I. CONTENT – proposals may focus on one or more of the following

  •  Defunding Carceral Systems – Local, national, and international approaches to defunding punitive systems and instead funding systems of care.
  • Imagining and Living Abolition – What does abolition mean in theory and in practice? What would the world look like without incarceration? What are you or your organization doing now to work towards abolition?
  • Restorative and Transformative Justice – How can we work together to establish alternatives to the current carceral system? How can we acknowledge all impacts of incarceration and prioritize community systems of care? How can we practice justice as repair instead of punishment?
  • Mental Health and Healing – What approaches might succeed in acknowledging the widespread harm and trauma of incarceration and working together to heal together? How might we think beyond the individual to family and community healing?
  • Policy and Advocacy  – How can we engage government officials, powerful institutions, community and non-profit organizations, policymakers, and other social actors to transform the justice system at the local, national, and international levels?
  • Arts and Education – What role does visual art, film, theater, poetry, storytelling, or educational programs play in the movement towards abolition? How can we educate and inspire ourselves and others to heal communities and end incarceration?
  • Race and Indigeneity – What impact does incarceration have on Black, brown, and Indigenous communities? What role do these communities have in our path toward abolition?

Note: Proposals are not limited to the categories listed above. We welcome ideas that bring together varied approaches and conversations that recognize the porous boundaries and opportunities for collaboration between different methods of working to end incarceration. Please reach out to us at with any questions.

II. FORM – proposals might take one of the following approaches:

  1. Virtual Performance
  2. Interactive Workshops
  3. Film/Video Screenings or Visual Artwork
  4. Individual or Group Presentations
  5. Roundtable or Panel Discussions

Note: We welcome combinations of approaches and new innovations in engaging audiences with abolition work so as to create a truly multidisciplinary, diverse, and  exciting conference. With that in mind, we encourage proposals that do not clearly fit into one of the listed categories.  

III. REQUIREMENTS – proposals should include the following:

Word document of no longer than two pages that includes:

  1. Contact   Name, pronouns, email address, phone, and affiliation with a school or organization, if applicable
  2. Bio A short one for each artist or presenter and any link to available online work (50 100 words)
  3. Time Duration of presentation (no more than 90 minutes)
  4. Form How the presentation will be organized or structured
  5. Materials   Whatever a participant might need to participate (consider that the presentation will likely be virtual)
  6. Experience Any that you have with leading virtual presentations (fewer than 100 words)
  7. Abstract A description (300500 words) including the theme, format, and structure of the presentation.
  8. Synopsis – A short (23 sentence) description of the presentation to be used in program materials, etc.

Note: Team or group applications are welcome. If you do not have a collaborator, but are interested in working with someone, submit your application and we will help organize related groups. 

Send proposals to by September 15th, 2021 with the subject line “BTB LA 2021 Application.”

Details on the 2021 Beyond the Bars LA Conference are on our website at: