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On the Other Side FACT 2024 Rob Battersby

Interview: Sentences


Audio, Learning

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For Sentences (2023), artist Katrina Palmer worked with participants with direct experience of the justice system. In the below interview, a member of staff from HMP Buckley Hall who participated in the project reflects on their experience of working with the artist and on seeing the book for the first time.

What do you think of the book now you’re holding it?

The book feels like we have worked in partnership, successfully, with the people who are in our care, who want to show atonement and want to make amends.

How do you feel about the anonymity of the book, knowing that your writing is there and you know which is yours, but others don’t?

I don’t feel triumphant if that’s the answer you are looking for. It would suit in my life better if it wasn’t anonymised, however I do understand it is due to our society and the taboo impacts surrounding incarceration.

How did you find the workshop - working separately and together, with everyone in the room?

The workshop was different, although I have engaged in improvisation previously in my university days. It was a personal workshop that gave everyone involved an opportunity to feel comfortable within the group and in their own space. I felt that working separately was easier, as I reflect naturally about every little thing and always have done.

What do you think people will think about when they read the book?

I’m not quite sure – that’s a difficult question. All walks of life read into things differently. Some may have compassion and understand the complications that people have in life – others may frown and retain bitterness. A creative and imaginative audience will envisage unrealistic imagery, hear wailing voices, or feel all kinds of peculiar emotions.

Images: Katrina Palmer, Sentences (2023). Installation view at FACT Liverpool. Photography by Rob Battersby