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Speakers biography

Gavin Slade is Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. His most recently completed project was a comparative study of prison gangs under conditions of reform in the former Soviet Union - Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. The results of this have been published in the British Journal of Criminology, Theoretical Criminology and the European Journal of Criminology. He is a Co-I on a current project ( which concerns societal and elite attitudes, perceptions and cultural consumption of prisons in the former Soviet Union, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK.


Laura Piacentini FRSE joined the Strathclyde Law School in 2006 as Senior Lecturer becoming Reader in Criminology in 2007 and Professor of Criminology in 2013. In January 2016, she transferred to the School of Social Work and Social Policy. She is a sociologist engaged in multi-disciplinary research that cinldues fields such as human geography, political science, law and criminology. She has been researching and publishing in the area of contemporary Russian imprisonment for nearly twenty-five years, having lived and conducted research in some numerous prisons. A Russian speaker, she is the first Westerner to conduct empirical and theoretical research in post-USSR jails. Her doctorate was the first research council funded PhD on incarceration in contemporary Russia. She completed the first major study into women’s imprisonment in Russia in 2011, funded by the ESRC (with Professor Judith Pallot (Oxford) and Dr Dominique Moran (Birmingham). Laura is Principal Investigator on a new Leverhulme study on rights consciousness amongst Russian prisoners with Dr Elena Katz at the University of Oxford. She is Adjunct Professor at the Law faculty, Queensland Institute of Technology, Australia, and was Research Associate at the Centre for Criminology, The University of Oxford (2006-2010). In 2014, Professor Piacentini was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and appointed Fellow at "AcadmiaNet" for leading European Women Scholars, established by Angela Merkel the Chancellor of Germany