Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

Article: Mulcahy, Bull and Smith

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Belinda Mulcahy
Griffith University

Associate Professor Melissa Bull
Griffith University

Dr Catrin (Kate) Smith
Griffith University

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Traces Left Behind: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Graffiti at Boggo Road Gaol

For the most part, our understanding of the experience of imprisonment is mediated by official accounts, or by researchers’ interests that target predetermined aspects of the incarceration experience. Prison graffiti are a valuable source of archival data that enables insight into the experience of incarceration from the perspective of prisoners. The current project is an inductive thematic analysis of graffiti produced by individuals previously incarcerated at Boggo Road Gaol, in Brisbane, Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graffiti are discussed in relation to the conditions of imprisonment, and broader social and political issues in Queensland during the 1980s.  Resistance observed in the graffiti suggests that, despite their physical barrier to the outside world, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners remained active agents during their incarceration.

Keywords: graffiti, prison studies, Aboriginal history, resistance, cultural analysis, visual ethnography, governance

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Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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Wednesday, 26 July, 2017 4:13 PM