Art project on women in prison wants clothes donations

Artist Eva Merz is working on a project called What Are They Doing In There? about “women in prison, criminal justice, politics, media and the public”.

She’s looking for donations of women’s clothing, which will be made into a “human sculpture”:

Dear Friends, Sisters of all Nations, this is a call for participation!

Donate a piece of your clothing to campaign for change!

I am working on a long-term art project about women in prison, making work for an exhibition in Glasgow later this spring. As part of this exhibition I plan to create a sculpture made up of women’s clothing donated from everywhere. This sculpture will show that people on the outside are concerned and question current politics on criminal justice:

The UK has the highest incarceration rate ‘per capita’ in Europe. A few facts from Scotland: Over the past ten years the female prison population has nearly doubled. In Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only women’s prison, the majority of inmates are low-level offenders, 90% have drug and alcohol problems, 80% have mental health problems, 70% have experienced some form of abuse in their lives, and two thirds are mothers.

All research points in the same direction: society urgently needs alternatives to the imprisonment of these women. Despite the evidence little changes and public opinion is often based on misleading press coverage. I want to build bridges of understanding by offering visibility and providing well-researched and accessible information, so as to challenge public perception of crime and punishment. The exhibition will include artwork, books, reports and statistics, films and a public discussion event. This exhibition will also build towards a substantial publication later on in the project.

What Are They Doing In There?

STUDIO WAREHOUSE, Glasgow: 6 – 14 June 2009

Friday 5 June: Preview / Thursday 11 June: Public Discussion Event

If you can, please send a piece of women’s clothing (just something you might send to the charity shop anyway) – before 15th May. Please label the clothing with your name, hometown and country and supply email address so I can keep you updated and send a formal invitation for the exhibition.

If you need more information, don’t hesitate to get back to me and ask…

send to:





G3 8QG


Unfortunately I cannot refund costs of postage or return clothing. I hope you understand. However, I plan on finding a permanent, public placement for this sculpture, so it will live on…

IMPORTANT: This project recognises that there are also many boys and men who shouldn’t be in prison. But the situations and statistics are unfortunately a lot more desperate for women.

For now, there’s always hope…


Sincerely, EVA

Funded by Statens Kunstfond (DK) / Scottish Arts Council. Supported by International Futures Forum. Hosted by Studio Warehouse, SWG3