Martin Cathcart Froden

PhD student

University of Glasgow


Working Title of PhD: We make spaces and spaces make us: An exploration through creative writing of the relationship between literature and carceral spaces
Year commenced PhD study: 2015
Institution: University of Glasgow
Funding Source: Arts and Humanities Research Council
PhD Supervisors: Zoë Strachan, Prof Fergus McNeill, Prof Johnny Rodger

Synopsis: Drawing on Lefebvre and Foucault, urban theorists Edward Soja and David Harvey have developed the concept of ‘spatial justice’. Carceral spaces – the spaces in society created for people who do not choose to inhabit them – are a very clear example of how justice and injustice become visible in space.

Prof Johnny Rodger, Professor of Urban Literature at Glasgow School of Art, asserts that literary and critical writing has a direct influence on civil, political and spatial formations. With his help I will explore the mechanisms for creative writing to influence carceral spaces, and whether this can be a bidirectional process.

With the help of Prof Fergus McNeill, and Dr Sarah Armstrong I hope to prove that creative writing has a valid and necessary role to play in the intersection between literary research, penal architecture and criminology. By shining a light on the human element, the individual experience, the emotional effects of academic processes and the resultant policy decisions, this project will hopefully provide a worthy contribution to public discourse, increasing public understanding of carceral spaces.

The aim for my second year is to produce an anthology reflecting on the spaces offenders inhabit and on spatial justice in a prison context. Other individuals with a connection to carceral spaces, e.g. ex-offenders, SPS staff, teaching staff, architects and academics will also be invited to participate.

As my arts practice is the main element of my research, the end result will be a novel, supervised by Zoë Strachan.



* Winner of the Dundee International Book Prize for novel ‘Devil take the Hindmost’


* ‘A floating halfway house’ published: Gutter Magazine #10, ISBN:978-1-908754-41-7

* Various short stories published: From Glasgow to Saturn (Japanese Orange), Octavius (Ishaq), Sub City Radio (Golden Wonder)


* ‘An Underwater Cathedral’ won BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition for emerging writers, broadcast July 2013

* ‘Robert Anderson’s Fires’ – novel shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Award

* ‘Is/land’ shortlisted for the Baker Prize, published in anthology: ISBN:978-0-9547021-2-0


* ‘S-bahn and the Sons of Judah’ published in Spilling Ink Review

* ‘Finnish for beginners’ shortlisted for the Birmingham Book Festival Short Story Award

* ‘Keith Morris is a Royal Plum’ longlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize

* ‘A floating halfway house’ shortlisted for the Bridport Prize


* Various short stories shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize (Framed), University College Dublin Short Story Prize (Is/Land) and the Rubery Award (An Old Boy and a Young Man), including publication in the Rubery Anthology ISBN:978-0955425240

* ‘Four months’ published in Sentinel magazine, Champions #10, ISSN:2045-2233

Keywords: prison architecture, spatial justice, creative writing


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