Carceral Geography sessions at the RGS-IBG 2019 – the carceral offshore and carceral archipelagos

The Carceral Geography Working Group is delighted to announce two sessions at the RGS-IBG conference 2019 which consider the carceral offshore and carceral archipelagos. Join us in London to hear these and many other fantastic papers at the annual RGS-IBG conference, 27-30 August 2019!

Session 1 : Concerning carceral geographies of trouble and hope (1): The carceral offshore

Session organisers: Kimberley Peters (University of Liverpool, UK); Jennifer Turner (University of Liverpool, UK); Anna Schliehe (University of Cambridge, UK); Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham, UK)

Session chair: Jennifer Turner (University of Liverpool, UK)

  1. Mobility control at sea: Cultivating the fabric of an ungovernable space – Andonea Jon Dickson (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
  2. The refoulement industry and the production of carcerality at sea – Maurice Stierl (University of Warwick, UK)
  3. The viapolitics of control, resistance and transient carceral spaces aboard ships – Amaha Senu (Cardiff University, UK)
  4. The mobility and containment of seafarers: A changing geography of maritime conviviality – Uma Kothari (The University of Manchester, UK)
  5. Island Geography; Incarceration and the Settler-Colonial State: Australia; 1788-1901Katherine Roscoe (University of Liverpool, UK)

Session 2 :  Concerning carceral geographies of trouble and hope (2): Carceral archipelagos

Session organisers: Kimberley Peters (University of Liverpool, UK); Jennifer Turner (University of Liverpool, UK); Anna Schliehe (University of Cambridge, UK); Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham, UK)

Session chair: Anna Schliehe (University of Cambridge, UK)

  1. Bounded Bodies: Carceral Spatialities of Institutional Transfer and Urban Parole Upon Indigenous Prisoners – Joshua David Michael Shaw (York University, Canada)
  2. The Architecture of Protest: Making spaces of resistance from sites of repression – Melissa Fielding (University of Cambridge, UK)
  3. ’Men of hard days’: experiences of hope, temporality and carcerality amongst asylum seekers in Denmark – Cecile Odgaard Jakobsen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
  4. Carceral Interfaces and the Justice Journey: Precarious Moments of Justice in the Carceral Archipelago – Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham, UK) ; Deirdre Conlon (University of Leeds, UK)
  5. Concerning carceral geographies: reflections on archipelagos and offshoring trouble/hope Kimberley Peters (University of Liverpool, UK)

Research Assistant – two roles available to work at De Montfort University (Leicester, UK) on design of prison visiting facilities.

Two short-term research assistants are sought by the School of Design at De Montfort University (Leicester, UK) to work with Rosemarie Fitton for 10 hours per week for 20 weeks on a project looking at prison environments.

Over the past two years Rosemarie’s team have developed a reputation for the delivery of innovative student design solutions for prison Visits Centres, providing design solutions that facilitate positive relationships in a more friendly and humane environment, delivering positive outcomes for both visitors and prisoners.

The advertised posts would be working on a new project that intends to capture not only the research that has already been undertaken in this area, but also to build on the experience and acumen developed through active design practice. This, coupled with research conducted with prisoners and visitors about their experiences of visits centres, will provide an evaluation of the success of interventions already implemented, enrich the research data and feed into future design projects.

Duties will include preparation of a literature review, data generation (via interviews) and data analysis.

Further details of the posts are available on the UniTemps website at The intended start date is applications is 25 March 2019, and applications are invited as soon as possible.


CFP ESC Ghent 2019: What does carceral geography bring to carceral studies?

Eurocrim_logo_ROOD_PNG.pngCall for Papers – ESC Conference 2019
Ghent – 18-21 September 2019

Title: What does carceral geography bring to carceral studies?

Session Organisers: Christophe Mincke (Institut national de criminalistique et de criminologie / Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles) and Anna Schliehe (University of Cambridge)


The term ‘carceral geography’ (Moran et al 2011) describes a vibrant field of geographical and space-centred research into practices and institutions of incarceration, ranging from prisons to migrant detention facilities and beyond. Although rapid, its development is far outpaced by the expansion, diversification and proliferation of those strategies of spatial control and coercion towards which it is attuned. The dictionary definition of carceral is ‘relating to, or of prison’, but as Routley notes ‘carceral geography is not just a fancier  name for the geography of prisons’ (2016: 1). Carceral geography is in close dialogue with  longerstanding academic engagements with the carceral, most notably criminology and prison sociology. Dialogue initially comprised learning and borrowing from criminology, but within a more general criminological engagement with spaces and landscapes (Campbell, 2013; Hayward, 2012, 2016; Kindynis, 2014) recent years have seen criminologists increasingly considering and adopting perspectives from carceral geography. We call for continued interrogation of carceral conditions (Moran et al 2017).
In this session we want to continue this dialogue and critically engage with questions around what a spatial focus can bring to carceral studies.

How do spatial approaches help to:
• understand the new challenges the prison is confronted with?
• define the carceral within or outside walls?
• better understand the functioning of carceral institutions?
• raise new questions for the century-old prison?

Please send abstracts of max 200 words, giving names, institutional affiliation and contact details for authors/presenters, to Anna ( and Christophe ( by no later than 5th of April 2019.

New papers for carceral geographers – stuckness, life space, prison poetry and Californian missions.

The new year has brought a crop of great new – and very different – papers (many of which are open access) that the CGWG wanted to bring to the attention of carceral geographers and others interested in scholarship of carceral spaces. Happy reading!

First, the whole of Stuckness and Confinement: Reflections on Life in Ghettos, Camps and Prisons , 2019’s first Issue of Ethnos, is well worth a read. In their Introduction: On Stuckness and Sites of Confinement, Andrew Jefferson, Simon Turner and Steffen Jensen make clear the appeal of this special issue to carceral geographers, as they develop “a theoretical argument around the interrelations of space and time in sites of confinement by exploring the relationships between ghettos, camps, places of detention, prisons and the like with a focus on those people who are confined, encamped, imprisoned, detained, stuck, or forcibly removed and who are doing their utmost to cope or escape”. They elegantly navigate the diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary understandings of and interests in confinement, and their own approach resonates with work in carceral geography, which they note is “concerned with multiple sites considering specifically the analytical entwining of imprisonment and migrant detention and with the subjective experiences of confinement”.

Focusing on different types of spaces, three new papers consider the lived experience of confinement, using different conceptual framings, and diverse data sources.

First, looking at secure forensic psychiatric units, Paula Reavey, Steven D Brown, Ava Kanyeredzi, Laura McGrath and Ian M. Tucker’s paper Agents and spectres: Life-space on a medium secure forensic psychiatric unit just out in Social Science & Medicine, examines how forensic psychiatric environments contribute to the shaping of recovery, by examining key features such as social interactions and agency. Drawing connections between the design of forensic psychiatric spaces and prisons, they use a concept of life space to explore the idea that occupants of these spaces “engage with the built environment in terms of it how shapes relationality”. They note that “markers of detention, such as locked door and high walls, may not necessarily act as the limits of psychological space”, if relationships to others can be maintained through porous boundaries, and that “freedom of movement…, such as the use of outside spaces and communal areas, might well diminish rather than expand a sense of agency” if relational possibilities are not enhanced. They argue that the built environment “should… be explored from the perspective of the relationally defined life space of the patient, rather than in terms of its spatial affordances only”.

Next, drawing on research in asylum detention, Marielle Zill, Ilse van Liempt, Bas Spierings and Pieter Hooimeijer have published Uneven geographies of asylum accommodation: Conceptualizing the impact of spatial, material, and institutional differences on (un)familiarity between asylum seekers and local residents in Migration Studies. Considering variation in asylum accommodation at the level of the everyday, they argue that “more ‘open’ forms of asylum accommodation may foster familiarity between asylum seekers and local residents through the development of closer everyday social relations, and more ‘closed’ forms of asylum accommodation may enforce feelings of unfamiliarity by strengthening processes of categorization and everyday bordering” Differentiating between ‘spatial’, ‘material’ and ‘institutional’ dimensions of openness of asylum accommodation, they “aim to understand ‘(un)familiarity’ as expression of people’s experiences, knowledge and perceptions of social distance”. 

Thirdly, drawing on literary representations of the prison, Anna Kędra-Kardela and Aleksandra Kędzierska have published a fascinating paper in Roczniki Humanistyczne, From the Profane to the Sacred: Prison-Space Transformations in G.G. Byron’s “The Prisoner of Chillon” and O. Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”” in which they use the concept of ‘story space’ to argue that the changing perception of space in these poems reflects a spiritual transformation for their protagonists. In the first poem, they argue, the experience of confinement leads the protagonist to the acceptance of prison life to the point of the dungeon becoming “a second home”, whereas in the second, incarceration has a transformative function, culminating in spiritual awakening. As a result, prison “becomes a space of prayer, turning thereby from the profane into the sacred”. 

And finally, the prison system of California feels familiar to carceral geographers, following the seminal work of Ruth Wilson Gilmore, but in California’s First Mass Incarceration System: Franciscan Missions, California Indians, and Penal Servitude, 1769–1836, published in Pacific Historical Review, Benjamin Madley offers a perspective which will be new to many. Arguing that California’s missions came to resemble a mass incarceration system, he examined the “changing policies of recruitment, spatial confinement, regimentation, surveillance, physical restraint, and corporal punishment as well as California Indian resistance” to trace the ways in which missions and their military allies deployed carceral practices. He argues persuasively that “colonial-era carceral systems may have contributed to the evolution of local penal institutions as well as the long history of incarceration in the United States as a whole”.

Taken together, these diverse and intriguing papers offer much to reflect upon for carceral geographers and others interested in the theorisation of confinement, the development and design of carceral systems and institutions, and their lived experience. Looking forward to much more fascinating work like this in 2019!

New open access book: “Asylum Determination in Europe – Ethnographic Perspectives”, edited by Nick Gill and Anthony Good

Carceral geographers and other scholars of migration and asylum may be interested to hear about a new open access book entitled ‘Asylum Determination in Europe – Ethnographic Perspectives’ and edited by Nick Gill and Anthony Good, just published in the Palgrave Macmillan socio-legal studies book series.

Drawing on research material from ten European countries, Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives brings together a range of detailed accounts of the legal and bureaucratic processes by which asylum claims are decided. The book includes a legal overview of European asylum determination procedures, followed by sections on the diverse actors involved, the means by which they communicate, and the ways in which they make life and death decisions on a daily basis. It offers a contextually rich account that moves beyond doctrinal law to uncover the gaps and variances between formal policy and legislation, and law as actually practiced.

The contributors employ a variety of disciplinary perspectives – sociological, anthropological, geographical and linguistic – but are united in their use of an ethnographic methodological approach. Through this lens, the book captures the confusion, improvisation, inconsistency, complexity and emotional turmoil inherent to the process of claiming asylum in Europe.

Introduction (html) (pdf) Nick Gill and Anthony Good

Legal Overview (html) (pdf) Sarah Craig and Karin Zwaan

Part I: Actors

The “Inner Belief ” of French Asylum Judges (html) (pdf) Carolina Kobelinsky

“It’s All About Naming Things Right”: The Paradox of Web Truths in the Belgian Asylum-Seeking Procedure (html) (pdf) Massimiliano Spotti

The World of Home Office Presenting Officers (html) (pdf) John R. Campbell

Asylum Procedures in Greece: The Case of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors (html) (pdf) Chrisa Giannopoulou and Nick Gill

Part II Communication

Why Handling Power Responsibly Matters: The Active Interpreter Through the Sociological Lens (html) (pdf) Julia Dahlvik

Communicative Practices and Contexts of Interaction in the Refugee Status Determination Process in France (html) (pdf) Robert Gibb

Narrating Asylum in Camp and at Court (html) (pdf) Matilde Skov Danstrøm and Zachary Whyte

Interactions and Identities in UK Asylum Appeals: Lawyers and Law in a Quasi-Legal Setting (html) (pdf) Jessica Hambly

Part III Decision-Making

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Credibility? Refugee Appeals in Italy (html) (pdf) Barbara Sorgoni

Making the Right Decision: Justice in the Asylum Bureaucracy in Norway (html) (pdf) Tone Maia Liodden

Taking the ‘Just’ Decision: Caseworkers and Their Communities of Interpretation in the Swiss Asylum Office (html) (pdf) Laura Affolter, Jonathan Miaz and Ephraim Poertner

Becoming a Decision-Maker, or: “Don’t Turn Your Heart into a Den of Thieves and Murderers” (html) (pdf) Stephanie Schneider

Conclusion (html) (pdf) Nick Gill

The whole book is available as a .pdf here:


Calls for Papers for Carceral Geography sessions at RGS-IBG 2019

There are three live calls for papers for prospective sessions sponsored by the Carceral Geography Working Group of the RGS-IBG:

  • The carceral offshore: unpacking geographies of detriment, intent and spatiality at sea 
  • Carceral Archipelagos of trouble and hope
  • The politics of hope within systems of border control: Troubled subjects, materials and temporalities

Details for each are below – submit your papers now!


The carceral offshore: unpacking geographies of detriment, intent and spatiality at sea

In examining geographies of trouble/geographies of hope at this year’s conference, it would be difficult for the seas and oceans not to come to mind. With recent, and also more longstanding, attention being drawn to both environmental and socio-cultural and political crisis (and so-called ‘crisis’) offshore (from threats to more-than-human ocean biodiversity and the perils of plastics, to the devastating human dimensions of oceanic migration and offshore detention) this session seeks to pay attention to the ways in which ‘carceral conditions’ (Moran, Turner and Schliehe, 2017) can be further unpacked at sea; and how in turn the sea becomes a space for further conceptualising the carceral.

This session invites papers to explore a myriad of issues that connect up carcerality (broadly encapsulated by conditions of detriment, intent and spatiality, see Moran, Turner and Schliehe, 2017) and the seas (also broadly understood as relational, three-dimensional, multi-state and more-than-wet, see Peters and Steinberg 2019). Papers may be historical or contemporary in focus, empirically driven or conceptually led.

Themes could include but are not limited to:

  • ships (in their many and various types, from cruise liners to cargo ships to sailing vessels and prison hulks) as a carceral spaces/spaces of incarceration;
  • the specific spaces within ships (from everyday spaces such cabins to engine rooms to safe rooms or panic rooms and on board holding cells) and their carceral conditions;
  • the materiality of seas and oceans themselves as geophysical spaces of carcerality for those who live or work there or are forced to traverse these ‘water’ worlds;
  • the politics of demarcating, bordering and ordering the seas and oceans in ways that create carceral conditions for those using the seas;
  • other ‘maritime’ spaces of incarceration – ports that connect land and sea; islands (from artificial to quarantine); exploratory platforms and rigs; fantasy spaces such as seasteads;
  • specific maritime technologies that may have incarcerating effects such as submarines; dive wear and apparatus; maritime simulation machines in vessel handling training; nets and meshes etc.
  • the way more-than-human life/biodiversity at sea (from sea-going mammals, to fish, to micro organisms) become subject to carceral conditions through their relation to human use, exploitation and governance;
  • how forms of offshoring might be examined as ‘carceral’ (for example the offshoring of activities and people which/who are constructed as ‘other’);
  • how forms of ocean mapping and planning might have incarcerating impacts for people, ecosystems, more-than-human life and relations between these.

If you would be interested in participating, please get in touch and send abstracts of no more 200 words to Kimberley Peters ( and Jennifer Turner ( by 8th February 2019.

Carceral Archipelagos of trouble and hope

Ever since the establishment of carceral institutions, their legitimate existence has been questioned. In recent years, the carceral archipelago that was first described by Foucault (1975/1991: 297) as a series of institutions that operate with a punitive model and are built on surveillance and discipline, has increasingly included spaces beyond the prison. In this session, we want to explore this archipelago further by asking how far we can venture from the enclosed institutions and still identify the carceral (Moran et al 2017). Playing with this year’s theme we want to particularly focus on trouble and the many troubles that exist in the carceral sphere, as well as hope. Hope might be more elusive than trouble; however, the two are not binaries but rather co-exist and intertwine in carceral spaces. In fact, trouble can produce hope and hope can be troubling to some. We invite submissions that explore the reach of the carceral, e.g. with regards to electronic monitoring and digital developments; but also pay particular attention the spatial in carceral geography and how people not just do time, but also ‘do space’ (Philo 2018). We would like to explore the carceral archipelago and how this fits in with what has been described as societies of control (Deleuze 1992). We invite papers from all disciplinary backgrounds that seek to engage with, but are not limited to, the following topics and areas:

• The various roles of trouble in carceral environments
• The role of punishment in defining the carceral
• More dispersed forms of carceral interventions like electronic monitoring, community sentences and other interventions
• The role of the digital in carceral archipelagos
• Experiences of hope in carceral space
• Issues of legitimacy and questions of abolition
• Normalisation the strive towards reducing boundaries
• Carceral landscapes and the design of hope and/or trouble
• Carceral practices beyond the prison
• Disruptive practices, resistance and questions of citizenship

Please send abstracts of max 200 words, giving names, institutional affiliation and contact details for authors/presenters, to Anna Schliehe ( by no later than Friday the 8th of February 2019.

The politics of hope within systems of border control: Troubled subjects, materials and temporalities

The contemporary landscape of border control is not widely considered to be hopeful. Profit margins and a political rhetoric of ‘secure borders’ are valued more than life lived in fullness. The UK’s hostile environment policies, the measures put in place by ‘Fortress Europe’, ‘Brexit’ and anxieties of settled status, escalating family detention and Trump’s border wall are but a few examples of increasing hostility to migrants. Simply put, things are getting worse.

And yet hope remains. The politics of migration control can also be characterised as a struggle for/over hope. We encounter hopeful actions in those moving to find family, escape war, find work and in aims for a better life. We find them in the activists and charities working to kindle hope within these systems. Yet we also see hope in the policy strategies to deter ‘hopeful’ migrants, to reduce incentives and to ‘increase border security’. What then, does it mean to talk of ‘hope’ in the context of such increasingly pervasive, hostile and deadly systems of border control? What forms of politics does a focus upon hope open up, and what does it risk precluding? And what might it mean to “hope with teeth” (Mieville 2018)?

The aim for border scholars and activists, however, cannot be to simply engender a sense of hopefulness in the face of such strategies. In this session we therefore seek to further unpack the politics of hope in the context of borders and immigration control by recognising that hope is not necessarily positive, nor is it inherently progressive. We trouble the potentially dangerous simplicity of the ‘hopeful migrant subject’, focusing instead on the multiple forms of hopeful, incoherent subjectivities that are emerging within systems of border control. We also seek to investigate the power of objects and things in shaping the forms and intensities of hope or despair. Furthermore, what temporalities of hope emerge in the context of border control?

We welcome papers and submissions in non-traditional formats (for example video or visual submissions) that explore themes including but not limited to:

  • The relation between hope and resistance
  • The performativity of hope and the variations that occur between subjects and temporalities
  • The temporalities that a focus on hope may open up
  • Hopeful subjectivities: beyond the ‘hopeful migrant’
  • Possible/realised consequences of hoping or engendering hope
  • Hope and the more than human
  • The affectual politics of hope
  • Researcher encounters with hope ‘in the field’
  • The communication of hope and sort of publics that hope may gather
  • Forms of hope engendered through organised action
  • The role of academics in providing a productive form of despair

Please send abstracts of 200 words to Sarah Hughes ( and Daniel Fisher ( by midnight on the 1st February 2019.

CFP Carceral Geography/Geographien des Einschlusses, at the Deutscher Kongress für Geographie 2019 in Kiel, Germany, September 25-30

Logo CAU2019 brings our first ever call for carceral geography papers for a dedicated session at the German Geography conference/Deutscher Kongress für Geographie 2019, to be held at Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany, 25-30 September 2019.


L7-FS-166 Geographien des Einschlusses: Gefängnisse, einschliessende Institutionen und andere Formen der Sicherung und Sanktionierung

Organisers: Dr. Marina Richter, Dr. Anna Schliehe

English speakers are welcome. Any questions can be directed to Anna Schliehe –


Bisher hat sich die deutschsprachige Geographie kaum für Fragen der Inhaftierung und Bestrafung interessiert. Die Fachsitzung diskutiert aktuelle der Geographien des Einschlusses.

[English translation: German-speaking research in geography has very rarely engaged with questions around incarceration and punishment. This session aims to discuss carceral geography and geographies of closed space.]


Zum weitherum konstatierten ‚punitive turn’ (Garland 2001) in der derzeitigen Praxis geschlossener Institutionen wie Gefängnissen, gesellt sich vermehrt auch ein Bestreben nach maximaler Sicherheit. Im Deutschen und Schweizer Jutizvollzug zeigt sich das exemplarisch an der Bedeutung der Verwahrung. Carceralgeographies, also die Geographie von Gefängnissen und anderen geschlossenen Räumen, wie Lagern oder Auffangstationen, befasst sich derzeit intensiv mit diesen Fragen. Dabei werden, wie bspw. auch in den security geographies und border studies Fragender Überwachung, Ein- und Ausgrenzung und Internierung kritisch diskutiert.

Für diese Fachsitzung sind wir interessiert an Beiträgen, die sich nuanciert mit der Beschaffenheit von geschlossenen Räumen und mit den Akteur*innen in ihnen beschäftigen und die darüber hinaus auch Fragen der Lokalisierung und Verteilung solcher Räume, der Beziehung zwischen einzelnen Institutionen und einem vermehrt „strafenden“ Staat analysieren. Beiträge können sowohl empirisch wie auch theoretisch ausgelegt sein. Als theoretische Leitlinien können, müssen aber nicht, die Arbeiten von Erving Goffman (1961), Michel Foucault (1975) oder auch Giorgio Agamben (1998) dienen. Als heuristische Instrumente können Kategorien wie Zeit, Mobilität oder Taktiken und Strategien des Lebens in geschlossenen Räumen dienen. Dabei müssen geschlossene Räume immer auch in Relation zur Gesellschaft und ihren Veränderungen gesehen werden. Denn die Gesellschaft bestimmt die Funktion solcher Räume: System der Korrektur und Wiedereingliederung oder Sammelraum für dysfunktionale Elemente der Gesellschaft (Durkheim).

Von Ebenen des Persönlichen zum Globalen wollen wir in dieser Fachsitzung die diversen Forschungsrichtungen der Geographien des Einschliessens erkunden. Neben konventionellen, vom Staat sanktionierten Gefängnisräumen, sollen daher auch weitere Räume im Fokus stehen wie Räume der Internierung von Flüchtlingen und Nicht-Bürger*innen, Geheimgefängnisse, Lager oder auch Formen von Internierung die sich nicht auf physische Immobilität beschränken. Themen können beinhalten:

– Theoretische Konzeptionen von ‚Carcerality‘ und Einschluss

– Elektronische Überwachung, Kameraüberwachung und Sekuritisierung

– Mobilität und Internierung

– Körper und ihre Materialität in geschlossenen Räumen

Papers should be submitted via this portal: by the deadline of 25 January 2019

Postdoc opportunity with Sophie Fuggle – “Postcards from the bagne: Tourism in the shadow of France’s overseas penal colonies”

Apply now to hit the 11 Nov deadline for applications for to work with Sophie Fuggle on the AHRC-funded project ‘Postcards from the bagne: Tourism in the shadow of France’s overseas penal colonies’.

Specific duties will involve, for example, carrying out archival and fieldwork at relevant sites in France and internationally, organising dissemination events including an international conference, preparing journal articles and other outputs, organising pathways to impact activities.

For more information and to apply please visit:

The position is 1.0FTE for 8 months starting in January 2019 (or as soon as possible thereafter) but there is the possibility to discuss carrying out the role on a part-time basis over a longer period.

For an informal discussion, please contact

Application deadline: 11 November 2018
Interview date: 4 December 2018

Programme announced – 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography

The programme for the 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography, to be held at the University Liverpool, 17-18 December 2018, has been finalised, and is available here.


Registration for the conference is open via this online shop. Registration is free, and there are payable items of day catering and a conference dinner which can be optionally added. The last date for conference registration is 7th December 2018.


The conference theme of “counterpoints and counter-intuition” is intended encourage both a diversity of perspectives on the carceral, and to stimulate discussion of that which is or was unanticipated, had been unimagined, or was unforeseen.


We are delighted that Professor Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham) and Professor Chris Philo (University of Glasgow) will be joining us as keynote speakers at the conference. The conference will feature 8 paper sessions, with 29 papers from 39 authors from across the globe. Delegates are invited to a drinks reception and exhibition event including the photographic work of Dr Annie Pfingst (Goldsmiths, University of London), The Comparative Penology Group (University of Cambridge) and a musical performance from Lucy Cathcart Frödén (University of Glasgow and Vox Liminis).

Dedicated theme sessions include: Carceral legitimacy; Mobilities and Change; Health, Body and Mind; Carceral Landscapes; amongst others.

To join us in Liverpool for the conference, register now!

Registration open for the 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography

Carceral Geography3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography, University of Liverpool, UK

17-18th December 2018


We invite delegates to attend the 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography, organised by the Carceral Geography Working Group (CGWG) of the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) and The International Criminological Research Unit (ICRU), University of Liverpool. The conference is hosted by the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool in conjunction with the Power, Space and Cultural Change research group in the Department of Geography and Planning.

Conference registration is free. Catering for both days will be available at the cost charge of £27 to include lunch and all refreshment breaks. An optional conference dinner will also be available. Please register here.

counterpoints and counter-intuition

The 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography provides an opportunity for presentation and discussion of work on all forms of carcerality; camps, confinement, custody, detention and incarceration, from carceral geographers, and scholars, scholar-activists and practitioners from all disciplines. Contributions from Early Career Researchers are especially welcomed.

The conference theme of “counterpoints and counter-intuition” is intended encourage both a diversity of perspectives on the carceral, and to stimulate discussion of that which is or was unanticipated, had been unimagined, or was unforeseen.

‘Counterpoint’ is a term used in musical theory to describe the relationship between voices that are simultaneously independent yet interdependent. We deploy this term here to describe the differing perspectives which characterise carceral research – including scholar-activism aligned to abolitionism or reductionism, and research conducted within and with the formal approval of, carceral establishments. We see all of these voices as purposeful and productive, and through this theme we seek to highlight both their independence, and the interdependences between them. All perspectives are welcome, and the theme of ‘carceral counterpoint’ encourages constructive and collaborative dialogue across the diversity of perspectives.

Through the theme of ‘carceral counter-intuition’ we seek to explore the unexpectedness of carcerality, its unimagined forms and its unforeseen aspects – and simultaneously to interrogate their apparently counter-intuitive nature. Carceral geographers and others have noted that the carceral exists in unexpected places beyond the formal contours of detention or prison; carceral scholarship is increasingly identifying previously under-recognised aspects and consequences of confinement, and innovative methodologies are uncovering under-researched elements of carceral experience. And beyond the ‘academy’, 2018 has itself brought the ‘unanticipated’. An unexpected heatwave in Europe has caused deterioration in prison conditions – yet climate change research tells such that such extreme weather events are increasingly likely. And the US has seen the unthinkable – the separation of migrant families at the border and the incarceration of migrant children – in a move depicted by the Trump administration as an inevitable consequence of the enforcement of a ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy.

The conference committee are pleased to welcome Professor Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham) and Professor Chris Philo (University of Glasgow) as this year’s keynote speakers.

moranDominique Moran’s research in the UK, Russia and Scandinavia, supported by the ESRC, has contributed to her transdisciplinary work, informed by and extending theoretical developments in geography, criminology and prison sociology, but also interfacing with contemporary debates over hyperincarceration, recidivism and the advance of the punitive state. Dominique is author of ‘Carceral Geography: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration’ (2015) and an editor of Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past (2015), ‘Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention’ (2013), and Carceral Spatiality: Dialogues between Geography and Criminology (2017).

philoChris Philo’s ongoing research interests concern the historical, cultural and rural geographies of mental ill-health, supplemented by scholarship in the following fields as well: social geographies of ‘outsiders’; children’s geographies; new animal geographies; historical and contemporary figurations of public space; geographies of ‘new spiritual practices’; Foucauldian studies; the history, historiography and theoretical development of geography. Much of his historical research on ‘madness’ and asylums is brought together in A Geographical History of Institutional Provision for the Insane from Medieval Times to the 1860s in England and Wales: The Space Reserved for Insanity (2004).

Confirmed presenters include:

Dr Adam Barker and Dr Emma Battell Lowman (University of Hertfordshire)
Dr Nadia von Benzon (Lancaster University)
Habmo Birwe (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Iolanthe Brooks (Clark University)
Dr Kathy Burrell (University of Liverpool)
Dr Rachid El Mounacifi
Dr Luca Follis (Lancaster University)
Dr Rachel Forster (Novus and HMP Wakefield)
Dr Carly Guest and Dr Rachel Seoighe (Middlesex University)
Maria Hagan (University of Cambridge)
Liza Kim Jackson (York University) and Kirsten McIlveen (University of British Columbia) Franz James and Dr Sepideh Olausson (University of Gothenburg)
Prof. Helen Johnston (University of Hull) and Dr Jo Turner (Staffordshire University)
Elizabeth Lara (Deakin University)
Claire Loughnan (The University of Melbourne)
Eleanor March (University of Surrey)
Dr Olivier Milhaud (Sorbonne Université)
Prof. Christophe Mincke (National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology [NICC])
Leah Montange (University of Toronto)
Prof. Mike Nellis (University of Strathclyde)
Kaitlyn Quinn and Erika Canossini (University of Toronto)
Maddalena Rodelli (University of Padua)
Dr Laura Routley (Newcastle University)
Dr Anna Schliehe and Dr Julie Laursen (University of Cambridge)
Dr Amaha Senu (University of Cardiff)
Dr Luca Sterchele (University of Padua)
Jack Tomlin (Nottingham University)
Hallam Tuck (University of Oxford)

Including a drinks reception with music and photography exhibitions by:

Lucy Cathcart Frödén (University of Glasgow and Vox Liminis)
Dr Annie Pfingst (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Dr Anna Schliehe (University of Cambridge)

Getting to University of Liverpool

Arriving by air – Liverpool John Lennon Airport is around eight miles from the city centre. A low-cost bus service from the airport to the city centre is operated by Merseytravel. It is also possible to use Uber or taxi services.

Manchester Airport is 45 minutes from Liverpool city centre. Direct connections are available by train.

Arriving by road and rail – The nearest train station is Liverpool Lime Street (10 minute walk from campus) and National Express coaches stop at Liverpool One bus station (20 minute walk from campus). The pendolino service to London Euston is direct  and takes 2 hours 13 minutes.

Liverpool is well-connected to the UK motorway network. From the M6 take the M62, M58 or M56 direct to the destination.

There are visitor car parks provided by the University. These are located at Brownlow Street and Mount Pleasant (opposite the Catholic Cathedral). Please see the Campus map for visitor car park locations.


There is a wide variety of accommodation available around the city and, as such, we have not specified any one particular place for delegates. Some suggestions for hotels close to campus include:

Hope Street Hotel (£££)

The Hallmark Inn (££)

Hatters Hostel (£)

On-campus accommodation is also available. Details are here.

Please direct any enquiries to