Call for Papers, Art, Workshops, and Presentations:

Marking Time: Prison Arts and Activism Conference

Rutgers University October 8-10, 2014


We invite proposals for papers, panels, workshops, and artwork for Marking Time: Prison Arts and Activism Conference at Rutgers University on October 8-10, 2014. This conference aims to provide national and international perspectives on art created inside prison and in response to mass incarceration.

The conference has three primary objectives: 1) to facilitate the development of networks and support for prisoners, artists, scholars, and organizations working in the field; 2) to promote the importance of prison artistic practices as vital components of contemporary culture and vernacular arts traditions; and 3) to provide a forum to examine the impact of prison systems on culture and specific populations. We hope that the conference will appeal to a broad audience, ranging from students to arts educators, and from legal scholars to prison reform activists.

The conference organizers are the Institute for Research on Women (IRW) and the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, with the participation of several other academic units including the Mountainview Program. Additional conference partners include nonprofit organizations, such as the William James Association’s Prison Arts Project and the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, as well as professional curators and artists such as documentarian and curator David Adler.

Some of the thematic areas for critical inquiry, creative engagement and activism include, but are not limited to:
Connections between nonprofit organizations and the prison industrial complex

– Political art and posters
– Gender identity and testimony
– Aesthetic influences of prison on everyday cultures
– Prison theater projects
– History of prison writings
– Spoken word and rap traditions
– Vernacular art and photography
– Documentation of prison interiors
– Folk and outsider art traditions
– Prison architecture and landscape
– Censorship in/out of prison
– Collecting and the art market
– Ethics and politics of socially engaged art
– Surveillance technologies and visuality
– Issues of consent Institutional archives and issues of access


Download forms here.

To submit individual papers or artwork as well as proposals for workshops or group sessions, please send the following information to

Or mail it to: Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 160 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

Affiliation (independent scholar, artist, educator, activist)
Mailing address
Office and cell phone numbers
Email address
Equipment needs
Biography (50 words)
Title of Presentation
Abstract (250-300 words)

Travel assistance may be available, contingent on funding.

Deadline for submissions is March 15th, 2014.