Welcome to the 2019 Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference Schedule!

Welcome to the 24th International Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference! We're so glad you are here to engage in dialogue, embodied work, and more to help overcome oppressive systems in multiple contexts and locations! On this page you will some helpful information. Check out the full CONFERENCE GUIDEBOOK.

Conference Opening
The opening session for the conference will be Thursday, June 13 at El Pueblo History Museum (301 N Union Ave, Pueblo, CO), from 6:30-9:00pm. Shuttle will run from the conference hotels to and from the event location. Check the CONFERENCE GUIDEBOOK for complete information!

Conference Registration
Conference registration will be located at the conference site! This is a chance to check in, pick up your name tag, and ask any questions you may have.

Thursday: registration opens at 4:30pm and goes until 6:30pm. It will open again after the opening event for one hour. Registration will be on site at El Pueblo History Museum.

Friday-Sunday:  Registration opens 30 minutes before the first session each day (although volunteers will be there earlier).  Registration will be in the lobby of Occhiato University Center at CSU-Pueblo.

Check the registration area for other items of interest, include PTO swag, educational dvds, and more!

Conference Agreements

  1. We are on Ute, Cheyenne, Jicarilla Apache, and ancestral Puebloan lands.  Please take care of this space and land with the mindfulness of visitors and the humility of occupiers.

  2. Jargon Finger (raise and wiggle your index finger to let a presenter know when a word is confusing) + Speak Up/Amplify (speak up at times when voices like yours may not be appreciated or heard and amply the voices of marginalized folks when their contributions are being overlooked) + Use Mic’s (please respect those who are hard of hearing and use the microphone for accessibility)!

  3. Prioritize Impact over Intent.  When you cause harm, apologize and do better.

  4. Use “I” terminology such as “I think…”, “I believe…”, “In my experience…”  None of us can represent an entire community.

  5. Believe survivors & all people impacted by oppression.  And at the same time, work from an understanding that people are not disposable.

  6. For folks operating from positions of dominance (white, men, documented, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, etc), we are intentional in mentioning that this will not feel like a safe space for all.  Often safety is confused with comfort, and comfort can be a by-product of up-holding the status quo.  We are intentional about disrupting the status quo; therefore, the process of growth and change may feel uncomfortable at times.  We invite you to lean into this discomfort, be brave, and name when oppressive harm is happening.

  7. Practice self-care and community-care.  As mentioned above, if you are harmed or simply need additional support, please reach out to a board member (who you’ll find listed at the end of the conference guide).  Check out the conference care space in Blue Spruce 205!

Statement of Abolition Solidarity
PTO stands in solidarity with abolition as a praxis.  As defined by the Abolition Journal, “‘Abolition’ refers partly to the historical and contemporary movements that have identified themselves as ‘abolitionist’: those against slavery, prisons, the wage system, animal and earth exploitation, racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence, and the death penalty, among others.”  We recognize that to involve police in any conflict is an act of supporting state violence against all peoples.  We recognize that the police, the prison industrial complex, mass incarceration, institutionalization, and other such systems are all state efforts to reduce peoples’ rights to their own bodies - especially Black folks, people of color broadly, poor people, undocumented people, queer and trans folks, disabled people, and many other marginalized folks.  We also recognize the ongoing relationship between police, private property, and capitalist exploitation, as well as both the historical and contemporary role of the police in efforts to dis-organize and criminalize collective mobilization. Calling police for “assistance” is in direct conflict with transformative justice practices, created primarily through efforts in Indigenous, Black, and anarchist communities, which PTO does support.

We encourage attendees who need assistance with any issue to please reach out to PTO board members and divest from police.  If you have experienced harm from anyone within or outside the conference, we promise to do everything in our power to support the healing of those harmed, connect people to healing and intervention resources, and facilitate a justice process lead by those harmed and any supportive persons they would like involved (if they choose this path).

Accessibility, Language Justice, and Disability Justice
PTO is continuing to expand our efforts to provide an accessible conference space and we could really use your help!  Here are some ideas to get us started on ways we can all support accessibility, language justice, and disability justice as presenters and/or attendees:
  1. Practice asking others what they need to be successful and defining what you need to be successful in collaboration with others.
  2. Use clear language and always explain field-specific language or jargon.
  3. Identify and remove ableism in your language.  For example, you might say “move” instead of “walk” since some people move through the world without walking.  Instead of someone “suffering” from a disability, they experience a disability.
  4. Be conscientious of others’ bodies when you move around the conference.  Some people do not have great balance or may have disabilities that impact mobility, sight, etc. which you cannot “obviously” identify.  If someone is doing something you find unusual (rocking, dancing, flapping, humming), remember that we all care for ourselves in our own ways.  Please ask permission before touching someone.
  5. Sit rather than stand or “kneel” when speaking to wheel chair users.  It can get exhausting to look up at so many people all day!
  6. We are all lifelong student-teachers, everyone deserves respect, and each of us has extraordinary capacity to create change.  Conference attendees and the broader PO and TO communities include community leaders, academics, youth, adults, and elders, people with and without disabilities, people who communicate verbally and/or non-verbally.  Each of us is an expert in our lives and has the “capacity” to contribute to social movement building and positive social change.  Communicating differently, utilizing a translator, or requesting accommodations or supports does not make someone less deserving of respect or opportunity to participate in movement building.  Similarly, please do not describe anyone as “having the capacity” of a certain age or having the “intelligence” of a certain age.  The concept of “intelligence” is a ableist, racist, colonialist concept used to privilege some at the expense of the many.  Capacity is so much more complex and should be defined by each person.
  7. Ask if people would like support and do not assume what others might need or not need.  Remember that we all depend upon each other and that interdependence is necessary and healing when done consensually and mutually.
  8. Do not expect Deaf and hard of hearing folks to lip read, use implants or hearing aids, or speak verbally.  Make the effort to communicate on mutually respected terms.
  9. Tips for cross-linguistic communication: Do not assume that everyone is most comfortable speaking in English, and try to get support for interpretation from volunteers, board members, and other folks in our conference community when needed. Allow time for interpretation so that everyone can participate! Engage directly with whomever you are having a discussion, rather than the interpreter who is there to support.
  10. Sometimes competing access needs happen. Let’s creatively work together to create the most access and inclusion possible, and also to name when we fall short.

PTO Lingo
Below are short definitions of some basic PO and TO terms that you’re likely to hear around the conference. If you hear a term or concept you’re not familiar with, always feel free to stop and ask for an explanation!
Oppressiona word with many meanings to many different people, of course. Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal defined oppression as the situation in which a person is stopped from doing something they want  to do. The person who experiences oppression is the oppressed. The source of that oppression—external or internal, human or non-human—is the oppressor.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed (PO)a theory and practice of teaching and learning developed by Brazilian teacher and activist Paulo Freire, while doing literacy education with peasant populations. It is not enough, Freire said, to read the word; you must also learn to read the world. For pedagogy to be liberatory, Freire said, students and teachers must engage in dialogue, in which the teacher’s knowledge and the students’ knowledge are respected and valued, and everyone leaves the classroom having learned from everyone else.
Theatre of the Oppressed (TO)a theory and practice of politically-engaged theatre developed by Brazilian writer, director, and teacher Augusto Boal, who worked in literacy education with Freire. Theatre of the Oppressed emerged during the Brazilian dictatorships of the 60s and 70s, as Boal worked with oppressed groups that used theatre as a tool to plan new forms of resistance. The goal of TO is to turn spectators into actors, all participating in breaking oppression together. Theatre may not be revolutionary, Boal says, but it can be a rehearsal for revolution!. Specific forms of Theatre of the Oppressed include:

  • Image Theatre: exercises with bodies in still images and dynamizations (moving images), often images of oppression and images of possible ways to break it;
  • Forum Theatre: plays in which audience members stop the action and enter it themselves, to experiment with ways in which the protagonist(s) could break their oppression;
  • Rainbow of Desire: a series of advanced Image Theatre exercises, with the objective of identifying and breaking internalized forms of oppression (sometimes called the Cop in the Head); and
  • Legislative Theatre: similar to Forum Theatre, except performed by citizens/constituents in concert with members of legislative body (a council, a parliament, a congress, etc.), with the goal of passing laws to lift oppression.
Spect-actor: in Theatre of the Oppressed, there are no spectators! Everyone in the room must be actively engaged in the work. When this happens—for instance, when audience members enter into a Forum play—the spectator becomes a spect-actor.
Jokerthe person or figure who facilitates the workshop or performance—and, in the case of Forum and Legislative Theatre, the person who mediates between the actors and spect-actors and invites the spect-actors to join the action. Also sometimes called a facilitator, although Augusto Boal preferred the term “difficultator,” since more often than not, the Joker is the one who reveals just how difficult a problem of oppression is to solve!
Banking Modelthe theory of education that assumes that the teacher knows everything (the “bank” of knowledge) and the students know nothing. Or, as Arnold Schwarzenegger put it, “When kids go to school...there’s an empty bucket there. Someone…will fill that bucket.” This is, of course, the model of education that Freire argues against.
Conscientização (“conscientization”): the name Paulo Freire gave to the process of learning to see the social, political, and economic oppressions around you, and to take action against these oppressions.