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Writing from the Shadows

This animation explores what writing and publishing can mean for people in prison.

In this animation, imprisoned people and cultural activists from Mexico and the UK reflect on the positive effects of writing and publishing in and beyond prison.

As their poetry shows, creative expression gives people a highly personal means to tell their own stories, construct new senses of self, and leave a legacy that speaks across walls and borders. The film comes out of an action research project which supports grassroots organisations in Mexico, with long traditions of working with prisoners and marginalised people, and brings Latin American community practices like cardboard (cartonera) publishing to UK prisons for the first time.

The film is based on the work of the Hermanas en la Sombra, Viento Cartonero y La Rueda Cartonera and the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research of Lucy Bell of the University of Surrey and Joey Whitfield of Cardiff University.

Animation by Sophie Marsh.

A Calling the Shots production for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, supported by BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine.

Release date:

7 minutes