The Carceral Geography Lab is a community of researchers at or connected to the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) at the University of Birmingham, UK, actively researching carceral spaces and experiences.
Visiting researchers are welcome, via GEES’ Visiting Scholar Scheme.
The Carceral Geography Lab was the basis for the first international Carceral Geography Conference, held at the University of Birmingham in December 2016.
Dominique Moran, Reader in Carceral Geography
Dominique has held over £1m of ESRC funding, for research into prison visitation and recidivism, and prison design. She is author of Carceral Geography (2015) and an editor of Carceral Spaces (2013), Historical Geographies of Prisons (2015) and Carceral Spatiality (2017). Her work is transdisciplinary, 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. She publishes in leading journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Progress in Human Geography and Theoretical Criminology.
Ellie Slee, Doctoral Researcher
Ellie is conducting her ESRC-funded PhD linked to a wider research project on prison design, focusing on the external aesthetics of prisons. It examines two of the UK’s biggest prisons, HMP Manchester (“Strangeways”), a Victorian city centre prison, and the new HMP Berwyn in North Wales, currently under construction. Ellie has recently completed an ESRC Overseas Institutional Visit to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Will Thurbin, Doctoral Researcher
Will’s PhD research is on the Architectural Geographies of the UK Custodial Estate. With over twenty years’ experience in HM Prisons Service and in international corrections, Will brings a wealth of professional expertise to his PhD, as well as a Masters degree in Criminology from the University of Leicester.
Irene Marti, Visiting Researcher
Irene Marti, PhD candidate at the University of Neuchatel, and research assistant at the University of Bern, Switzerland, is undertaking a six month visit to GEES to work in the Carceral Geography Lab with Dominique Moran. Having spent some time working in prisons research within social anthropology, Irene is now working on the experience of incarceration for prisoners serving indeterminate sentences (i.e. those who have no release date and will probably end their lives in prison). Her project, Living the prison: An ethnographic study of indefinite incarceration in Switzerland, is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, who have also funded her overseas institutional visit to Birmingham. She has already completed data generation in Switzerland, and the purpose of her time in at GEES is to analyse her data, consider theoretical approaches, engage in academic dialogue and start to write up. She is considering time, space and embodiment as key concepts to inform the analysis and write-up process.
Henrietta Shorter, Masters Researcher
Henrietta is undertaking research for an MSci dissertation in carceral geography on the post-prison, specifically looking at visitor experiences at HMP Oxford and HMP Reading following their closure and conversion.
Gabriella Westley, Undergraduate Researcher
Gabriella is undertaking an undergraduate dissertation project in carceral geography as part of her Bachelor’s degree in Geography at the University of Birmingham. She is researching the local community response to HMP Bronzefield, a women’s prison in Surrey, UK.
Carceral Geography Lab Alumni and Associates
Jen worked on the ESRC-funded project ‘Fear-suffused environments’ or potential to rehabilitate?, and held an Honorary position at GEES whilst a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Brighton. This current project aligns with Jen’s wider research interests, which fit broadly at the intersection of cultural and political geography. Her first monograph, The Prison Boundary has now been published (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). She is now Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool.
Tom was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Carceral Geography, working from 2015-2016 on the ESRC-funded project Breaking the Cycle in which he led on work with prisoners’ families. He had previously completed his ESRC-funded PhD on the spatial aspects of orphan care in the Russian Federation, theorising the spatiality of orphanages and mobilisation of children within them, in terms of carceral studies. Tom is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Nottingham.
Marie undertook her PhD in Criminology at the University of Cambridge, before joining the ‘Breaking the Cycle’ project as a Postdoctoral Researcher in 2013. In this project she built upon her PhD, through which she researched the ‘effectiveness’ of the current visiting system in English prisons, taking a theoretical and human rights perspective, particularly with regards to the maintenance of family ties between prisoners and their families. Following her Postdoc position at GEES, in 2016 Marie took up a Lectureship at the School of Law at Sussex University.
Lucy undertook Masters level research in carceral geography, studying the computer simulation game ‘Prison Architect’. Drawing upon contemporary debates within carceral geography, criminology and virtual geography and gaming, her study investigated the extent to which public punitiveness is expressed within virtual prison design. A paper based on her research is in press at Environment and Planning: A.
Bhupinder Kaur Mann
Bhupinder studied Carceral Geography as a GEES undergraduate, continuing to postgraduate study at University College London. Her Masters research at UCL aimed to analyse the experiences and motivations of visitors to UK immigration detention centres using approaches from carceral geography, and documenting the experiences of visitors to facilitate academic discussion about the conceptualisation spaces of detention through thinking emotionally. Her Masters research was published as a UCL Working Paper.