This archive includes a range of material culture produced by and about detention.
It currently houses several thousand pages of bureaucratic documents and 30 letters, 3000 photographs, 400 drawings and over 70 other art works and materials gathered during fieldwork and art workshops. Items produced in detention can be interpreted in many ways
and can contribute evidence to research on mental health, effects of uncertainty, trauma, reasons for migrating to England, colonial legacies, art therapy, roles of gender and race, language, bureaucracy, paternalism and abuses of power. These are expressed in self-portraiture, landscapes, fantasy and fiction, documentary photographs, poems, sculptures, letters, drawings of detention cells, sound recordings, videos, music CDs, detainee letters, life histories, cookbooks, copies of official regulations, and other documentation
. In their physicality, these documents make real the detention experience, reminding us of the people working and living in these places. The archive is a digital and physical collection at Oxford that anyone can make an appointment to visit.
The 10 minute film ‘Artists in Residence’ gives an introduction to the material in the archive.