Image of Durham Cathedral and Castle on a lovely summers day surrounded by green trees. Taken from Durham Gates.

Ghosts of our Future: crime, justice and walking in Durham city

Welcome to the ‘Ghosts of our future’ a web site dedicated to sharing a project funded in 2014-2015 by the Arts Council UK and HMP Durham library and documenting and supporting walking as a method for doing criminological research on the history of crime, justice and punishment in Durham city.

‘Ghosts of our future’ was a pilot project led by Sheila Mulhern, writer in residence at HMP Durham and Jackie Woods, HMP Durham Library, working with prisoners, artists and Durham University partners.

The project sought to forge positive links between the prison and the outside world and develop better understanding of the history of crime, justice and punishment in Durham city by using creative writing, storytelling, photography and walking.

Two creative writing groups took place during the project, one inside and one outside. Both writing groups, led by Sheila Mulhern, worked alongside authors, artist Dick Ward, a photographer and poets to create ghost stories inspired by HMP Durham and the history of crime and punishment in Durham city, from medieval times to the current day. HMP Durham was opened in 1819[1] in the City of Durham in the North East of England.

A crime walk was developed by Durham University partners, Professor Maggie O’Neill and Dr Ivan Hill that mapped the history of crime, punishment and justice in Durham city. Artist Mark Alder created the crime walk map in response and collaboration.

A book of the project was launched on 30th November 2015 edited by Sheila Mulhern.

We hope you enjoy browsing the site, reading the stories and taking the crime walk using the downloadable map.


[1] Useful information on the history of Durham Prison can be found at the following websites: https://community.dur.ac.uk/4schools.resources/Crime/Durhamprison1.htm; http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/durham