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Deprivation of Liberty – new film collaboration between academic and artist

26 July 2022

Artist Grace Currie
Artist Grace Currie

A Cardiff law lecturer and a neurodivergent artist have teamed up on a new film to coincide with government consultation on safeguards for those who require care.

Senior Lecturer in Law, Dr Lucy Series and artist Grace Currie have collaborated on the film, In the Shadows of the Institution to shine a light on the bureaucracy of social care detention and to help make the topic accessible to all.

Earlier this year, Dr Series published the book, Deprivation of Liberty in the Shadows of the Institution which explores safeguards to protect the right to liberty for those who draw on care and support in the ‘community’. An estimated 300,000 people in the UK are potentially deprived of their liberty by their care arrangements, many live outside the confines of an ‘institution’, but still have limited freedom to make decisions about themselves, the care they receive or their futures.

Watch In the Shadows of the Institution

This March, the government consulted on guidance for new safeguards, replacing those that are currently in place with the aim of better protecting care service-users in future. It is hoped that new Liberty Protection Safeguards will be rolled out next year, they will affect hundreds of thousands of people. Dr Series and Grace’s film has been produced to explain the complexities of the issue and to promote better understanding of the topic ahead of this implementation.

Dr Series said, “My book is, undeniably, long and complicated. Academic books are often quite inaccessible to non-academic readers, but this is a story I wanted other people to understand because these deprivation of liberty safeguards affect a lot of people.”

Dr Series came across Grace’s work on Twitter and reached out to her to find out more about her perspective on being a care service-user. Grace, who is neurodivergent due to brain injuries sustained in a serious traffic accident in 2010, works across painting and video and, as a result of her accident, now requires support.

Speaking of her experiences, Grace said, “I see the world differently now than I did ten years ago. Being neurodivergent is something I accept and have overcome. My experiences are different and I try and communicate this in my artwork.”

Dr Series explained, “I felt that Grace might have fresh insights on this story and I could see from her work that she was able to convey powerful feelings and complex and sometimes ambivalent ideas.”

The duo began working together on the film in 2021 alongside the film production company Helter Skelter Media . The production team, Viv and Chris  describe the end result as a “gothic fairytale” made up of Grace’s artwork and archival imagery to illustrate the content of Dr Series’ book. Dr Series hopes that the film will bring the technicalities of the subject to life and to new audiences.

She said, “This area of law is rife with jargon and technicality and a film can bypass a lot of that and get straight to the story and the meaning and the difficult questions this leaves us with today.

I want people to use the film to help people understand how we got to where we are, and to think about where we go from here.”

Dr Series and Grace’s film was made possible due to funding from Wellcome where Dr Series has been a Fellow from 2017-2022.  Grace continues to produce and exhibit work under the title of In the Shadows of the Institution and related themes.

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