Research and Collaboration

Graduate Research Conference

“Art/image credit: Namita Paul (Cultural Studies, ’17) Unyielding (”

Art/image credit: Namita Paul (Cultural Studies, ’17) Unyielding (

Making Livable Futures in the Contemporary Moment

Thursday, May 31, 2018

University of Washington Bothell, WA (directions and campus map)
North Creek Events Center (NCEC)

Free and open to the public. 

Call for Proposals

The Masters in Cultural Studies program at the University of Washington Bothell, invites proposals for participation in its annual graduate student conference 2018.  This year’s conference theme is “Making Livable Futures in the Contemporary Moment” and we invite students, independent scholars and community activists whose research, creative and political practices wrestle with the challenges of imagining livable futures.  At this time, we confront a moment which can reasonably be described as catastrophic – the devaluation of life has become normalized and there is an ever present retreat in to factionalism and fear of difference, all of this takes place on our planet which is imperiled by relentless climatic change and our putative leaders’ willful inability to acknowledge that something must be done, and done soon. And yet, in these times of precarious living there remain multiple practices and strategies of hopefulness and transformation.  This conference serves as a forum to explore the diverse ways in which artists, activists, and academics theorize and engage with strategies to survive, thrive and make life with and for their multivalent communities. What models of survival emerge from our research into the practices that different groups are using to survive and make life? We invite presentations and performances that ask, how might our work creatively mobilize bodies as part of a praxis resistance? What techniques are being used to intervene in the relentless reconstitution of structural inequities?  Where are the places of joy and what are the possibilities of engaging with pleasure?

Topics that might be addressed include but are not limited to

  • The global shift to the hard Right 
  • Gendered violence and the normalization of sexual assault
  • Climate catastrophe 
  • Economic, political and environmental refugees
  • Citizenship/borders/migration
  • Surveillance (digital, physical, and social)
  • Digitization and the commodification of social life 
  • Gentrification, homelessness and housing action
  • The long history of colonialism, imperialism and disaster capitalism
  • Transpolitics and experience
  • Digital futures and digital rights
  • Building alternative infrastructures in the face of public divestment 
  • Shifting understandings of the work and discursive place of identity
  • Social movements and feminist forms of resistance

This conference seeks to trouble the lines that often draw a hard border between knowledges produced inside and outside of the university. Participants are encouraged to submit proposals that think and act across various registers of knowledge making (cerebral, embodied, communal, ancestral, material, digital).

Conference Formats

All sessions are 90 minutes long. All conference formats are intended to encourage the presentation and discussion of projects at different stages of development and to foster intellectual exchange and collaboration. Please feel free to adapt the suggested formats or propose others in order to suit your session’s goals.

Pre-constituted Panels

Pre-constituted panels allow 3-4 individuals to each offer 15-20 minute presentations, leaving 30-45 minutes of the session for questions and discussion. Panels should have a chair/moderator or may have a discussant. Proposals for pre-constituted panels must include: the title of the panel; the name, title affiliation, and contact information of the panel organizer; the names, affiliations, and email addresses of all panelists, and a chair and/or discussant; a description of the panel's topic (<500 words); and abstracts for each presentation (<150 words).

Individual & Co-Authored Papers

Individuals and co-authors may submit a proposal to present a 15-20 minute paper that speaks to the theme. Selected papers will be combined into panels at the discretion of the Program Committee. Individual paper proposals must include: the title of the paper; the name, affiliation, and email address of the author; and an abstract of the paper (<500 words).


Workshop sessions allow a facilitator or facilitating team to set an agenda, pose opening questions, and/or organize hands-on participant activities, collaborations, or skill-shares. Successful praxis sessions will be organized around a specific objective, productively engage a cultural studies audience, and orient itself towards participants with minimal knowledge of the subject matter. Sessions organized around the development of ongoing creative, artistic, and activist projects are highly encouraged. The facilitator or team is responsible for framing the session, gathering responses and results from participants, helping everyone digest them, and (where applicable) suggesting possible ways for extending the discussion. Proposals for praxis sessions must include: the title of the session; the name, affiliation, and contact information for the facilitators; a brief statement explaining the session’s connection to the conference theme and describing the activities to be undertaken. The proposal should also list two desired learning outcomes for participants in the workshop.

Performance Space:

Performance sessions allow participants to experience of particular performance-based engagement methodologies or innovative models of engaged performance. Sessions must include ample opportunity for discussion and critique. Proposals for performance sessions must include: the title of the session; the name, affiliation, and contact information for the facilitators; a brief statement explaining the session’s connection to the conference theme

Media Session:

Media sessions allow excerpts from self-produced films, video or audio clips, or games and digital media. The viewing of or listening to media should not take up the whole of the sessions; presenters should build dialogue or other ways of engaging the audience into their proposed session description. Proposals for praxis sessions must include: the title of the session; the name, affiliation, and contact information for the facilitators; a brief statement explaining the session’s connection to the conference theme.

Proposal Submission Link

Questions or comments? Contact the IAS Graduate Office at

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