A photo of Holloway Prison. In the foreground you can see a gated carpark and a red and white barrier., alongside a CCTV pole. In the background Holloway Prison looms against a cold, blue, winter sky. A skeleton-like tree is to the left.
Talk & Workshop
Somerset House Studios

Carceral Geographies

Sun 26 Sep
12.00 - 16.30
Reading Group 12.00 - 13.00
Presentation 14.00 - 15.00
Anti-raid Workshop 15.30 - 16.30
Lancaster Rooms
New Wing

A three-part event encompassing a reading group, presentation and workshop as the third instalment of the Abolition: In Defence of Translation series. 

Opening the afternoon session series curators Lola Olufemi and Imani Robinson lead a reading group, pairing texts and thoughts from prison abolitionist and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Dr. Gail Lewis, a writer, psychotherapist, researcher, and activist.

Carceral Geographies' second element sees a presentation from members of the Carceral Time Working Group, a collective of Goldsmith’s Architecture MA students who have conducted a critical research appraisal of Holloway Prison, formerly the largest women’s prison in Europe. The students have sought to understand how prisons and other carceral systems seize time as a form of punishment. As a result of their research, Undoing Time, an abolitionist planner and website was born. 

Following the presentation is a facilitated anti-raids workshop led by Haringey Anti-Raids with a session that aims to give attendees the knowledge, skills and resources to stop immigration raids at local level. The workshop invites consideration on how reclaiming the landscape from police, prisons and other state entities can transform understanding of place and thus, possibility. 

Information on reading resources for Carceral Geographies' reading group will be distributed to participants via email. Due to a limited capacity to allow for group discussion, please note that the reading group is ticketed separately from the presentation and workshop that follow it - reading group participants are also encouraged to book for attending Carceral Time Working Group presentation and anti-raids workshop, should they wish to also attend these.   

Part of Abolition: In Defence of Translation, a series of presentations, organising workshops, discussions and performances reflecting on the many dimensions of abolition, curated and programmed by Lola Olufemi and Imani Robinson. 

Programme notes

Incarceration haunts our landscapes. Abolition contends with the material consequences of living in spaces defined by confinement: how entrapment seeps into architecture, locks itself into buildings, street names and signs. The prison is often tucked away out of plain sight, but it reverberates, bounces back into our homes, schools and communities. A landscape of entrapment limits the possibility of liveable life inside and outside of the prison, it renders impossible an idea of “particular space inexorably connected to multiple spatialities… particular space that is open-receptive and communicant yet sheltering particular life” as June Jordan writes. The prison is a monument to disciplinary regimes fortified by the state and buried in the minds, bodies and practices of its ‘citizens.’ For those of us interested in unsettling and abolishing these regimes, it is crucial that we understand the contours of our own landscape. The terrain of the battle.

About the Carceral Time Working Group

Undoing Time is an abolitionist planner and website that seeks to provide a slow, methodological approach towards how time operates in carceral spaces, using HMP Hollway as its starting point. It reflects on how timelines are determined for criminalised individuals, how time is weaponised as a form of punishment, and on methods of claiming or reclaiming time practiced by incarcerated people. In thinking about Holloway Prison as a site that structures and allocates time — not just in the past, but also in the present and future — it unravels the different temporalities that are woven into the carceral experience, in order to provide diagnostic and interventionist tools. If duration is increasingly used against people, Undoing Time proposes to use duration back against the prison state.

Undoing Time was produced by the Carceral Time Working Group, a collective of 20 students at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths. In the work, the group adopts a collective voice, in reflection of their approach to the project as an exercise – amongst other things – in collective imagining. Alongside Undoing Time, the group also co-produced Beside the Borders, a web-based project in four parts, that charts the manifestations of border assemblages across one possible migrant journey: Sahara, Aegean, Alps, London.

The Carceral Time Working Group is made up of: Jacob Bertilsson, Jacob Bolton, Severine Chapelle, Ayana Enomoto-Hurst, Georgia Ferguson, Omar Hmidat, Ana López Sanchez-Vegazo, Andrea Macias-Yanez, Marvi Mazhar, James Moss, Ginevra Ailie Naldini, Miguel Ramos Hernandez, Giovanna Reder, Duncan Salkovskis, Caterina Selva, Elara Shurety, Sanjana Varghese, Nikki Vieler, Hannah Witt, Ollie Zhang.

About Haringey Anti-Raids

Haringey Anti-Raids is a grassroots abolitionist group that is building towards a world without immigration raids (starting from Haringey and working outwards). It has been running street stalls since 2016, organising workshops, and having thousands of conversations about state racism, border imperialism, gentrification and what we can do about it.