2018 PTO Conference

Read more about the 2018 Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference below!


Disrupting the Politics of Place: Building Inclusive Communities for the Future
Each year, PTO supports a local organizing team to host an annual gathering of hundreds of educators, activists, change makers, actors and non-actors from all over the world. We come together to connect with each other, create solutions and art, and challenge each other to empower our communities and problem-solve in innovative ways.

WHEN: June 7st – June 10th, 2018

  • Pre-Conference Workshop June 5th-June 7th
  • Welcome Event on June 7th
  • Conference June 8th-10th
  • Registration info coming soon!

WHERE:Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA
Waller Hall and Fisher Performing Arts Center
Department of Theater and Dance
401 South Eleventh Street, Indiana, PA 15705

Get TRAVEL and LODGING information HERE. 

WHAT: A chance to LEARN, SHARE, QUESTION, and CONNECT through interactive techniques developed by Paulo Freire, Augusto Boal, and other people working to fight oppression and create justice. Learn more about Freire and Boal and their work at ptoweb.org.

Conference participants create machines of sound and movements to reflect on their conference experience.

Conference participants create machines of sound and movements to reflect on their conference experience.

WHO: YOU. Students, teachers, scholars, artists, activists, organizers. People of all ages, places, identities, experiences. If you want to build dialogue and make a more just world, you are invited, you are welcomed, and you are NEEDED.

WHY: The 23rd Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference will be held in Indiana, Pennsylvania—a rural borough located an hour outside of the city of Pittsburgh, PA. This region is characterized by its distinctive landscape of both urban and rural communities extending from the city of Pittsburgh to the surrounding boroughs of Northern Appalachia. This unique composition of the Western Pennsylvania region offers a microcosm for examining the larger politics of place that shape and divide our local, regional, and global communities.

Around the globe, communities face many of the same challenges surrounding the politics of place. Whose stories do we tell in the bid to transform and adapt to changing circumstances? What happens to notions of national identity when the gap between the experiences of rural and urban areas continues to widen? How can we ensure that communities gain access to economic opportunities while maintaining their sense of self and identity? Can we envision a future built on inclusion and equity rather than on the success of the few at the expense of the many?

Our conference takes place at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, located in Indiana Borough, which has a population of approximately 14,000. Sixty miles southwest of Indiana, separated by farm lands and gas industry, is the city of Pittsburgh, PA, known as the “Steel City” from early industrial days and the “City of Bridges” for its 446 bridges. Those living in the Western Pennsylvania region, between these two cities, experience high rates of poverty, rural food deserts, opioid dependency, and the environmental legacy of coal/gas industry. There are also vibrant attempts at redefining place, re-imagining community, and engaging dialogue about identities, belonging, and sustainability towards a goal of just communities for the future.

Following the collapse of the steel industry, Pittsburgh has been re-invented from a city of steel to a city built on education, healthcare, and technology – a global city, to some, by its selection to host the G20 summit in 2009. The city’s revitalization did not transfer to all of Pittsburgh’s residents, nor has it reached the surrounding region in Western Pennsylvania, which includes the borough of Indiana, PA. Challenges to health, income, affordable housing, equity, and education remain for many of the urban, rural, immigrant and indigenous communities within the region, who often find their stories left out of the official narrative. The politics of place continue to revolve around issues of inclusion and exclusion and of who belongs.

Our 2018 PTO conference site presents a unique opportunity to engage in larger dialogue and action centered on the divides arising, not only from geography, but also from the allocation of resources, population identity, ideology, and politics in the Western Pennsylvania region as well as within our global communities. We focus this year on disrupting these politics of place and dismantling the “us/them” divide towards the building of inclusive communities for the future.


Register for the Pre-Conference and Register for the Conference!

Conference Registration TypesEarly (before May 5th)Regular (May 5th-June 6th)
Full Member:$180$210
Open Access Member:$80$95
Non-Member: $250$280
High School Student:$20$30
Organizational Registration (up to 5 attendees): $650$735

Pre-Conference: $200

Download and Distribute Conference Marketing Materials

Black & White Poster
Color Poster
Quarter Page Color Flyers

Become a member for discounted registration at the Conference and Regional Gatherings and to support PTO!

Questions? Email conference@ptoweb.org