Political Solidarity: Border Control and Incarceration

Venue: Birkbeck, University of London. Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD
Booking details: Free entry; booking required

Political Solidarity: Border Control and Incarceration

This workshop will explore questions around different understandings and enactments of political solidarity across different locations. The panel will make clear reference to today’s political configurations in the UK, as well as other parts of the Global North such as Spain, Canada and Australia. In the larger context of political shifts to the right, accompanied by the politics of austerity, the dismantling of the welfare state, further privatization and increased suspicion towards minoritised social groups, this panel will discuss solidarity pedagogies and activism by critically thinking through relationality and separation. Alongside a focus on geopolitical borders the panel will examine how solidarity happens across other kinds of physical borders such as prison walls. At a time of stricter border control practices and heightened incarceration we decided to concentrate specifically on solidarity work with refugees and prisoners. Some central questions the panel will raise include: When/how does solidarity work at its best? How do commonalities and differences feature in the expression of solidarity? If solidarity is understood and enacted predominantly through humanitarian sentiments do we reach a political deadlock?


  • Calogero Giametta Visiting Research Fellow, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Sarah Lamble , School of Law, Birkbeck
  • Sarah Keenan, School of Law, Birkbeck
  • Carla Mirallas, Barcelona Bar Association

Free event: Book your place

This workshop is the final event that Calogero Giametta will organise in the context of his visiting research fellowship at the BIH.

Suggested reading:

  • Chandra, T. Mohanty (2003) “Under Western Eyes” Revisited: Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles in Signs, Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 28, no. 2.

About the speakers:

Calogero Giametta research to date has examined the lived experiences of gender and sexual minority refugees and on the discourses linking the politics of sexuality and the refugee granting process in the UK. He was a sociology post-doctoral fellow at Aix-Marseille Université (between 2014 and 2016) within the research project Embodied Borders: Problematising Sexual Humanitarianism. Currently he is Visiting Research Fellow at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London.

Sarah Lamble teaches and researches Criminology in the School of Law, Birkbeck. Sarah’s work addresses issues of gender, sexuality and criminal justice, with a current focus on grassroots community engagements with transformative justice in Canada, the US and UK.  Sarah is co-editor of the Routledge Social Justice Book Series, a member of the Reclaim Justice Network, and cofounder of the Bent Bars Project, a collective which coordinates a letter-writing programme for LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming prisoners in Britain.

Sarah Keenan teaches and researches Law at Birkbeck and an anti-racist writer and activist in London. She completed her BA/LLB(Hons) at the Australian National University and her PhD at the University of Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality. She has worked as the associate for Justice Margaret Wilson of the Supreme Court of Queensland and as a solicitor at Prisoners' Legal Service before coming to academia.

Carla Mirallas is a lawyer from the Barcelona Bar Association. She completed her Law Degree at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) and she holds a LL.M in Human Rights from Birkbeck University. Her academic research examines the possibilities of solidarity in the context of the work performed by activist lawyers regarding the criminalisation of protest in Spain. She has worked as a solicitor in Spain and as a legal caseworker at Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). She is also a legal observer for the Green and Black Cross.

The Birkeck Institute for the Humanities stimulates research, public debate and collaboration among academics and intellectuals on important issues of our time. Key to its remit is the promotion of new ideas and forms of understanding in the humanities.

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