About Project


About Deathscapes

Project Personnel

Ethics Advisory Board

Copyright, Permissions and Conditions of Use

About Deathscapes

With the ultimate aim of ending deaths in custody, the Deathscapes project maps the sites and distributions of custodial deaths in locations such as police cells, prisons and immigration detention centres, working across the settler states of Australia,  the US and Canada, as well as the UK/EU as historical sites of origin for these settler colonial states.

It presents new understandings of the practices and technologies, both global and domestic, that enable state violence against racialized groups in settler states. Within the violent frame of the settler colonial state, centred on Indigenous deaths as a  form of ongoing clearing of the land, the deaths of other racialized bodies within the nation and at its borders–including Black, migrant and refugee deaths–reaffirm the assertion of settler sovereignty.

To focus on Indigenous deaths and other racialized deaths is not to collapse the differences between racialized groups, or to ignore the presence of other racialized populations in these states, but to address some of the shared strategies, policies, practices and rationales of state violence deployed in the management of these separate categories.

The late Uncle Ray Jackson, Aboriginal People and the Criminal Justice System

We situate deaths in custody within the shared contexts and interrelated practices of the settler state as they are embedded within contemporary global structures. By working across the major Anglophone settler states, as well as the United Kingdom and European Union, the project seeks to move away from the nation as the primary analytical unit to consider forms of governance and social relations that are transnationally linked.

The project adopts a transnational and cross-disciplinary approach to racialized state violence,  mapping racialized deaths in custody in  all their visual, analytical and geographical dimensions.

Richard Frankland, Writer’s Notes,  Conversations with the Dead

Deathscapes seeks to ‘humanise what has been dehumanised’ by incorporating the aesthetic as part of the infrastructure of the site. The artworks on the site offer testimony of what otherwise would remain unsaid and unrepresented; they offer graphic examples of acts of protest and resistance; they instantiate agency in contexts in which it is often so brutally denied; they amplify, through their visual languages, the key analytical and political concerns articulated in the various case studies of racialised deaths. More on the aesthetics of the site can be accessed here.  Notes on teaching with the Deathscapes site can be accessed here.

Project Personnel

Deathscapes: Mapping Race and State Violence in Settler Societies

Funded by Australian Research Council

Chief Investigators

Professor Suvendrini Perera, Curtin University

Professor Joseph Pugliese, Macquarie University

Partner InvestigatorS

Professor Marianne Franklin, Goldsmiths, University of London

Professor Jonathan Inda, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr Barry Lavallee, University of Manitoba

Project Manager

Dr Dean Chan, Curtin University


Michelle Bui, Curtin University

Pilar Kasat, Curtin University

Beatriz Maldonado, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ayman Qwaider, Curtin University

Charandev Singh, Indigenous Social Justice Association

Dr Raed Yacoub, Goldsmiths, University of London

Ethics Advisory Board

Dr Safdar Ahmed, Refugee Art Project

Assoc Professor Maurizio Albahari, University of Notre Dame

Mr Ruben Allas, Independent writer and researcher on Criminal Justice and Aboriginal Visual Arts

Ms Tess Allas, University of New South Wales

Dr Sean Anderson, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Ms Renata Avila, Smart Citizen Foundation

Dr Robin Barrington, Curtin University

Dr Zanny Begg, University of New South Wales

Professor Bronwyn Carlson, Macquarie University

Professor Chris Cunneen, University of Technology, Sydney

Professor Nicholas De Genova, University of Houston

Assoc Professor Richard Frankland, University of Melbourne

Professor Mishauna Goeman, UCLA

Mr Abdul Karim Hekmat, Journalist and Photographer

Professor Joy James, Williams College

Dr Hannah McGlade Curtin University

Ms Lena Nahlous, Diversity Arts, Sydney

Ms Carly Nyst, Human Rights Lawyer

Professor David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford University

Dr Wendy Teeter, Fowler Museum, UCLA

Assoc Professor Sunera Thobani, University of British Columbia

Dr Nicole WatsonUniversity of Sydney

Marziya Mohammedali, Call Them Home, 2016. Photo: Michelle Bui.

Copyright, Permissions and Conditions of Use

All original creative works (including artworks, photographs and poems) reproduced on this site remain the property of the makers and permission for reuse must be sought directly from them or their agents.

All other material on the site is protected under the Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND which allows users to download and share material for non-commercial purposes provided that: a) the materials is not changed in any way and b) is credited as the source.


Except as specified above, you may not reproduce or communicate any of the content on this website, including files downloadable from this website, without the permission of the copyright owners.

The authors named at the end of each case study must be credited when citing specific case studies.

All other material must credited to

In reusing material, please inform yourself of issues affecting Indigenous peoples in the states studied: Australia, the U.S.A and Canada. Indigenous groups in these states also have varying protocols relating to appropriate re-use. In particular, please ensure you have authorization to reproduce images, especially of those who have died.

All material relating to deaths in custody must be treated with respect and sensitivity.






The research on this website is primarily funded by the Australian Research Council, for the project ‘Deathscapes: Mapping Race and State Violence in Settler Societies’ under its Discovery Projects Scheme (DP 160100303).

In year 1 and 2 partial funding was received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada, for the project ‘Racial Violence in Settler Societies: An Interactive Multi-Media Site of State Violence Against Indigenous and Racialized Peoples’ under its Partnership Development Grants scheme (890-2014-002). CI: Professor Sherene Razack;  Community partners: Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (Christa Big Canoe, Director);  African Canadian Legal Clinic  (Margaret Parsons, Director); Centre for Aboriginal Health Education at University of Manitoba (Dr Barry Lavallee, Director); Indigenous Social Justice Association, Sydney (the late Ray Jackson, founding Director).

We thank the School of Media, Culture & Creative Arts and the Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute at Curtin University for early development funding.

Thanks also to our design and development team (Tommy Segoro, Deanne Bowen and Claude De Lucia at Diversus and Jeffrey Effendi at DrawHistory) for their care, creativity and meticulous attention to detail.

Special thanks to Mike Sowerby of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University for his invaluable insights and advice in developing the courtyard garden.

We are grateful to the artists, photographers and poets who have generously allowed us to feature their work on this site. All copyright for their work remains with them.  All efforts have been made to contact each artist whose work is reproduced here.  We ask anyone we have not yet managed to reach to please contact us at [email protected]

All other content on the site is licensed under the Creative Commons Licence CC BY-NC-ND which allows for non-commercial sharing of the material as long as it is not changed in any way and the source is attributed to See Copyright, Permissions and Conditions of Use for more information.

Details of images on our Home page  are in the Galleries section.


Please Read

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.