No Man’s Land

Photographer Nana Varveropoulou, discusses ‘No Man’s Land’, a collaborative project that explores experiences of indefinite immigration detention.
There are currently approximately 2500 people detained under immigration law in the UK. Under this law, a person can be detained
indefinitely. People can be held in immigration detention if their applications to be in Britain are being processed or have been refused.
Many are asylum-seekers. Some are waiting to hear if they will be accepted as refugees. Others have been refused asylum and will be
sent back to their countries of origin.
Many people in detention cannot return to their countries, even if they want to. Some are stateless, because their country will not accept
them back. Other people in detention have lived in the UK legally for many years or decades, and can no longer prove their original
nationality. Under international law stateless people have similar rights to refugees and should be allowed to stay, but many find themselves
detained indefinitely.
No Man’s Land is a collaboration between Nana Varveropoulou and a number of men detained in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre
who participated in photography workshops over a period of two years. The workshops were based around various themes, which were
developed through group discussions about the experience and the emotional impact of indefinite detention.
Using digital cameras to create photo-stories, participants were responding to themes such as “Time”, “Powerlessness”, “Patience”,
“Insomnia” and “Hope”. While running workshops, Nana was also given unprecedented access to photograph the centre. Producing her own photographs of spaces and portraits, Nana created a simultaneous record aiming to explore the ‘outsider’ and ‘insider’s’ perspectives of indefinite immigration detention.
To see more of Nana’s work, visit
Nana’s work is featured in Issue 2 of Photo Voices, our quarterly publication exclusively available to PhotoVoice members. 
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