site-generated projects and social sculptures that insert historical scenarios into present-day situations, as well as engage present-day histories to imagine alternative futures. 

Amber often works with long-term and ongoing collaborators, and together they engage multiple communities and elicit working relationships with experts in the fields of biology, political activism, legal scholarship and activism, and science fiction.

Follow Amber at amberginsburg.com.

Aaron Hughes
Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes has collaborated with Amber Ginsburg on the Tea Project since 2009. He is a Chicago-based artist, curator, organizer, teacher, anti-war activist, and Iraq War veteran. He works collaboratively in diverse spaces and media to create meaning out of personal and collective trauma, deconstruct and transform systems of oppression, and seek liberation. 

Working through an interdisciplinary practice rooted in drawing and printmaking, Hughes develops projects that deconstruct militarism and related institutions of dehumanization.

Follow Aaron at aarhughes.org.

Tea Project

The Tea Project is an ongoing dialogue that traverses a variety of landscapes. From the tea sipped at a family gathering, to a cage in Guantanamo Bay, to a motor pool in Iraq, tea is not only a favored drink but a shared moment that transcends cultural divides and systems of oppression. When someone sits, sips, and reflects over a cup of tea there is space to ask questions about one’s relationship to the world: a world that is filled with dehumanization, war, and destruction; a world that is filled with moments of beauty, love, and humanity.