No Body Alone/Ningún Cuerpo Solo

The 26th Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) Conference

Pre-conference workshop (in-person in Indianapolis) with Julian Boal:
June 20-22, 2023

In-Person Conference: June 22-25

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Host Site: Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Associated Online PTO Events: June 8 & 9, 2023 

(PTO will hold 2 half-days of online sessions two weeks before the in-person conference; those who wish to present online can apply via the same proposal form and indicate that they wish to present online. If you register for the in-person conference, we encourage you to participate online as well. In-person registrants will receive the online event links at no extra cost.)

“It is the human body, young or old, fat or thin, of whatever color, the conscious body that looks at the stars. It is the body that writes. It is the body that speaks. It is the body that fights. It is the body that loves and hates. It is the body that suffers. It is the body that dies. It is the body that lives!” Paulo Freire

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE (for proposals for both online & in-person sessions): January 10, 2023 (with notification by February 15). Submit your proposal here

Note for those applying from outside the US: Because of the timeline of visa applications and the need to purchase international flight itineraries further in advance, proposals that are received from applicants who reside outside the U.S. will be prioritized in the order of the review of proposals, and those individuals will receive earlier notification about the status of their proposals. Therefore, if you reside outside the U.S. and want to receive notification earlier than February 15, submit your proposal early, as proposals from outside the U.S. will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

This year’s focus:

Theatre and dialogue start with the body! PTO Indianapolis 2023’s theme of No Body Alone will investigate our bodies as systems impacted by larger systems of control: the body as receptor, transmitter, creator, and collaborator.  Every person is theatre; the body alone can be space to perceive ourselves as such. But when Capitalism, White Supremacy, and other systems of oppression seek to divide the individual from their body, and our bodies from the collective power they contain when united in action, the body alone can feel very small. Deeply affected but disempowered. We can harness the technologies for change within our bodies when we recognize systemic impacts upon them, the power of response and healing within them, and the critical consciousness we can raise together through them. 


  • Bodily oppression exists, limiting the agency of people to define, express, and seek care for their own identities.
  • Systemic power inevitably impacts where our bodies can go, how they feel, and what agency we have over them.
  • Many people and bodies are often excluded from places of power, representation, and conversations or conferences like this one.
  • We are taught to be disembodied learners and estranged from our bodies as workers, to believe that body and mind are adversaries. 
  • Our lived histories remain apparent to our bodies, as maps of identity and insights into tensions, struggles, needs, and the hard-fought victories or losses of our communities.


  • It is through our bodies that we learn to recognize what we experience, how we have been constructed by our experiences, and what we might become.
  • That we can open new spaces for change through demechanization of our bodies.
  • That, as Augusto Boal describes, one must “control [their] own body, know [their] own body, in order to be capable of making it more expressive. Then [they] will be able to practice theatrical forms in which by stages [they free themselves] from [their] condition of spectator and take on that of actor, in which case [they cease] to be an object and become a subject, changed from witness into protagonist.”


About PTO:

Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) is an international organization that supports people whose work challenges oppressive systems by promoting critical thinking and social justice through liberatory theatre and popular education. Our approaches stem from the theories and practices of Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal. We foster collaborative connections to share, develop, promote, and document liberatory theatre, popular education, and other revolutionary actions. Our annual conference seeks to provide an accessible, inclusive, and educational space. We actively seek both introductory sessions for those new to Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed practices, as well as advanced sessions for long-time practitioners.



Organizers, workers, students, teachers, activists, artists, scholars! YOU are invited to submit a proposal to share your practices and knowledge at the 26th international conference of PTO: Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed! This is a gathering for learning, sharing, and exchange between people who want to struggle together for a better world for all. If you want to be a part of that struggle, this conference is for you, even if you do not yet know anything about Pedagogy of the Oppressed or Theatre of the Oppressed. 

We chose to focus the 26th Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed conference on the body, knowing our local fights for liberation and bodily autonomy in Indianapolis, Indiana, are shared struggles throughout the world. Body oppression has taken many forms, including: anti-trans legislation, abortion restrictions, inadequate medical care, homelessness and the housing crisis, revocation of drivers licenses for undocumented residents, the disappearing of Missing, Murdered, and Indigenous Women, HIV Criminalization, police occupation and state violence, abuse and criminalization of sex workers, criminalization of those in need, discrimination, imprisonment, environmental destruction, restriction of movement, division of families, attacks on education, and so many more on a seemingly endless list. 

In Indianapolis – a community that has responded by organizing harm reduction, mutual aid, and street medicine – and elsewhere, we are recognizing how oppressive systems impact our bodies, separate individuals from community, and seek to disempower the agency within us. Our bodies are receptors, transmitters, collaborators, and co-creators of systemic oppression; how do we embody change through our practices? How do we use the technologies of the body to come together and create something new?

Below are a few additional questions that might help you develop your proposal. This is not an exhaustive list; they are intended to give you an idea of the range of topics we might explore together:

  • How does your work address systemic impacts on the body? 
  • How does your work address seen and unseen impacts such as restriction of movement, dehumanization, and isolation?
  • What liberatory tactics can we use to free our bodies from oppression and create sustainable freedom for the future?
  • Whose bodies do we not normally see centered in our work, and why? What effects on the body are we not addressing?
  • What are the ways in which you use Pedagogy of the Oppressed, popular education, or Theatre of the Oppressed to connect individuals to their bodies for liberation?
  • How does this somatic focus align or differ with traditional use of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, popular education, or Theatre of the Oppressed?
  • How does your work address the way in which oppressive systems separate us from our bodies and ways by which we can connect ourselves to our bodies, and our bodies to one another?
  • How do we address the fact that bodies have historically been used to uphold systems of oppression, or historically to fight against them? How do perceptions of our bodies contribute to our freedom or oppression?

If you are not sure how to communicate some part of your idea or how to submit a conference proposal, you can email us at with a question or idea, and we can collaborate with you to develop that idea. In addition, you can learn more about Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Theatre of the Oppressed at

A note on language

We release this Call for Proposals in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. We have the capacity to read and respond to proposals in those languages and for presenters to offer sessions in all three of them. We also plan to mark clearly in the program the language(s) of delivery for each conference session. We regret that PTO does not currently have the capacity, however, to guarantee language interpretation and translation for conference attendees onsite during the conference itself. Our lower-cost conference fees are designed for economic accessibility, but that also means that our budget typically cannot allow for full translation and interpretation for all sessions. However, we will provide an option on the registration form for presenters to indicate languages spoken, and we will work very hard to facilitate as much interpretation as we can. Though a majority of program sessions have happened in English in the past, we will also try to de-center English whenever it is possible to do so.

Session lengths and session format options:

  Single Session: 90 minutes

  Double Session: Two back-to-back 90-minute sessions totaling three hours. (This includes a 15-minute break. Please note that you may have participants join one or both parts of your double session.)

  Workshops: Techniques and Applications: Interactive workshops that focus on exploring, explaining, and experiencing techniques of PO/TO or liberatory practices. Workshops may also present adaptations, expansions, and permutations of the work developed for various situations, circumstances, and populations, or present case studies that highlight liberatory artistic and educational techniques. 

  Performances: Interactive performances that promote and problematize transformation, liberation, social justice, and/or political engagement. The conference should not be seen merely as a showcase, but rather as an opportunity to engage in interactive exploration of the performance itself, the topics about which it was created, or both.

  Youth-Led Session: Any session by, for, and about youth-led initiatives. We broadly define “youth-led” as projects and sessions with significant leadership from young people up to age 24, although we recognize meaningful support from elder collaborators may also be integral to the success of such projects and conference sessions. Financial support opportunities are available through scholarships and volunteer opportunities.

  Roundtable Discussions: Discussions or debates between activists, artists, organizers, and/or popular educators. Sessions may also ask attendees to participate in dialogue around specific concepts, techniques, or case studies related to PO/TO or liberatory practices work. These are proposals to host a conversation with others about a topic of interest, rather than a fully formed presentation of your own ideas or conclusions.

  Panel: Pre-formed group of 3-4 presentations addressing a specific area of PO/TO or liberatory work. All presenters must have agreed to participate and be part of the proposal.  Sessions should also include dialogue or other interaction with attendees.

  Paper Presentation: Summary of research or issue in PO/TO or liberatory practices work and theory, delivered from notes. Papers should NOT be read, but rather presented. Each presentation should last approximately 10-12 minutes, excluding discussion. We will cluster papers in groups of 3-4, under a proposed theme, with time for dialogue. Not eligible for a double session.

  Anti-Oppression Workshops:  Specific interactive workshops in various aspects of anti-oppression work, including language/terminology, specific communities and populations, challenges and ethics, and working methodologies rooted in liberatory education and/or TO techniques.

  Critical Dialogues: These sessions provide spaces for group 

dialogues around specific, complex questions about liberatory work. The dialogue may be facilitated by one or more people, but everyone attending the session is invited to participate fully in the entire dialogue. Dialogues might follow a Freirean problem-posing model or other liberatory models and may or may not include workshop-like activities.

  Well-Being and Community Care: These sessions may address such topics as health and well-being for activists, embodied healing for practitioners, and other practices of self and community care for folks directly engaged in movement-based or other social justice work.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE (for proposals for both online & in-person sessions): January 10, 2023 (with notification by February 15). Submit your proposal here