Conference on Universities in Prison: Empowering? Linking? Making?

9.30-17.15 (conference, Eric Lidell Centre)

17.30-19.20 (reception and film screening, Screen Academy Scotland)

University-prison partnership is a growing area of activity in the UK, the US and beyond. This conference is the inaugural event of the Scottish Universities-Prisons Network, and it offers a chance to learn about the activities happening in Scotland and to explore issues surrounding this. Why do universities, their staff and students pursue this work? What are some of the practical and ethical challenges? How are people in prison and prison staff involved in it and with what impacts?

This conference is for anyone involved or interested in university-prison engagement. The event is now SOLD OUT, but tickets are available for the evening reception and screening.

PROGRAMME: Empowering, Linking, Making?

9.30-9.45         ARRIVAL/REGISTRATION  (Coffee and Tea)


Sarah Armstrong (University of Glasgow, SUPN and SPARC)

Paula Harriott (Prison Reform Trust, Head, Prisoner Engagement)

10.30-11.30     PECHAKUCHA SESSION

Chair: Anne Schwan (Edinburgh Napier University)

Mary Bovill (University of Edinburgh) Philosophy in Prison

Cara Jardine (Strathclyde University and SPARC) and Rachel Ferguson (Glasgow University), Barlinnie Reading Groups

Mary-Ann Kennedy (Edinburgh Napier University), Photography Students

Calum McAndrew (St Andrews University) and Kirsty Ross (Strathclyde University) Cellblock Science

Stephanie Morrison (Robert Gordons University) hospice programmes in HMP Grampian/Aberdeen

Rosie Reynolds (Prisoners Education Trust) Academic Networks

Jess Thorpe (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) Arts and Justice

11.30-11.45     BREAK

11.45-1 pm     PANEL: EMPOWERING? The potential and limits of universities as facilitators of empowerment in prison settings and beyond

Chair: Mog Stapleton (University of Edinburgh)

John McGhee (Dundee University/SPARC) and Victoria Guthrie (Edinburgh University/SPARC)

Katrina Morrison (Edinburgh Napier University) HMP Edinburgh women’s reading group

James Reilly (Open University/SPARC) OU education and beyond

Kirstine Szifris (Manchester Metropolitan University) Philosophy in prison

1.00-2.00         LUNCH  (Finger foods available)

View displays and follow up with Pechakucha speakers

2.00-3.15         PANEL: LINKING? Exploring connections between different forms, models and philosophies of education in prison

Chair: Audrey Mitchell (Fife College)

Kirstin Anderson (University of the West of Scotland) Reading groups in HMP Shotts

Morwenna Bennalick (Westminster University) Researching Education in Prison

Sarah Galloway (University of Stirling) Theories of Education, Theories of Desistance?

Viki Soper (Open University) Progression for education in secure conditions

Mhairi Stewart (St Andrews University) Cellblock Science

3.15-3.35         BREAK

3.35-4.45         PANEL: MAKING? Reflecting on the ethics, logistics and potential of creative arts and co-productive work in prisons

Chair: Scott McMillan (Dundee University/SPARC)

Charles Cockell (University of Edinburgh) Mars project

Paul Gray and Anne Schwan (both Edinburgh Napier University) representing women in prison

Phil Thomas and Lucy Cathcart Frödén (both Glasgow University) Distant Voices

Jess Thorpe (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) Making MOTION in HMPYOI Polmont for Year of Young Person 2018


Jim King (Head of Learning and Skills, Scottish Prison Service) Reflecting on the value and challenges of university-prison partnerships

Anne Schwan & Sarah Armstrong Next steps for the Scottish UP Network

5.30-7.30         RECEPTION/SCREENING (Screen Academy Scotland)

Film Screening (On the Outside, dir. Paul Gray)

The conference is organised by the Scottish UP Network and made possible by support from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research,  Edinburgh Napier University, University of Edinburgh School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, and the SPECS (Synthesising Pragmatism, Education and Cognitive Science) project, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The main conference is now sold out but tickets for the free evening reception and film screening are still available via Eventbrite: