Bryonn Bain

Bryonn Bain

Associate Professor, Faculty Director: Prison Education Progam & Center for Justice


Scholar, activist, theater director, actor, writer, producer, and spoken word artist Bryonn Bain joined the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance in 2018. Bain’s work uses the arts and activism to build movements for justice, criminal justice reform, prison education, and abolition. As the founding director of the UCLA Prison Education Program, Bain has drawn on his decades of work in prisons to establish opportunities for higher education, the arts, and research in southern California prisons. He is now developing course offerings in which UCLA faculty will teach university students alongside those who are incarcerated. He has a joint appointment with the Department of African American Studies where he has taught since 2015 while staging productions and serving as a supervisor for the UCLA School of Law International Human Rights Law Clinic.


Narratives of freedom, the end of mass incarceration, spoken word poetry, hip hop/theater of the oppressed, film/multimedia, performing arts and culture for critical pedagogy and building justice movements, participatory pedagogy as critical race/gender/class praxis, the potential and pitfalls of human rights law, building the prison to school pipeline with higher education.

Creative Practice & Research

  • Bain’s courses include Hip-Hop and Spoken Word: Practicum; Legislative Theater for Racial Justice; The Poetry and Politics Of Malcolm X; Narratives of Change: Perspectives Through Writing and Performance; Narratives of Justice: Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline; Narratives of Freedom: How Incarceration Impacts Family; and Life After Lockdown: Justice Through Creative Writing and Performance.
  • Recent performances include Lyrics From Lockdown at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (2018).
  • Published books include The Ugly Side of Beautiful: Rethinking Race and Prison in America (2013), The Prophet Returns: The Hip Hop Generation Remix of Classic (2011), and Fish & Bread/Pescado Y Pan: A Bilingual Hip Hop Poetry Children’s Book (2016).