2013-2015 Immigration Detention ESRC project

Everyday Practice and Resistance in Immigration Detention

Immigration detention is a pressing political issue. Detained populations, detention facilities, and industries have expanded globally. The UK, particularly, has implemented a range of changes to its detention regime in recent years, including the fast-tracking of many immigration detainees, the privatisation of detention facilities, and the expansion of the detention estate, albeit through the construction of privately run, secure facilities for immigrants that the British government does not recognise as detention. This said, a number of features of detention in the UK have also remained remarkably resilient to change, including the continued use of indefinite detention, the prohibition on paid work whilst in detention and the detention of children. Despite this expansion, detention practices have not been given the academic attention they deserve: the everyday experience of detention is poorly understood, as is the complex relationship between detention and borders, the flows of material and policies between detention and mainstream incarceration, the ways in which detention might be resisted and the meaning and methods of ‘supporting’ detainees.

“Everyday Practice and Resistance in Immigration Detention” is an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council of the UK) funded seminar series which takes a multi-disciplinary approach to immigration detention. Through five one-day workshop events held in London, York, Birmingham, Oxford and Lancaster, the seminar series will span the academic disciplines of criminology, geography, politics and sociology in order to examine the phenomenon of detention as it relates to supporting detainees, penology and prisons, everyday experiences of detention and the politics of, and resistance to, detention practices. By bringing together a range of established and early-career academics, postgraduates, practitioners, artists, activists and former detainees, this seminar series will investigate the ways in which the UK experience of detention reflects and re-produces the contradictory logics inherent in modern global detention practices. The seminar series is led by Dr Nick Gill (University of Exeter), with Dr Alex Hall (York), Dr Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham), Dr Imogen Tyler (Lancaster University) and Dr Mary Bosworth (Oxford University)

see also asylum network

An eighteen month ESRC project research project that examines the challenges faced by asylum support groups in the United States and the United Kingdom, and different ways of responding to those challenges. The research was been carried out by four people: Drs Nick Gill, Deirdre Conlon, Ceri Oeppen and Imogen Tyler. Project website

This project received a unanimous grade of “outstanding” from the ESRC.


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