Preliminary Programme


Friday 26th April 2013

16.30                Registration in the Brunei Gallery entrance

17.00                Welcome in the Brunei Gallery

17.15                Keynote: Dr Parvathi Raman Brunei Gallery

  • The historical and current context to Immigration Detention in the UK.

17.45                Keynote: Dr Liza Schuster Brunei Gallery

  • Re-conceptualising the terms of the debate surrounding Immigration Control and Detention.

18.30                Wine and networking in the Brunei Suite 

19.00 – 21.00    A variety of performances in the Brunei Suite.

  • Presentation by Music in Detention’s Hillingdon Community Group
  • Poets: Anthony Anaxagorou, Handsen Chikowore, Ali Abdolrezaei and Hasani hosted by Stephanie Dogfoot 


Saturday 27th April 2013

9.30                        Keynote: Jerome Phelps in Lecture Theatre G2

  • What does ‘alternatives’ to immigration detention mean in practice? Considering examples from the UK and internationally.

10.15                      Panel Discussion: Chaired by Dr Paolo Novak in Lecture Theatre G2

  • What are the arguments for working towards an end to immigration detention?
  1. Social – Stephen Ssentongo (Former Detainee)
  2. Legal – Alison Pickup (Barrister from Doughty Street Chambers)
  3. Medical – Dr. Frank Arnold
  4. Economic –  Meena Venkatachalam (Senior Health Economist Matrix Knowledge)

11.45                      Break for Tea in Room G3

12.00                      Panel Debate: Chaired by Dr Nick Gill in Lecture Theatre G2

  • What are the strategic opportunities and risks of advocating for ‘alternatives’ to detention?

  • Adeline Trude from Bail for Immigration Detainees (BiD), Jerome Phelps from Detention Action (DA) and Lisa Matthews from the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC). Questions to be addressed are:

  1. Should we be promoting existing ‘alternatives’ such as bail, or case management programmes involving engagement with migrants?
  2. Does calling for ‘alternatives’ conflict with principled opposition to border control?
  3. Should ‘alternatives’ involve discussion of assisted return?
  4. Will ‘alternatives’ to Detention inevitably be co-opted?

13.30                      Lunch Break in Room G3

14.30                      Group Workshops:

  • How are organisations, groups and individuals already working towards an end to immigration detention?
    1. National Campaigns – STAR Room 273
    2. Legal Challenges – Solange Valdez from Sutovic & Hartigan Solicitors Room G51
    3. Research – Dr Nick Gill  Room G50
    4. Direct Case Work Support Groups –  Iqvinder Malhi from Bail for Immigration Detainees Room G3
    5. Visiting – SOAS Detainee Support (SDS) Room L67
    6. Community Campaigns – Movement for Justice Room 279

(The idea is to have six different sessions running simultaneously, of which one can choose to attend two. The aim of this is to understand what sort of forms of ‘positive action’ against detention are already happening and how we can try to support one another, as individuals or organizations, in these endeavors)

16.30 – 17.00            Closing Ceremony



Adeline Trude is Research & Policy Manager at Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), an independent charity that exists to challenge immigration detention in the UK.  BID works with asylum seekers and migrants, in removal centres and prisons across the UK, to secure their release from detention through legal casework, alongside research and policy work to tackle systemic problems.  Adeline is responsible for BID’s work on access to justice and long term detention, including the crossover between criminal justice and immigration enforcement. She manages BID’s Travel Document Project, and co-founded the Mental Health in Immigration Detention Project with AVID.  She recently completed BID’s report ‘The Liberty Deficit: long-term detention and bail decision-making’.

Alison Pickup is a public law practitioner at Doughty Street Chambers with a wide ranging claimant practice, including in immigration and asylum, prison law, social welfare, and EU law. She also acts in civil claims for damages against public authorities, particularly unlawful detention and discrimination claims. In 2010, she was shortlisted for the Young Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group. Alison will be speaking on concerns of access to legal representation in immigration detention in the first Panel Discussion.

Ali Abdolrezaei (poet) began his professional poetic career in 1986 and became one of the most acclaimed poets of post Revolutionary Iran. He published nine volumes of his work inside Iran before heavy censorship made his work inside the countryimpossible. He was banned from teaching and public speaking, which forced him to go into exile in 2002.  Ali Abdolrezaei’s reputation as a poet spread in the early 1990s and received wide critical attention.

BID workshop: Iqvinder Malhi and Adeline Trude will explain BID’s three part legal casework – advocacy – litigation approach to achieving change in immigration detention in the UK.  They will focus particularly on BID’s legal casework, delivered with the essential support of volunteer caseworkers and pro bono barristers, and our self-help work with detainees.

Dr Frank Arnold is an independent doctor who works with Medact and the Helen Bamber Foundation. As a founding member of the Medical Justice Network he has been highlighting the problems of inadequate health care provisions in detention for many years, having dealt with over 500 cases of asylum seekers personally and contributed to several reports. In the Panel Discussion he will bringing his extensive expertise on Health in Detention to argue against it.

immigration detention.Iqvinder Malhi trained as a barrister.  She is a Legal Manager at Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). Her work involves legal representation for bail and temporary admission applications on behalf of long term detainees, vulnerable detainees, and those with mental health issues.  Iqvinder also runs BID’s bail workshops in a number of immigration removal centres, and supervises legal casework volunteers.  Iqvinder previously worked in the Family Legal Team at BID on the issue of families separated by detention, and on the research recently published as ‘Fractured Childhoods: the separation of migrant families’.

Jerome Phelps has been working with people in immigration detention since 2003.  Initially the only staff member, he has led Detention Action to take on a national role in challenging immigration detention.  He has written or co-written Detention Action’s three influential reports on indefinite detention and the Detained Fast Track asylum process.  Jerome has written on detention issues for various publications and websites.  He is the Western Europe representative of the International Detention Coalition.  The IDC advocates for  the human rights of detainees, including seeking alternatives to immigration detention. In his keynote he will discuss what alternatives to detention can mean in practice on the basis of his involvement with IDC and other projects he has visited. In the Panel Debate he will argue for alternatives from the perspective of his organisation, Detention Action.

Lisa Matthews works as the campaigns coordinator for the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) in London. Founded in 1995, NCADC is a national human rights organisation which supports community-led campaigns for justice in the asylum and immigration system. Her organisation has stood for ideas of ‘FreeMovement’ for years, a view she will represent during the Panel Debate.

Dr Liza Schuster is a lecturer at City University London. In her previous work she has offered critiques of access to the EU, British, French and Greek asylum systems, and developed a focus on the impact of deportations. She is currently funded by a one year Leverhulme Fellowship and has just returned from six months fieldwork in Afghanistan. For the rest of her Fellowship, she is based at CERI, Sciences Po, Paris. During her keynote she will use her academic perspective to provide us with a vision of how we could view migration in alternative terms.

Movement for Justice is a grassroots organisation building an independent, integrated mass, youth and student led civil rights and immigrant movement. They have been trying to build a movement that fights detention from the inside-out. They do so by organising detainees to fight collectively as part of a national movement, supporting their fights for their cases, organizing demonstrations, attending court hearings, getting media-attention and organising ‘UKBA on Trial’ events where former detainees testify on the systematic racism and injustice. In their workshop they will be talking about their methods and their experiences of supporting the mass demonstration lead by MFJ women in Yarls Wood in October 2012, and publicising the death of one of their members at the hands of ‘Reliance’.

Music In Detention works with immigration detainees, bringing them together with professional musicians and local communities to share, create and enjoy music, enabling often-ignored voices to be heard in new ways. In October, we partnered with The Challenge, a youth focussed NGO with a mission to build stronger local communities and to connect local people though common projects. Together we ran a project for a group of sixth formers in Hillingdon to write and record music with detainees in Haslar IRC.

Dr. Nick Gill is a senior lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Exeter. He has done research with asylum sector decision makers, movement of detained asylum seekers in Britain and notions of ‘No Borders’. Together with other academics he is hosting a series of workshops which aims to raise awareness of immigration detainees and create momentum in terms of research on the topic During the conference he will bring his own experiences of research and knowledge of migration in the UK to facilitate a workshop and the panel debate.

Dr Parvathi Raman is a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology and the Chair for the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Having previously written on the historical construction of ‘Indianness’ in South Africa she is currently researching changing ideas of the ‘nation’ in Britain in
relation to migrant populations. At SOAS she teaches several courses on migration including ‘The Anthropology of African and Asian Communities in British Society’. During her keynote she will be taking her critical, anthropological approach to consider immigration control in Britain from a historical perspective.

Dr Paolo Novak is a lecturer in Development Studies at SOAS. Paolo conducted his PhD field research in Pakistan, where he studied processes of institutional change in the protection and assistance regime for Afghan refugees. His current research focuses on the notion of transnationality, with particular emphasis on: migration, refugee regime, borders, NGOs. He has a special interest in immigration detention in its different varieties and shapes across the worlds.

Student Action for Refugees (STAR) is the national network of student groups working to improve the lives of refugees in the UK by promoting positive images of refugees, volunteering for local refugee projects and campaigning for refugees. STAR student groups are independently constituted student union societies, based at universities all over the countries. They are currently working with Detention Action to campaign against the system of Detained Fast Track (DFT). In their workshop they will be talking about STAR as an organisation, their upcoming campaigns and how their national campaigns efforts are trying to address detention.

Solange Valdez is an Immigration Solicitor at Sutovic & Hartigan Solicitors. She currently had two important cases surrounding Detained Fast Track at the High Court and Court of Appeal at the moment. In her workshop Solange will be considering how detention can be challenged through legal means. She will talk about her experiences in this regard and the legal profession in relation to immigration detention more broadly.

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