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About Us

Students speaking with artist in Clarion Alley, surrounding by wall mural
SF Class Trip with John Jota Leanos

About this Program

Visualizing Abolition is a public scholarship initiative at University of California Santa Cruz developed by Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies, and Dr. Rachel Nelson, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with artists, scholars, poets, lawyers and activists. With a 4-year program of art exhibitions, public events, postdoctoral fellowships, a faculty working group, and curriculum development that reaches across prison borders, the aim is to foster creative research and to shift the social attachment to prisons through art and education.

Study Guides

Exhibition study guides and related artist interviews are produced through the IAS education fellowship program. The program provides opportunities and funding for graduate students at UC Santa Cruz to develop public scholarship programs and innovative pedagogical practices around IAS exhibitions and programming.

Barring Freedom Education Fellows

Alexandra Moore, Digital Learning Project Lead & Barring Freedom Co-Curator. Alex is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz in Visual Studies and was the 2018-2020 IAS Curatorial Fellow. Her research looks at the intersection of racial and nationalist violence and ecological damage as seen through contemporary art.

Abram Stern, Web Developer, IAS Graduate Education Fellow. Abram is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz in Film and Digital Media whose work operates on collections of government-produced media and metadata related to surveillance and its oversight, analyzing material produced by public bureaucracies while implicating the apparatuses of sense-making that make this analysis possible.

Aaron Samuel Mulenga, Content Manager, IAS Graduate Education Fellow. Aaron is a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz in History of Art and Visual Studies. His research interests revolve around notions of power as it relates to the control of narratives and cultural heritage (with a focus on Zambian cultures).

Chloe Murr, Project Assistant, IAS Pathways Fellow. Chloe was awarded bachelor’s degrees from University of California Santa Cruz in 2020 in History of Art and Visual Culture with highest honors and Studio Arts. Her research and artistic interests include contemporary art, spatial relations, urban ecology and place.

Rebecca Ora, Video Editor, IAS Graduate Education Fellow. Rebecca is a California-based artist, performer, filmmaker and scholar. Her darkly humorous socially-engaged work explores comedy, discomfort, conflict, and the limits of representation of trauma. She holds an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in Social Practice, and is completing a Ph.D. in Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz.

Rachel Nelson, Advisor, Barring Freedom Co-Curator, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences.