AVID Winter School 2023/24

We’re pleased to announce our AVID Winter School 2023/4 - A series of winter conversations following the success of our online Communities not Walls series in 2022.

2023 has been a year of deep thinking and critical reflection as a network. After many years of collaborative work we have finalised the AVID Members Charter which articulates our shared values as a network.

Within AVID we have also been working on a new strategy for the next 5 years, drawing on the insights of our network at our conference back in March, and our charter convening in November 2022.

We have been doing this work in the face of an ongoing political onslaught against migrants, which took its cruel shape in law through the so-called Illegal Migration Act. The act paves the way for a dramatic increase in people detained for indefinite periods, including children.

The findings of the Brook House Inquiry spelt out again, in no uncertain terms, what people impacted by detention and those who stand in solidarity with them already understand - that violence and abuse is endemic to detention.

The speakers in this series all address important and urgent questions for us as people in solidarity with those in immigration detention - both those with experience of detention and without.

They ask:

  • How can we bear witness to the unbearable?
  • What does it look like to shift power to people with lived experience?
  • How do we attend to the immediate harms of detention at the same time as dismantling it and the systems that prop it up?
  • How do we make sure that our records of harm lead to real change?

Speakers and conversations will be announced as they are confirmed - please get in touch with fiona.ranford@aviddetention.org.uk if there is a speaker you would like to hear from!


01. Hyab Yohannes - Breaking Down the Walls of Silence

Tuesday 21 November, 6 - 7pm

Book your free place online


In the first talk of our winter school, we invite you to join academic Hyab Yohannes on his quest for answers to urgent questions – how do we bear witness to the unbearable? How can we confront the open wounds left by border violence? And how can we move from this place to a scar where we can heal and create new ways of being?

Hyab chooses to foreground his lived-experience as a refugee in his academic work and research. He believes this approach can open up new dialogues in which we are honest about the realities of border violence which forces people to live “at the edge of life”, both indefinitely waiting and suffering.

By presenting these confronting truths, Hyab hopes to stir up debates and open up spaces that decentre the colonial frameworks and systems that are at the root of this violence in order to see the world in a different way.

Immigration detention visitor and solidarity groups are witness to the violence that exists at UK borders and in places of detention. At a time when the political climate towards migration can feel insurmountable, we hope that will join this conversation to explore: what sustains these systems; in what ways might visitor and solidarity groups participate in sustaining them; and what it would mean to be part of a new vision that has human dignity at its heart.

Hyab Yohannes holds a PhD in the "Realities of Eritrean Refugees in a Carceral Age", and works as an academic coordinator for the Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace (CUSP) Network Plus, where he conducts research and provides insights into theory and policy. He is co-editing a special issue on decolonising knowledge production for the Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication and a Handbook of Cultures of Sustainable Peace for Multilingual Matters. Additionally, he is working on his upcoming book titled "The Coloniality of the Refugee."


Event Date: 
Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - 18:00