The conference programme is out!
We look forward to seeing all the delegates there, and if you can’t make it, we’re sure to be on Twitter…
The conference programme is out!
We look forward to seeing all the delegates there, and if you can’t make it, we’re sure to be on Twitter…
Juvenile Justice in Europe: Past, Present and Future
University of Liverpool, 26-27 May 2016
The conference/symposium is being organized and hosted by the International Criminological Research Unit (ICRU) at the University of Liverpool in association with the British Society of Criminology (Youth Criminology/Youth Justice Network – BSC YC/YJN) and the European Society of Criminology (Thematic Working Group on Juvenile Justice – ESC TWGJJ).
It will address a range of pressing questions relating to the historical origins, contemporary manifestations and future prospects for juvenile justice at a time when Europe is witnessing major social, economic and political challenges and transformations.
2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the first major inquiry into ‘juvenile delinquency’. How has the history of juvenile justice evolved across Europe and how might the past help us to understand the present and signal the future?
What do we know about contemporary juvenile crime trends in Europe and how are nation states responding? Is punitiveness and intolerance eclipsing child welfare and pedagogical imperatives, or is ‘child friendly justice’ holding firm? How might we best understand both the convergent and the divergent patterning of juvenile justice in a changing and reformulating Europe? What impacts are sweeping austerity measures, together with increasing mobilities and migrations, imposing?
What might the future hold for juvenile justice in Europe? How might researchers, policymakers and practitioners shape the future?
It is a crucial time for juvenile justice in Europe and the conference/symposium will comprise a series of plenary presentations delivered by some of Europe’s leading researchers in their respective fields. It will also facilitate ample opportunities for discussion, debate and delegate participation in order to address such questions alongside other past, present and future challenges.
Further details can be found here
This post describes a project that myself and a colleague from the Architecture department at the University of Liverpool, Dr Nick Webb, are currently working on–Building Bentham’s Panopticon– which is creating a 3D model of the Panopticon prison viewed through virtual reality software, Oculus Rift.
Bentham’s Panopticon was imagined as the ‘ideal’ prison; it was designed as a circular building with prisoners’ cells arranged around the outer wall and dominated by an inspection tower. From the tower the prison inspector would be able to gaze upon the prisoners at all times. The central inspection principle, Bentham argued, would result in ‘morals reformed, health preserved, industry invigorated, instruction diffused, public burdens lightened…all by a simple idea in architecture’ (Bentham, 1787).
Due to its escalating cost, his designs were never put in to practice. But the recent digitization of Bentham’s plans by Transcribe Bentham, alongside advances in virtual reality software, means that we now have the opportunity to digitally construct the Panopticon and venture inside.
This small element of the wider Digital Panopticon project seeks to explore how we can use digital technology to examine and recreate alternative ways of seeing and experiencing, in a particular space and place-the Panopticon prison- had it been built. Through the use of 3D modelling and virtual reality technology, we can recreate the perspective, positioning and movements- through sight lines, walking routes, and height and weight records- of the gaolers and prisoners who could have potentially been imprisoned within the walls of the Panopticon.
In doing so, this project takes its inspiration from Tim Hitchcock, who is currently modelling the Old Bailey courtroom, and contends that by, ‘building something in three dimensions, with space, physical form and performance, along with new forms of analysis of text; can change how we understand the experience of imprisonment; allow a more fully empathetic engagement with offenders; along with a better understanding of how their experience impacted on the exercise of power and authority’.
Building Bentham’s Panopticon rests upon two lines of enquiry. Firstly, it seeks to rebuild and re-examine the idealized construction of prison discipline at its most ideological- to examine the beginning of the separate, silent system and the development of modern prison reform through architecture. But it also seeks to contribute to a history from below and examine how, by adding in height and weight records of offenders, we can rebuild the perspectives, movements, and thereby explore the potential for transgression that could have occurred within a prison like the Panopticon.
We are about halfway through our research, and are yet to add in biometric data of prisoners taken from the Digital Panopticon project. Yet, in building the model using SketchUp, we have already begun to discover important findings.
The use of 3D modelling has been essential to visualising Bentham’s process and building the interior of the Panopticon. Bentham’s plans, letters and writings about the Panopticon represent a conversation- between himself, architects, managers, and politicians- that include a series of changes to the design of the building and its regime. We are very early on in our findings, but constructing the Panopticon using 3D software, SketchUp, has demonstrated the significance of using this technology to investigate different lines of historical enquiry. Bentham’s never completed the design for the Panopticon, and the debate continued from the 1780s to 1820s. However, plans exist from 1787 and 1791 and these designs are the source from which we have built the 3D models. However, the interior was never fully decided upon due to conflicts between, amongst others, Bentham, John Howard, and William Pitt the Younger.As Nick Webb has argued previously, ‘This is important, as inferences have to be made due to representational source data such as architectural drawings almost always being incomplete’. Therefore, it is necessary to delve in to primary and secondary resources to explore the context, and fill in the gaps in an informed way. For example, Bentham initially wanted the Panopticon to be made out of glass and cast iron. ‘Architecturally’, according to Janet Semple, ‘the Panopticon foreshadows Paxton’s Crystal Palace rather than Pentonville’. However, despite technological innovation in glass manufacture in the late eighteenth century, the building materials were never decided upon, so Nick and I decided to use London stock brick as this was the most commonly used material in London at the close of the eighteenth century.
The models take the form of an idealised, architectural plan, and our current focus is to examine how a series of changes and compromises in the design, seen through the application of 3D modelling, demonstrate the political ideas behind the introduction of the separate, silent system and solitary confinement, but also the relative positions and viewpoints of the different historical actors, in this case, the gaoler, chaplain, and inmates.
What currently interests us at the moment is lines of vision and mobilities as, for Bentham and Foucault, panopticism as a principle is about the power of the gaze- of observation, regulation and power. But I would argue that Foucault and Bentham both had simplistic arguments when it comes to this aspect. In terms of sight lines, or what people can see when stood or walking through a particular point in space, this study builds upon the work of Philip Steadman (UCL). Steadman sketched out two dimensional axonometric drawings of the Panopticon, but with the use of 3D, we are able to build the interior of the Panopticon and therefore provide a space in which the viewer can walk around the prison and inhabit the potential routes of the gaolers, chaplain, and offenders. Steadman draws upon architectural research to plot the totality of what can be seen from a fixed position- also known as an ‘isovist’. (Steadman, 2012: 16).
In Steadman’s image here, you’ll see that the shaded area shows the warder’s isovist. The warder must circulate continuously to watch all the prisoners on his floor. But Steadman’s method, while highlighting the problems in Bentham’s design, is set from a fixed point. Our study builds on this in two crucial ways: firstly, we are able, through the use of Oculus Rift and Virtual Reality Software, to recreate the viewpoints and sight perspective of the gaoler, chaplain, visitors, and offenders, and secondly, we are able to move beyond fixed isovist points to follow the potential mobilities of both gaoler and offender had they been incarcerated in the Panopticon.
So Bentham designed the process of observation to be one way; that is, that the governor, gaolers, other prison staff, and prison visitors to be able to observe the convicts, but that the convicts could only look upon the inspectors gallery. This was, in essence, the central inspection principle. The idea was that every prisoner should be under constant apprehension that he might be observed, night and day, even if no-one was actually looking in his direction at that very moment. He would thus be constantly fearful of being discovered in any misdemeanour.
The Panopticon was a disciplinary technique for making a new social individual; a social laboratory where new subjects were made. Under Bentham’s design, the inmate doesn’t know when they are being watched, and assumes that they are under surveillance at any time. Therefore the prisoner is the subject of observation and power – and this is power through observation. By learning to internalize system of discipline, to watch himself or herself, the Panopticon, theoretically at least, aimed to produce reform through the regulation of the self. The aim of this kind of discipline was, according to Foucault, to turn inmates into quiet, orderly, tractable, malleable subjects or what he provocatively calls ‘Docile Bodies’. As Foucault stated, ‘solitude is the primary condition of total submission’ (Foucault, 1975: 237). Each individual, in his place, is securely confined to a cell from which he is seen from the front by the supervisor; but the side walls prevent him from coming into contact with his companions.
He is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication (Foucault, 1975: 201).The prisoner is therefore, the object of power rather than an agent of power – ‘the object of information’ – never a ‘subject in communication’.
And it is this very notion- the power of the gaze and the power relations that manifest through looking- that Building Bentham’s Panopticon seeks to investigate. The use of 3D and Virtual Reality technology, allows us to put Foucault’s theory, and Bentham’s designs, to the test.
NB Please note that the models are incomplete at present, so may contain errors and inconsistencies. T. Hitchcock, ‘Voices of Authority: Towards a history from below in patchwork’, https://blog.digitalpanopticon.org/?cat=25 [Accessed 22 April 2016].  J. Semple (1993), Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford University Press: Oxford).  N. Webb & A. Brown (2016). Digital re-analysis of lost architecture and the particular case of Lutyens׳ Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Frontiers of Architectural Research.  J. Semple (1993), Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford University Press: Oxford), pp. 116-117.
A one-day conference in September which is being organised by Cerian Griffiths in conjunction with the Digital Panopticon project.
Date: 2nd September 2016 (deadline for abstracts: 30 June 2016)
Location: London Campus of the University of Liverpool
This one-day symposium will bring together academics, regulators, and legal practitioners to better understand the changing faces of financial crime and explore innovative approaches to tackling financial misconduct.
The symposium will focus upon a wide range of financial crimes and wider issues of financial practice that have come under public scrutiny in recent years. There shall be a particular focus upon historical financial crime, and the lessons which can be learned from the treatment of financial misconduct historically. Seldom do academics and practitioners have the opportunity to come together and discuss the issues surrounding financial crime in a wider historical context. This event provides a rare opportunity for discussion into the origins of financial crime and how these still impact upon the contemporary regulation and prosecution of financial crime.
Contributions are welcome from regulators, legal practitioners and academics from across disciplines. Papers on the following themes would be particularly welcome:
- Financial crime and the 19th century development of the company
- Victims of financial crime
- The relationship between financial crime and financial misconduct
- Regulators of financial crime
- Financial crime and globalisation
- Financial crime and moral economy
- Problems facing the prosecution of financial crime
- Modern variations of financial crime
Papers that focus upon either historical and/or contemporary analyses are welcome, particularly those that draw parallels between historical and modern-day themes.
Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 June 2016.
The workshop was immensely enjoyable and stimulating and we’d like to thank all the speakers and attendants for making it so. We hope to bring a fuller workshop report in the near future, but in the meantime the workshop presenters have made the slides of their presentations available for those interested to download. (The Mulcahy/Rowden slides are not yet available but will be added if we get them.)
The use of 3D computer graphics and modelling techniques in the study of the ancient world has been mainly limited to the display of traditional research. Often, their value has been assessed merely on aesthetic quality. Behind every scholarly 3D visualisation is a thorough study of excavation records, iconographic documentation, literary sources, artistic canons. However, this research is not always detectable in the final outcome, and 3D visualisations do not seem able to meet the standards of scientific method (reproducibility) and academic publishing (references and peer-review)…
When the sessions house at the Old Bailey was rebuilt in the 1770s, a traditional open courtroom was transformed in to a fully enclosed space, with a new and complex internal layout. The relative positions of the judge, jury, defendants and witnesses where substantially reconfigured. This presentation represents a preliminary attempt to capture the significance of that transition in sound: to explore how the different actors in the legal drama of a trial heard, both their own voice, and that of other participants…
This presentation will discuss the use of digital techniques to analyse significant works of architecture, whether they exist, are destroyed or are not built at all. A methodology is introduced for future research employing digital tools in this context. Examples will show how the process augments research already undertaken by architectural historians, who provide traditional critique and analysis, by testing such studies further using a range of contemporary digital techniques…
Tuesday 20th October, Sussex Humanities Lab, Silverstone Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9SH. Campus Map
Registration: Please register via the Eventbrite page
9:30: Linda Mulcahy (LSE), and Emma Rowden (Sydney), Unicorns and Urinals: Why do modern courts look the way they do?
10:15: Valeria Vitale (King’s London), An Ontology for 3D Visualization in Cultural Heritage
11:00: – Coffee
11:20: Tim Hitchcock, Re-imagining the Voice of the Defendant at the Old Bailey.
11:50: Nick Webb (Liverpool), Analysing historic works of architecture using digital techniques.
Professor Linda Mulcahy (LSE), and Dr Emma Rowden (UTS Sydney): Unicorns and Urinals: Why do modern courts look the way they do?
In this paper we will explore the history of ideas about court design and why it is that contemporary English courts look the way they do. Drawing on the findings of a Leverhulme grant we will explore the principles and claims underpinning debate about how the different actors in the trial are positioned in the courtroom. In particular we are keen to identify the conditions of possibility that have made the form and content of the various centralised design guides produced since 1970 legitimate. We argue that in addition to concerns about how design facilitates due process the history of court design has been progressively fuelled by fears about lay users of the justice system.
Valeria Vitale (King’s College, London): An Ontology for 3D Visualization in Cultural Heritage
The use of 3D computer graphics and modelling techniques in the study of the ancient world has been mainly limited to the display of traditional research. Often, their value has been assessed merely on aesthetic quality. Behind every scholarly 3D visualisation is a thorough study of excavation records, iconographic documentation, literary sources, artistic canons. However, this research is not always detectable in the final outcome, and 3D visualisations do not seem able to meet the standards of scientific method (reproducibility) and academic publishing (references and peer-review)… More specifically, an ontology for 3D visualisation in cultural heritage could, in the first place, define and describe the components of the 3D model and their relationships. This would help rebuilding data and metadata if the visual component was not readable anymore, enhancing accessibility, sustainability and longevity of the information. Through a dedicated ontology, a researcher could also assess the degree of speculation involved in the creation of each 3D element and its relationship with sources and referents, thus presenting 3D visualisation as a scientific hypothesis and not an «exact reconstruction».
Tim Hitchcock (University of Sussex): Re-imagining the Voice of the Defendant at the Old Bailey
When the sessions house at the Old Bailey was rebuilt in the 1770s, a traditional open courtroom was transformed in to a fully enclosed space, with a new and complex internal layout. The relative positions of the judge, jury, defendants and witnesses where substantially reconfigured. This presentation represents a preliminary attempt to capture the significance of that transition in sound: to explore how the different actors in the legal drama of a trial heard, both their own voice, and that of other participants. By modelling the location of different speakers in the courtroom both before and after the rebuilding, and acknowledging the very different sense of space encountered in a room open to the elements, to one enclosed by four walls, this paper seeks to help recapture the eighteenth century experience of being tried and sentenced at the Old Bailey.
Nick Webb (University of Liverpool, School of Architecture): Analysing historic works of architecture using digital techniques
This presentation will discuss the use of digital techniques to analyse significant works of architecture, whether they exist, are destroyed or are not built at all. A methodology is introduced for future research employing digital tools in this context. Examples will show how the process augments research already undertaken by architectural historians, who provide traditional critique and analysis, by testing such studies further using a range of contemporary digital techniques. The findings demonstrate the significance of the process of constructing digital representations of architectural artefacts. This is important, as inferences have to be made due to representational source data such as architectural drawings almost always being incomplete. Therefore parallel study into the architect, their architecture and the contemporary context they worked within has to be investigated in order to fill in gaps in an informed way. The study of such primary and secondary source data may also reveal lines of enquiry that can be investigated using digital techniques. The key here is the advanced knowledge that digital tools bring compared to the critique of a work of architecture that was carried out in a pre-digital context.
We are very pleased to be able to announce details of the project’s third workshop, which will focus on historical 3D reconstruction and visualization and on the importance of the physical space of the courtroom in influencing and mediating experiences of justice. This is closely related to key strands in the project’s Voices of Authority research theme.
This half-day workshop addresses the ways in which historians can use 3D modelling to better understand and communicate the experience of standing trial in the past. Part of the Digital Panopticon research programme, speakers from history, digital humanities, architecture and the law will consider how the exploration of physical space is changing historical understandings of crime and the courts.
Tuesday 20 October, 9:00-13:00, Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton.
It is free of charge and anyone with an interest in the topic is welcome, but space may be limited, so please register in advance.
9:00 – Coffee
9:30 – Linda Mulcahy (LSE), and Emma Rowden (Sydney), Title to be confirmed.
10:15 – Valeria Vitale (King’s London), An Ontology for 3D Visualization in Cultural Heritage
11:00 – Coffee
11:20 – Tim Hitchcock, Re-imagining the Defendant’s Experience at the Old Bailey in 3D.
11:50 – Nick Webb (Liverpool), Title to be confirmed (sound and cathedrals).
Some of our readers may be interested in this talk by DP’s Tim Hitchcock and Juliet Lyon of the Prison Reform Trust, in London on 27 August.
Since the 18th century thousands of London’s population have lived behind bars. A myriad of terrifying gaols, lock ups, hulks, sponging houses and places of correction have been replaced by our contemporary institutions of […]
We are delighted to announce our call for papers for the project’s Australian conference! The deadline for submissions is 30 November. We particularly encourage proposals from postgraduates, early career researchers, independent researchers, family historians and public historians. (Also, although the CFP doesn’t mention such new-fangled things, if you’d like to present at a poster session or in an alternative format to the standard academic presentation, I’d urge you to get in touch, as early as possible, outlining your proposal.)
Submissions are invited for a conference to be held at the University of Tasmania, 22-24 June 2016 on the digital humanities and the history of prisons, the law, courts and convict transportation systems. The conference will address ways in which the increasing amounts of data generated by criminal justice systems available in digital form can be used to shed light on the past. An exciting aspect of the meeting is that it represents an opportunity to bring together researchers from four existing high profile collaborations:
Papers which address the theme of the conference from researchers not affiliated with these research teams are also encouraged, including research higher degree students and family historians. Submissions will be particularly welcome which explore the ways in which digital technologies can enhance research understandings in the following areas:
Email abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a 50 word biographical note to Jennifer.MacFarlane@utas.edu.au by 30 November 2015.
Download: Call for papers (pdf)
The second half of the workshop was devoted to work in progress from the Digital Panopticon –summaries of which have already appeared (or will soon be appearing) on this blog, so watch this space! As such, I’ll say less about these papers than those from Session 1.
Jamie McLaughlin presented some of the insights gained from our recent (and still very early) explorations in linking records of the trial and transportation of convicts in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century London. Uncertainty ‘plagues the records’, and Jamie discussed some of the ways in which we have tried to maximize the quality of the name matches made across the records, such as the use of spelling and date variances, creating control scenarios, and the use of variant lists over general algorithms, all ultimately with an eye on computational performance — an issue which we cannot simply disregard, however much our desire for ‘perfect’ matching techniques. In short, we need to find an optimal, complementary balance of automated and manual work, allowing computers and humans to each do what they’re good at — an ideal strategy reflected in the case of the ‘robot butler’.
Lucy Williams talked about her recent work in manually checking the automated linkage process undertaken by Jamie, particularly in identifying why good matches have failed to be made. One reason for this is simple name variance — variable spellings of the same surname are notoriously prevalent in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century records. Nor is the data from one record set (such as the Old Bailey Proceedings) carried over consistently to other records. But there is also the problem of “John Smith” — how do we prise apart and correctly link individuals tried at the same session of the Old Bailey who have the same name, spelled in exactly the same way? We can keep adding in information from other sources in order to try and verify these kind of multiple name matches, but that isn’t necessarily always the answer, particularly in terms of automated processes. Adding in all the John Smiths from the census, for instance, can simply lead to even more links. The crucial question for us then is, at what point do we draw a line under things and stop adding in contextual data?