Guest Blog: Behind the Work of Music in Detention

In this blog post, Music in Detention talks about the work and music they create in Immigration Removal Centres with detainees.

Music in Detention Long Table Discussion arrives at CPT on Thursday November 1 as part of No Direction Home. Click here for more information.

In the UK there are currently 9 functioning Immigration Removal Centres. About 30 000 people are detained in them every year with around 2500 held at any one time. Over 50% of these people are not then deported. No one knows how long they will be detained for, the UK is the only country in Europe practicing indefinite detention, some people have been detained for up to 5 years.

These murky, reticent spaces are navigated by stateless and paperless people, many of whom have come from traumatic environments, compounded by hazardous journeys across the world. Others have lived in the UK for years and years, have families living here, paid taxes and contributed to rebuilding post World War 2 Britain.

Music in Detention goes into Immigration Removal Centres with artists to make sound tracks with detainees. These tracks usually comprise fusions of music from across the world and are often intensely personal, with stark lyrics referring to participants’ life experiences, sometimes wistful and creative and sometimes humorous. Tracks are recorded onto CD and profiled on Music in Detention’s website. These are voices coming from some of the most hidden places in the UK.

On Thursday 1st November, Music In Detention and artist Lois Weaver are hosting a Long Table Discussion, where people from different backgrounds will come together to talk about how the arts can further platform these hidden voices and how the arts can create an environment of radical hospitality as opposed to hostility. A Long Table is a format developed by Lois Weaver and is a public space where people come together to have conversations about important topics. This will be followed by a set from DJ Mighty Laous, including tracks recorded in UK Immigration Removal Centres.

This special public event is part is part of Camden People’s Theatre’s No Direction Home season.

Thursday 1st November at 7.30 pm @ Camden People’s Theatre.

Book here (Pay what you can).

Supported by Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for Public Engagement