30th April 2019

A NEW graphic novel aims to bring life to a Scottish woman’s story of trauma, substance abuse and prison.

‘A Life in Pieces’ is the work of Dr Marguerite Schinkel, a lecturer in Sociology based at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow and illustrator Morag Kewell, and follows the story of ‘Alison’ as she experiences a number of traumatic events and is repeatedly imprisoned for drug and alcohol related offences.

Marguerite first met ‘Alison’ (not her real name) when she was carrying out a series of interviews for her research project ‘Lives Sentenced’ which examined how people gave meaning to repeatedly going to prison for short periods of time.

Speaking ahead of the graphic novel’s launch on Friday 10 May in Glasgow, Marguerite said: “Like so many other men and women I spoke to during my research, Alison had experienced a lot of trauma, had done things she regretted and had received a lot of punishment.

“During our interviews Alison described how many times throughout her life she had taken steps to move away from offending, but suffered setbacks and would turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. While she wants to change, prison has become so normal for her that it’s an easy place to live.”

Marguerite chose the unusual method of graphic novels to communicate her research because they confront the reader with the situations in which the characters find themselves in, often creating empathy. It offers a more engaging form of dissemination and the opportunity to reach a new audience: regular readers of graphic novels.

It is hoped the graphic novel, illustrated by Scottish Independent Comic Books Alliance Award-winning Morag Kewell, will make people reflect on the balance of trauma and offending in one person’s life.

My-sentence.com will also be launched at this event, as the idea for this website arose from the same research. It is a place for people to share the meanings of their sentence in whatever medium they choose.

The launch event on Friday 10 May at Glasgow’s Contemporary Centre for Arts (CCA) at 7-9pm will include short presentations by Dr Marguerite Schinkel and Morag Kewell followed by an audience Q&A, and there will be also be a chance to get close to and react to some of the artwork in the form of an exhibition. Refreshments will be provided.

Tickets are free but registration is essential via Eventbrite

A Life in Pieces is available to download from https://my-sentence.com/a-life-in-pieces/

Notes to Editors:

1. The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, based at the University of Glasgow, is a collaboration of several Scottish universities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde) that aims to produce research and develop researchers so as to better the development of policy, practice and public debate about crime and justice.
2. To find out more about Lives Sentenced please visit https://my-sentence.com/a-life-in-pieces/ 

Punishment, Citizenship and Communities

Violence, Drugs and Alcohol

Related Projects

October 2013

Lives Sentenced: Experiences of Repeated Punishment

There has been little research examining how those who are punished by the criminal justice system experience and give meaning […]