Understanding British Portraits (UBP) and the Crime and Punishment Collections Network (CaP) are delighted to be collaborating to host this thought-provoking online session which will examine the display and interpretation of criminal justice portraiture.
The theme of criminal justice portraiture will cover the spectrum of the frequently replicated images of ‘mugshots’ held or displayed by police force museums or archives; images gathered during police work — for example surveillance photographs of the suffragettes; replications of mugshots employed for self-expression — see the National Portrait Gallery’s Peter Gary Tatchell, Queer Terrorist — or for commercial products; artistic interpretations such as Myra by Marcus Harvey; or ‘curated’ portraits of criminals such as Ronnie Kray drinking with Baron Boothby. The session will also look at the work of Koestler Arts and the self-portraits painted by their artists who have been, or are currently going through, the criminal justice system.
The following expert speakers will explore complex ethical challenges around curatorial interpretation, access, consent, agency, individual rights or legacy which may be raised in displaying such portraits:
- Corinne Brazier: Heritage Manager, West Midlands Police Museum
- Fiona Curran: director of arts, Koestler Arts; plus a Koestler artist
- Professor Helen Johnston: Professor of criminology, University of Hull; principal and co-investigator of Our Criminal Past / Our Criminal Ancestors
- Jackie Keily: Freelance curator; exhibition: the Crime Museum Uncovered
- Dr Kate West: Lecturer in visual criminology, Oxford Brookes University
The event has been programmed by Dr Angie Sutton-Vane, Chair of CaP and visiting fellow in the History Department at the Open University, and will be chaired by Dr Sutton-Vane in partnership with Professor Heather Shore, historian of crime and youth justice at Manchester Metropolitan University.