|As of 2015 there were 32,446 people entering detention in the United Kingdom, at its peak 2,607 people were physically detained in one of the UK’s 11 IRCs (Immigration Removal Centre). In January 2016 Stephen Shaw the former prisons and probation ombudsman published an independent review into the welfare of immigration detainees, one of his conclusions was a lack of openness and public understanding of the role IRCs play in our society.
“It is regrettable that the Home Office does not do more to encourage academic and media interest in immigration detention. Indeed, I think its reluctance to do so is counter-productive – encouraging speculative or ill-informed journalism, while inhibiting the healthy oversight that is one of the most effective means of ensuring the needs of those in detention are recognised and of preventing poor practice or abuse from taking hold. It has been argued internationally that immigration detention is “one of the most opaque areas of public administration.” It would be in everyone’s interests if in this country it were less so.”
Stephen Shaw – 2016
|In 2015 I became involved with a group called ‘No Boarders’ who are a group of volunteer activists providing support, fundraising and legal advice for people claiming asylum or seeking to claim asylum in the UK. From that experience I began work on a project called ‘Hiding Places’ in August that year. Through photographing refugee camps in Calais and various Immigration Removal Centres around the United Kingdom, as well as text pieces and ink drawings, I hope to begin to gain a greater understanding of what Stephen Shaw describes as one of the most opaque areas of public administration.
Using a mixture of photographs, text and drawings the project aims to look at the way in which refugees and migrants are represented in the British media. It seeks to provide an introspective look on how we subject asylum seekers to a process of de-legitimisation in order to strip them of their agency and effectively set them up for failure. The final outcome of this project will be a limited run publication and an exhibition.
Pussy Riot Illustration
Yarl’s Wood IRC
The Verne IRC
Hammondsworth / Colnbrook IRC
White Cliffs Illustration