Visualizing Abolition

jackie sumell, Solitary Garden, UC Santa Cruz
jackie sumell, Solitary Garden, UC Santa Cruz

What does it mean to think of abolitionism as a vision—one that challenges the social, economic, and political worldviews that prisons promote? For the 2020/21 academic year, UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with Gina Dent, associate professor, feminist studies, is pleased to present a series of online events featuring artists, activists, scholars, and others united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition.

The events accompany Barring Freedom, an exhibition of contemporary art on view at San José Museum of Art October 30, 2020-April 25, 2021, and Solitary Garden, a public art project at UC Santa Cruz. 

Visualizing Abolition Schedule (All events are from 4-5:30 P.M. PST unless otherwise noted)
Registration is required; see individual event listings for more information. For more information on the project, see


October 20,2020          
Visualizing Abolition with Angela Y. Davis and Gina Dent        
Featured Music Video - Terri Lyne Carrington and Lisa FIscher


October 27, 2020
Images, Memory, and Justice with Bryan Stevenson
Featured Music Video - Kris Davis, Val Jeanty and Lily Finnegan


November 17, 2020 
Visuality and Carceral Formations with Nicole Fleetwood, Herman Gray and Nicholas Mirzoeff  
Featured Music Video - Maimouna Yousef aka “Mumu Fresh”
 and Queen Cora Coleman


December 1, 2020
Abolition Then and Now with Isaac Julien and Robin D.G. Kelley 
Featured Music Video - Nicholas Payton


January 19, 2021
Prisons, Histories, and Erasures with Kelly Lytle Hernández, Joanne Barker, Maria Gaspar
Featured Music Video - Jason Moran and Kyle Abraham


January 26, 2021
Prisons and Poetics with Reginald Dwayne Betts, Craig Haney and Gina Dent
Featured Music Video - Malcolm-Jamal Warner


February 2, 2021
Surveillance and Cinematics with American Artist, Simone Browne, Ruha Benjamin
Featured Music Video - Cécile McLorin Salvant


February 9, 2021
Material and Memory with Sanford Biggers and Leigh Raiford
Featured Music Video - Nicole Mitchell


February 23, 2021
Abolitionist Feminisms with Beth Richie, Erica Meiners, and Sonya Clark
Featured Music Video - Sarah Elizabeth Charles


March 3, 2021
Art, Abolition, and the University with Ashley Hunt, MJ Hart, Alberto Lule, Ryan Flaco Rising, and Rodrigo Vazquez
Featured Music Video - Orrin Evans and Eric Revis


March 9, 2021
Popular Culture and the Radical Imaginary with Patrisse Cullors and Maxwell Addae
Featured Music Video - Chief Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah


April 6, 2021
Abolition Beyond the State with Sadie Barnette, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Zoé Samudzi, and Eric Stanley
Featured Music Video - Elena and Samora Pinderhughes


April 13, 2021
Abolition from the Inside Out with jackie sumell Albert Woodfox, and Tim Young
Featured Music Video - José James


April 20, 2021
(Re)Enacting Revolution with Dread Scott and Erin Gray
Featured Music Video - Dianne Reeves and Camila Cortina Bello


May 4, 2021
Documenting Justice with Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman, and guests


May 11, 2021
Futures with Sora Han, adrienne maree brown, and Savannah Shange
Featured Music Video - Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science


May 11, 2021
Music for Abolition with Curator Terri Lyne Carrington and guests

Lisa Fischer, Maimouna Youssef aka “Mumu Fresh”, Queen Cora Coleman, Nicholas Payton, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Nicole Mitchell, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Orrin Evans, Eric Revis, Dianne Reeves, and Camila Cortina Bello.


Visualizing Abolition is organized by Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies and Dr. Rachel Nelson, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The series has been generously funded by the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UCSC Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

Partners include: Howard University School of Law, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Indexical, The Humanities Institute, University Library, University Relations, Institute for Social Transformation, Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Porter College, the Center for Cultural Studies, the Center for Creative Ecologies, and Media and Society, Kresge College.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020 to Friday, December 31, 2021