ART AS RESISTANCE: a story from immigration detention

We are privileged to have been asked by one of our Trustees, Joanne Vincett, to host the illustrated short story 'Art as Resistance: a story from immigration detention'.

The story, Written by Sarah Turnbull (Birkbeck, (University of London) and Joanne Vincett (The Open University) and illustrated by Gabi Froden, was funded by the Research Innovation Fund and with support from alumni and friends of Birkbeck, University of London.

This public engagement project aims to foster public awareness of the lived experiences of people who are separated from their families and made vulnerable and marginalised by the state in indefinite detention in the UK.


Through storytelling and illustration of ethnographic data from research conducted in British immigration detention centres, it also aims to innovate in how research can be widely disseminated and shared.

The narrative and illustration crafted in this project draw on a visual-tactile aspect of how people cope with immigration detention and resist its damage to their mental health that both Sarah and Jo found in common in their separate ethnographic research projects.


The practice of origami art (paper folding) in immigration detention was found to be particularly prevalent among female detainees in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre. 'Art as Resistance' is a story of how detained women practice origami art and transfer this knowledge to new arrivals, to counter the harmful effects of immigration detention on detained people and their families.

We offer befriending support to people held in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, aiming to reduce their isolation, reinforce their self-esteem and affirm their human dignity.

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