Call for contributions

The deadline for proposals for contributions has now passed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal!

UPDATE (14 March 2018): Note to those who submitted proposals

We have been fortunate to receive a very high number of excellent proposals for workshops and presentations. Given that we have limited space in the schedule/venue, we are in a position where we can only accept approximately half of the proposals.  The high volume also means the conference committee (which is made up of volunteers) needs additional time to review all the proposals and put together a schedule that is as inclusive and diverse as possible.  We aim to notify all those who have submitted proposals of decisions by the end of March.


Original Call for Contributions 

We invite communities and organisers to join an international gathering of people who are working to build a world without prisons.  Over four days we will come together to strategise and debate, exchange ideas and build stronger relationships in our shared struggles.

We welcome proposals for:

  • Workshops: skill-shares, strategy sessions, teach-ins, trainings, question-and-answer sessions, structured debates, activities for young people and children
  • Presentations: talks, panels, roundtable discussions, reflections on organising successes and challenges, academic papers
  • Art: music, poetry, dance, story-telling, film screenings, visual arts and info-graphic displays

We seek contributions that address the harms done by policing, prisons, immigration detention, surveillance and other forms of punishment.

We especially welcome sessions that focus on solutions and alternatives, including strategies for housing, health and well-being, economic and racial justice, community accountability, gender safety, youth empowerment, education, land rights and environment.

We encourage proposals that make connections between the harms of criminal justice and larger systems of oppression, such as racism, poverty, colonialism, gender and sexual injustice and disability-related discrimination.

We particularly welcome contributions from current and former prisoners, detainees and their families.

Conference format:

The conference will open with a public forum featuring local and international speakers on the Friday evening. Saturday and Sunday will be devoted to workshops, presentations, film screenings, artwork and other contributions. Monday will host a symposium for academic papers focussed on how academics can support movement building (e.g. fostering activist research agendas, reflections on scholar-activism, translating research into action, etc).

We invite contributions that relate to one of the four main themes below:


This theme is about questioning the assumption that prisons, police and surveillance can make us safe. It is about understanding the harm that criminal justice systems do to people, families and communities. It will ask how and why criminal justice institutions were put in place and whether society could exist without them.


This theme focuses on how criminal justice systems can be resisted by people both within and outside. It will consider how we have resisted throughout history, how people affected by criminal justice are resisting now and how we can build resistance for the future.


This theme explores how we can dismantle criminal justice institutions and change the ideas, attitudes and systems in society that reinforce punishment and imprisonment. It will look at what strategies we can use to move towards abolition and to improve the lives of people affected.


This theme is about building effective alternatives to prisons, policing and punishment — now and for the future. It will explore what societies could look like without prisons and other criminal justice institutions. It will look at how we can build safe, healthy and flourishing communities for everyone.

Instructions for Contributors:

The deadline for proposals for contributions has now passed. However, if you are still keen to participate, you can email us at

Please include:

  1. Your name and email contact
  2. A title for your session or contribution
  3. Description of what your contribution will cover (200 words max)
  4. Type of session (i.e. workshop, presentation, art or academic paper, etc.)
  5. How much time you will need? For example, a 20 minute speaking slot; or a 1-hour, 1.5-hour or 2-hour workshop; or space for a display
  6. Which of the four themes your contribution most closely fits within

Proposals from prisoners, detainees and those without email access can be sent by post to: ICOPA 2018 c/o CCJS, 2 Langley Lane, Vauxhall, London SW8 1GB

Download the call for contributions (pdf).

Need help with planning your session?  See our Workshop Planning Guidance or contact us by email with any questions.

The conference is hosted by: The Harm & Evidence Research Collective, The Open University; the Department of Criminology, Birkbeck University of London; and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
Participating and co-organising groups; Action for Trans Health, Bent Bars Project, Black Lives Matter UK, Empty Cages Collective, INQUEST, JENGbA, London Campaign Against Police & State Violence, Netpol, Race & Class collective, Reclaim Holloway, Reclaim Justice Network, North London Sisters Uncut, Smash IPP!, Stopwatch, Women in Prison.