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POSTPONED Holloway: 'If the Walls Could Speak' (2022) A film by Amelia O'Loughlin POSTPONED

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

Due to the 25th being a UCU strike day we have had to postpone this event. We will be in touch with an alternate date shortly.

Holloway: 'If the Walls Could Speak'  (2022) A film by Amelia O'Loughlin

With 'Beauty out of Ashes' - The Holloway Women's Building story (2022)  - A mixed media animation by Niki Gibbs

Followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.


'Holloway Prison was once the largest women's prison in the UK. What will the future look like for those who called it home?'


HMP Holloway, London, the largest women's prison in Western Europe, closed in 2016, the result of the UK government's economically-driven decision to close inner-city prisons. Holloway had strong links with trauma-informed charity and third sector organisations that provided support to women incarcerated there. Since the closure, activists, artists, academics, filmmakers and community members have been campaigning to ensure that the support provided in the prison is replicated in the community. They have a collective vision for a Women's Building on the site of the former prison; a creative, therapeutic, anti-carceral, feminist space that addresses social issues and need outside of a carceral system.

If the Walls Could Speak, by Amelia O'Loughlin, asks vital questions about the efficacy of the prison system, the harms it inflicts and the possibilities of a future without it. It reflects on the future of the criminal justice system from inside the walls of HMP Holloway. Featuring interviews with local residents, activists, charity CEOs, and criminology and psychotherapy professionals, 'If the Walls Could Speak' reflects on HMP Holloway's closure and documents the campaign for a living legacy, one that will enable individuals and communities to flourish outside of the criminal justice system.

'Beauty out of Ashes' - The Holloway Women's Building Story, by artist and activist Niki Gibbs, produced by Blue Sunflower, is a short mixed media animation produced for the campaign for a visionary Women's Building on the site of the former Holloway Prison. Beauty out of Ashes is a collaborative production that tells the story of the women who have passed through HMP Holloway since it was built in 1852, through to the sale of the prison and the subsequent consultation. The campaign resulted in the formation of Beauty out of Ashes, which aims to establish the Women's Building, beyond the single floor currently allocated to it in the development plans.

The screening of the animation and the film will be followed by a Q&A and panel discussion, including some individuals featured in the film and members of Beauty Out Of Ashes.

This screening and discussion is a collaboration between  Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Freida Films, and Beauty Out Of Ashes. 

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