PhD opportunity in Carceral Geography

PhD opportunity in Carceral Geography at the University of Birmingham, UK, to start October 2016; deadline for applications February 2016.

Architectural Geographies of the UK Custodial Estate

Supervisors: Dr Dominique Moran and Professor Peter Kraftl

This PhD engages with the UK’s Government Soft Landings (GSL) scheme, and the utilisation of Building Information Modelling (BIM), within the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ), for the construction of new justice buildings (police stations, courts, prisons). It builds on research at GEES in carceral and architectural geographies; extending inquiry into geographies of incarceration, and drawing attention to ‘banal’ rather than ‘signature’ buildings, whilst emphasising a need to understand how policies, procedures and procurement practices affect how buildings are designed and delivered. GSL seeks to ensure that new public buildings deliver to their brief, and that lessons learned from their construction are effectively captured. It seeks better outcomes for built assets, smoothing transition from construction into use. UK public sector procurers are mandated to adopt BIM, a form of Computer Aided Design, in all public sector construction projects by March 2016. BIM is intended to streamline project management, interaction between supply chain members, and enable leaner project delivery. Planned for a particular ‘moment’ in the evolution of public sector construction, the project will examine the implementation of GSL and the adoption of BIM within the MoJ, an early adopter of GSL.

The PhD will speak to notions of ‘future geographies’, anticipation and preparedness; the ‘future-proofing’ element of GSL/BIM. It will also explore the links between design, construction, maintenance and use, and the relational, processual nature of building work, as well as interrogating the role of architects in introducing design, innovation, and creativity into the technical processes of GSL/BIM. The PhD also has the potential to advance theory, considering the spatiotemporal terms which might be deployed to understand buildings as ‘more-than events’, building on a recent anti-Deleuzian turn against events and relationality in some recent philosophies of materiality, and perhaps, therefore, constitute a challenge to and development of geographies of architecture and carceral geographies.

This PhD project is founded on close contact with the external partner, with a professional placement augmented by regular contact with MoJ, supply chain partners and other relevant parties with a focus on custodial construction programme and delivery of GSL tasks.

UK and EU applicants may be able to enter the competition for ESRC scholarships at the University of Birmingham. A separate application is required for the funding competition, deadline in February. Applicants interested in applying for such funding must contact the named supervisor – – and apply for PhD study at Birmingham well ahead of this deadline. Link.