Oral histories of immigration detention: ethical approaches in research and activism
What does it mean to be involved in anti-detention activism? How should researchers work with people with experience of incarceration? What are the different motives and attitudes that lie behind the action of “telling stories of immigration detention”? Whose perspective should prevail, why and who decides? What do we do if these stories tell very different stories and perceptions of immigration detention? Should we be asking the question, who gains and who loses through these re-telling? What responsibilities do we have to the words, gestures and emotions that people who were in immigration detention share in public space? Many of us involved in Unlocking Detention have asked ourselves these questions over and over and over. And it is with great pleasure that this year’s Unlocking Detention is hosting this thought-provoking workshop in Glasgow on 11 December, thanks to generous support from the University of Glasgow.  Below is more information about the workshop – if you want to join us, please make sure to register.
Immigration detention is a controversial subject, and in recent months it has frequently been in the news. For anyone interested in it, whether as an academic researcher or a campaigner, listening to the testimony of detainees is essential—while many present and former detainees want to speak out about their experiences. But detainees themselves, researchers, and activists, all have different purposes in recording and re-telling these stories. 
Between giving testimony, recording it, and using it in research and activism, those different purposes are sometimes in tension or even conflict. A researcher might be interested in something a detainee prefers not to talk about; a detainee might want to tell a story that complicates the message of an activist organization’s campaign. It’s important for researchers, activists, and detainees speaking out to be aware of these tensions, and think about how to deal with them.
As part of #unlocked17, this workshop explores the ethics of doing oral histories of immigration detention for research and activism.
With participants from Behind The Wire (Australia), Scottish Detainee Visitors, Detention Forum, Freed Voices, Detention Action, and the Open Museum.
Date: Mon 11 Dec 2017
Time: 10am–4pm followed by networking reception
Venue: Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3JD, in the Clubroom. This is a fully accessible venue in central Glasgow (not on the university campus).
The workshop is free but registration is required. Please register at the following Eventbrite page here
For more information, contact David Wright <David.Wright@glasgow.ac.uk
This event is funded by the University of Glasgow’s Knowledge Exchange Fund.