We make spaces and spaces make us: An exploration through creative writing of the relationship between literature and carceral spaces

Cathcart Froden, Martin (2019) We make spaces and spaces make us: An exploration through creative writing of the relationship between literature and carceral spaces. DFA thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

This thesis spanning creative writing, criminology and architecture examines some of the ways power and hierarchies can be explored and exploited in space. It is a practice-led study in two parts: one primarily critical (A Circular Argument) and the other primarily creative, in the form of a novel (The Out). The main focus of the critical piece is the obsession with the circular as an architectural gesture and as a concept combining containment and transparency, from the ideal planned city of the Middle Ages, via Bentham’s panopticon, to the all-seeing eye of modern digital society. The creative piece explores how the complications and surprises of human interaction are bound to colour and change the supposedly watertight systems of social control we design as a society – how prison architecture or national road networks might be undermined, or how the power dynamics of the class system might be temporarily suspended in a heightened situation. Forgiveness, desistance and redemption also play a part in the narrative, for both the ‘guilty’ and ‘innocent’ parties. Both elements of the thesis also examine how time moves differently inside from outside of the prison walls, and the limited success of trying to build away social problems.
Methodologically speaking, the work follows certain key features of practice-led research, where the creative outcome constitutes the research in and of itself, rather than existing as a conduit for pre-existing research conclusions. The practice-led approach prioritises the making process, in dialogue with a theoretical framework, although this may not always be visible in the finished work. Again there are hierarchies at play here, in an epistemological sense, in how knowledge is created, viewed, accessed and consumed. In this sense, the thesis takes a deliberately outward-looking approach in terms of intended readership, aiming to sit alongside works of fiction as comfortably as academic texts.
On several levels, the work inhabits grey areas and liminal spaces – between the three academic disciplines across which it is situated, between critical and creative approaches, and between multiple social and spatial hierarchies. This liminality has come to be reflected within the work through exploring non-places, in an explicit sense in the critical work, and implicitly in the creative work – from the limbo of the motorway service station, to the carceral dead space exploited by the prison architect and his escapee. I found the in-between spaces, and indeed their opposing poles, to hold an inherent friction which ultimately proved to be creatively generative.

Item Type: Thesis (DFA)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright issues the electronic version of this thesis is not available for viewing. Access to the printed version is available once the embargo period has expired.
Keywords: Creative writing, practice as research, cross-disciplinary, architecture, criminology, novel, prison.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
Funder's Name: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Strachan, Dr. Zoe
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 31 October 2021
Depositing User: Dr Martin Cathcart Froden
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75149
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2019 12:56
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2019 13:00
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/75149

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