Exhibition and conference at the Portimão Museum show prisons from the inside

This is the first time that the “the Portuguese prison photo” project has been presented south of the Tagus

Santa Cruz do Bispo Prison – Photo by Peter Schulthess

The exposure "the portuguese prison photo project“, open from April 19th to September 1st, and the conference “Prisons and detention regimes in Portugal: before and after 1974”, on April 19th and 20th, are the two initiatives that the Portimão Museum will host , as part of an international project.

The conference, which has free access, but mandatory registration, will be guided by several interventions, from representatives of the Portuguese prison administration, researchers and national and international observation bodies, which will place a current topic at the center of reflection, but with strong links to the period of the Portuguese dictatorship.

After the Carnation Revolution of 1974, everything changed – also in detention? What has changed forever? How much attention was given to issues related to arrest and detention after the Revolution? How has life in prisons been affected by these changes? And in the long term? How were these changes seen by organizations active in the prevention of torture? What changes are planned in terms of prison policy?

These are just some of the issues that will be addressed at the conference by speakers and moderators considered references in this area. This is the case of researchers Maria João Raminhos Duarte, Francisco Bairrão Ruivo and Paulo Adriano, Domingos Abrantes (anti-fascist and member of the PCP, who was a political prisoner before April 25, 1974), Swiss prison investigator Daniel Fink, photographers Luís Barbosa and Peter Schultess, by Gilda Santos, a specialist in Criminology, by Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque, who was a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights and is a Professor of Law at the Catholic University, or by Julia Kozma, an international Human Rights consultant, between others.

It will be an opportunity to reflect on living conditions in prisons before and after 1974, this being the first time that the project has been presented south of the Tagus.


Guarda Prison Establishment – ​​Photo by Luís Barbosa


On the opening day of the exhibition “the Portuguese prison photo project”, on Friday, April 19, a first conference will address the theme of prisons, prison regimes and life in prison before the 1974 revolution. politically imprisoned people and their living conditions, a first on prisoners in the Algarve, a second more generally on prison regimes during the time of the fascist government in Portugal, and a third gives the floor to a resistance fighter and testimony contemporary. Finally, the prison conditions of non-political prisoners in conservative Portugal before the 1974 revolution are analyzed.

In the second part of the first day of the conference, the objectives, project ideas and previous exhibitions will be presented, along with information about the upcoming exhibition. The two photographers talk about their approach and their images. Finally, some results from a visitor research project carried out during two previous exhibitions are commented on.

The second day of the conference, April 20, will focus on the influence of the 1974 Revolution on prison conditions and the development of prison regimes in Portugal. In addition to representatives of the Portuguese prison administration, representatives of national and international observation bodies (NPM; CPT; SPT) took the floor.

The conference is organized by the team from “the Portuguese prison photo project”, which includes professors from the University of Porto, such as Gilda Santos, Cândido da Agra and others, together with the team from the Portimão Museum.

It is sponsored by Gefängnisforschung.Schweiz, with the support of the Universities of Porto and Lausanne (Switzerland), as well as the General Directorate of Reinsertion and Prison Services (DGRSP).

On the first day, the conference, which is open and free of charge, but with Pre-registration by clicking here, will start at 14pm and end at 00pm. On the second day, the session will take place in the morning, from 18:00 am to 10:00 pm.

It is now available, For viewing and downloading, the Conference Abstract Book (PDF).


Lisbon Prison – Photo by Peter Schulthess


Unpublished images are shown in Portimão

This is the fourth time that the exhibition “the Portuguese prison photo project” has been presented to the public, with the Portimão Museum being the first institution to host it in the south of Portugal.

The premiere of this exhibition took place in 2017, in the building of the former prison in Porto, which currently houses the Portuguese Photography Center (CPF).

The second was held in 2019, at the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade, in Lisbon, while the third took place at the Arquivo Nacional Torre do Tombo, in 2021/2022, also in the Portuguese capital.

Launched by Daniel Fink, a Swiss prison researcher, this project brought together photographers Luís Barbosa and Peter Schulthesse, prison historian Maria José Moutinho Santos, the former director of the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade Luís Farinha, and prison researchers from universities in Portugal and the Switzerland for unique cooperation.

The DGRSP authorized photographers to capture images inside its prisons.

The exhibition thus offers a cross-sectional view of prisons in Portugal, from the largest to the smallest, from the oldest to the most recent, also including prisons for men, young offenders or women.

The images show the living conditions in these spaces, in a reality unknown to a large part of the population.

Luís Barbosa tries to show the prisoners' point of view, highlighting the environment, through a set of black and white images. In fact, the first photographs he recorded, in 2017, led to him being awarded the prize for best photographic work from the Portuguese Society of Authors (SPA), in 2018.

In turn, Peter Schulthess documents prisons from a more institutional perspective, using high-resolution and color images to reveal different details.

The photographic exhibition will open on April 19th and will be open until September 1st.

It can be visited at the following times: Tuesday from 14:30 pm to 18:00 pm and from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 18:00 pm until July 31st and from September 1st; Tuesday (19:30pm-23pm), Wednesday to Saturday (00pm-13pm) and Sunday (00pm-23pm), only during the month of August.

The exhibition and conference are part of the program for the 50th Anniversary of the 25th of April in Portimão, which takes place under the motto “Portimão, Democratic Land”. The global objective is to «strengthen collective memory and emphasize the current relevance of the values ​​and achievements of the Carnation Revolution in the construction and affirmation of a progressive and egalitarian country».


Viseu Prison – Photo by Luís Barbosa


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