Hannah Hull (Burning Salt) is artist-in-residence at Islington Museum as part of the Echoes of Holloway Prison Project led by Islington Museum. This project is dedicated to capturing the stories of the prison following its closure in June 2016. Through the recording of oral histories with ex-prisoners, prison officers and ‘civilian’ staff, the project seeks to ensure that even now the prison has gone, the voices and echoes of Holloway Prison will remain. Hull has responded to these stories with a series of songs, which will be released as an EP entitled ‘DIRT’.
She says: “Many of the stories left me in tears. Not just because of the horror contained within them, but also the strength. The incredible human strength. I wanted to provide a platform for the stories and themes contained within them to be heard, listened to, connected with. These stories complicate the issue of prisons. They demand empathy, and confuse narratives of punishment.”
“Many of my own songs deal with the themes of pain, loss, and love. I think this was probably the most surprising theme found within the oral history transcripts: love. Love for the prison, love for the prisoners, love despite the prison environment, love despite the incredible scale of pain and loss suffered by the women who end up in prison. Although many of us will be fortunate enough not to directly experience the events these women have, the feelings of pain, love and loss are universal.”
Alongside this music release is a limited edition booklet entitled ‘Echoes’ which includes a series of short poems written by Hannah Hull, and a selection of photographs of the prison taken by Islington Museum’s Curator, Roz Currie, taken just after its closure in 2016. These poems will be read as part of the performance, which will also include projections of the prison interior.