Grants Awarded

Detention Without Walls

The Geographies of Justice fund enabled the co-production of a film called Detention Without Walls.

Put together from interviews, poems, photos and material collected through participatory research, the film follows the moving story from immigration detention to life after detention, described as “detention without walls”. Abandoned at train stations, separated from family and friends, unable to work or travel, fearful of return but determined to stay in the UK, the film explores how ideas of crime, citizenship and community combine in ways that multiply rather than remove the differences between us.

The Life After Detention group met weekly for about six months as part of a participatory action research project to share experiences, signpost to support services and get to know each other. The Geographies of Justice fund provided a safe space to meet each week, with food to share and travel expenses covered. Shelter, food and bus fare may seem like small contributions but in a country where former detainees do not have the right to work, these are critical, political acts. At a time when universities expect impact without providing the additional means necessary to do so small funding pots like the Geographies of Justice one are essential. The Geographies of Justice fund enabled this research to be conducted in a just and ethical way at the same time as contributing to a film that aims to have an impact on a wider audience.

It is difficult to make a documentary film at a time when you feel like the world is against you. There is a lot to resist, both inside and outside of immigration detention, but the small voices and actions all contribute to something much bigger than we can imagine. The film should be a starting point to find out more. We want to encourage our viewers to take change too. Inform yourself, inform your friends, talk to the people who have the power to change things and take action.

Bridget Holtom, University of Glasgow

Link to Video