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NATIONAL JUSTICE MUSEUM | Nottingam, United Kingdom
Exhibition Planning and Concept Design

The exhibition draws on the universal experience of adolescence as a confusing, liminal state in order to build empathy.


A teen is not an adult, yet not quite a child: societal expectations and consequences fluctuate between responsibility and dependence. Cognitively, a fundamental reorganization of the brain takes place, leading to risk-taking and exploration. The transitory nature of these years has dire implications for how teenagers are treated by the justice system.

Centering on the work of American photographer Richard Ross, the exhibition tells the stories of teens in the justice system through the lens of adolescence as a liminal period, asking the critical questions of what it means to be a teenager, what is needed for teens to thrive, and when those needs are left unmet. The exhibition explores what society expects of teens, and what they can expect of society.

The exhibition will immerse visitors in the feeling of liminality through the use of hallways as a transitory symbol. Museum visitors will be visitors to the individuals of Richard Ross’s photos, through the recurrance of rooms, lockers, and walls as symbols of identity, protection, and confinement.


The exhibition will promote collaboration, dialogue, and inclusivity by meeting visitors where they are in public spaces. Self-expressions of teens both within the justice system and school system will help to connect community members to one another, and help them to reflect upon their own experience of adolescence. Deeper understanding of one another and the justice system will leave visitors with the knowledge and agency to participate in meaningful change.

Inhabiting a former Victorian courtroom and Edwardian police station, the National Justice Museum works collaboratively with people marginalized and often excluded from cultural institutions and produces work alongside those with direct experience within the justice system.


They take a collaborative approach to exhibitions, working closely and creatively with people to produce exhibitions that explore the role of the justice system in society. The museum aims to reflect all communities in their work, and encourages collective ownership over the development of exhibitions. They aim to excel as the national leader of public law education and ensure positive and inclusive engagement and representation for all visitors. 

Richard Ross
Learn more about the work and how to be involved at

"‘Juvenile In-Justice’ is a photography exhibition featuring the work of Californian photographer and activist Richard Ross. Through photographs, videos, and interviews, this work has put the face on juveniles in the justice system.


Ross’s work locates the numbers in the context of a real child as a critical way of creating empathy. He believes that lives can be measured, but don’t resonate, in the sterile fluorescence of numbers, charts and trends.

Juvenile-in-Justice is a collection of images, interviews, audio documents, and texts created over a dozen years, at 300 sites in 35 states, drawn from the lives of more than 1,000 kids. Ross works with educational institutions and non-profits to better understand and/or explain the needs, policies, strategies, and resources required to facilitate better outcomes for the 53,000+ children in custody every day. The work humanizes cold statistics by exploring the lifeworlds of children in the system.

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