In December 2016, the first international conference for Carceral Geography took place at the University of Birmingham. Directly linked to, and partially funded by, the project underpinning Prison Spaces, it was an opportunity for carceral geographers and other researchers (and students) interested in spaces and practices of incarceration to come together to present and discuss new work, and to help shape the future development of this subdiscipline.
Although the fundamental questions behind the project, i.e.
What are the predominant considerations and penal philosophies underpinning the design of the internal and external spaces of recently commissioned and built prisons?
What impact does the architecture, design, and technology (ADT) of prisons have on the experience of imprisonment, on the behaviour of those who occupy and move through carceral spaces, and on staff-prisoner and staff-management relationships?
will be explored at the project symposium in summer 2017 (details to follow), the Carceral Geography Conference considered some of the issues arising out of project data collection in relation to new-build prisons in the UK, Norway and Denmark, plus proposed prisons further afield, such as:
- the nature and experience of carceral confinement, broadly interpreted
- the notion of crossing of an assumed or contested boundary both between spaces of confinement and ‘other’ spaces
- the ways in which carceral experiences persist after periods of custody have ended – both for those confined, and for affected others
- experience of carceral spaces; issues of absence, intimacy, choreography and the microscale
Full details of the conference, including slides and audio files, can be found here