15th November 2012

Working Spaces, Punishing Spaces: The Meaning and Construction of Place through Criminological Research

Photographer Jenny Wicks has completed a nine month residency studying the work of criminologists at The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, Glasgow University. The residency has resulted in an interactive multi-media installation incorporating audio, fine art photography and object sculpture. The work will be exhibited inside HMP Barlinnie from 7 November 2012 then move to three other Scottish prisons in early 2013, culminating in the installation’s public showing 27 February – 3 March 2013 at The Briggait Gallery, Glasgow


Depictions of crime, and crime science, in popular culture represent the criminologist’s world through a narrow and increasingly hackneyed set of spaces – the crime lab and courtroom offering two examples. In this artistic-academic collaboration, photographer Jenny Wicks will be in residence at the Glasgow University site of SCCJR for ten months (February – November 2012).

As an artist her focus will be at one remove, aiming to bring into view the researcher rather than the sometimes sensational topics of their study. Placing the criminologist at the scene of the crime allows for the exploration of key boundaries: between innocent and guilty, researcher and researched, us and them, and how researchers’ use of criminological spaces resists and reproduces social hierarchies. This juxtaposes and blurs the separation of the mundane and the sensational, and reveals the details that give specific meaning to spaces – such as offices, prisons – which are otherwise characterised by their anonymity. Space and its arrangement is fundamental to social order and meaning, and this is amplified in the field of criminology where control is achieved and legality defined literally through the organisation of space. By tracing the activities of researchers through photography and soundscapes, the project has the potential to expose how the activity of studying crime and justice participates in giving meaning to these concepts.

At the same time, one aim of this project is to develop the artist’s practice through a high quality residency involving unique access to an area of public interest. A blog will document the project throughout, and the residency will culminate in an installation in November 2012. The artist is based at Glasgow University, but researchers throughout the SCCJR would be welcome to participate and contribute to this project.

For more information, contact Sarah Armstrong (sarah.armstrong@glasgow.ac.uk).

For information about the artist, see: http://www.jennywicksphotography.co.uk/

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions

Related Projects

January 2012

Punishing Spaces, Working Spaces: Artist in Residence at SCCJR

In this Leverhulme Trust funded residency (February – November 2012), photographer Jenny Wicks was in residence at SCCJR for ten […]