Invitation for Proposals
Imagining America 18th National Gathering
Chicago, Illinois | Friday-Sunday, October 19-21, 2018
Submission Deadline: Friday, June 22
We are facing the largest social crisis in modern U.S. history, and it is a crisis that, on some level, affects every one of us. From children to seniors, foreign nationals to U.S. citizens, the United States’ carceral system locks up more than 10 million individuals each year through a vast network of prisons, jails, juvenile correctional facilities, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and state psychiatric centers. This system restricts the lives of nearly 5 million individuals currently on probation or parole, and it destabilizes an exponential number of families and communities. Addressing a crisis of this magnitude requires moving beyond a public discourse limited by preconceptions of what is achievable.
Imagining America believes that the arts, design, and the humanities provide us with tools and practices that can free our imaginations as to what is possible. The 2018 Imagining America National Gathering seeks to bring people together to imagine, explore, and make real a world beyond incarceration and to envision liberatory futures – futures that include worlds where resources invested in carceral economies are directed to housing, health care, and public education.
Drawing on traditions of speculative, utopian, and Afrofuturist inquiry while engaging with transformative work already in progress, Imagining America invites proposals that advance dialogue, research, programs, and advocacy regarding the impacts of carceral systems – both historical and contemporary – on our communities. Proposals need not explicitly address incarceration, but should contribute to a vision of justice motivated by the healing of communities and individuals.
We encourage proposals from currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, people directly impacted by the carceral system, activists, community organizers, artists, designers, students, faculty, and staff from IA member campuses and beyond, and others engaged in liberatory visioning and work. We especially encourage proposals that highlight collaboration, dialogue, community engagement, and creative forms of expression.
This year’s gathering also builds upon current work being done by Illinois Humanities through an initiative called Envisioning Justice (https://envisioningjustice.org). Using the arts and humanities, Envisioning Justice seeks to strengthen efforts in Chicago to reimagine our criminal legal system and is inspired by a commitment to justice, accountability, safety, support, and restoration for all people. Launched in 2017, Envisioning Justice will continue through 2019, thereby providing space for the discussions, works, and imaginings that take place during the gathering to continue.
Proposed sessions should be as interactive as possible, providing opportunities for sharing and co-creating practical and theoretical frameworks for engaged art, scholarship, and design. We ask that each session include a participatory component, such as break-out conversations, facilitated dialogue, individual reflections/meditations, and healing circles.
Questions or other session formats in mind? Discuss your ideas with us before submitting your proposal. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (530) 297-4640.