National Gathering

The 2018 Imagining America National Gathering will be held October 19 – 21, 2018, in partnership with Illinois Humanities.

Transformative Imaginations:
Decarceration and Liberatory Futures


The Imagining America National Gathering is an annual gathering of public scholars, artists, students, designers, and cultural organizers who are addressing the nation’s most critical issues.

Photo credit: Lee Wexler, Images for Innovation.

2018 Imagining America National Gathering

October 19 – 21, 2018

This year’s IA Gathering is directed toward the core of the work of imagining: the transformative use of our imaginations to build new, equitable, inclusive, and liberatory futures.

Register today! Early bird pricing in effect until Sept. 2nd.



Discover sessions, workshops, seminars, and performances at our 2018 IA Gathering. The gathering enables people to build and sustain relationships that link stories, fulfill the democratic purposes of higher education, and address collective challenges.

Discover the Gathering at a glance.

View The Schedule

Let's Gather

Transformative Imaginations:
Decarceration and Liberatory Futures

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.



Sponsorship Opportunities




Imagining America (IA) 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 IA 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.

The members of Imagining America advance a vision of the world in which publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, students and culture workers play critical roles in enacting the promise and ideals of a democratic society. Together, at the annual gathering, we explore the power of shared identity — of understanding who we are and what we stand for, and therefore, what we are called to do.

APPS Pre-Gathering
On Democratically-Engaged Assessment
Thursday, October 18



2018 Invitation for Proposals

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.

Submission window has now closed.

Invitation for Proposals

Sessions are as interactive as possible, and provide opportunities for sharing and co-creating practical and theoretical frameworks that guide our understanding of engaged art, scholarship, and design.

• Performance & Dialogue
• Roundtable
• Workshop
• Media Session
• Pecha Kucha

Session Formats Submit A Proposal