The Artistic ‘Touch’: Moving Beyond Carceral Boundaries Through Art by Offenders

  • Jennifer TurnerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


Highlighting the 2011 Koestler Award ‘Art by Offenders’ Exhibition, Turner demonstrates how prisoners may interact with the world outside of prison, despite their incarceration. Drawing on a range of prisoner artwork, Turner argues that prisoners producing art and ‘outsiders’ interacting with it has a number of important purposes. In the sale of artwork, prisoners contribute to a system of production and economic exchange. Furthermore, as well as generating their own income, the celebration of these pieces through specific awards helps in the self-production of creative individuals legitimised in the arts community and wider society. Finally, Turner draws on literatures of ‘touch’ and hapticality to consider how production and consumption of this artwork may enhance prisoners’ ability to ‘touch’ the world outside of prison.



I would like to extend my thanks to Fiona Curran, Director of Arts at the Koestler Trust who dedicated much time and effort to contacting artists and gaining permissions in relation to the artwork used in this chapter. My thanks also go to the anonymous reviewer and collection editors for their helpful suggestions in strengthening this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lecturer in Human GeographyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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