Sunniva Storlykken Helland's picture

Sunniva Storlykken Helland

PhD Candidate
  • E-mailsunniva.helland@uib.no
  • Visitor Address
    Møllendalsveien 61
    5009 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7800
    5020 Bergen
PhD Project: Breaking Circles

Serving a sentence in prison is often associated with a range of penalties. Norway has only one penalty; denial of freedom. The offenders have the same rights as the rest of society, and are supposed to take part of it. The Norwegian Correctional Service’s unofficial slogan reads: ‘better out, than in’ meaning that rehabilitation overcomes penalty. The offender have both the right and a duty to work, educating themselves or attending amendment programs. The goal of their work is to qualify for working life after prison.

Having to go to prison will without a doubt be a personal crisis for anyone, and can lead to loss of jobs, housing, personal economy and social network. Offenders could benefit from building professional networks to avoid seeking out old acquaintances in criminal networks after prison, heading into criminal relapse. Having worked with design projects in the Western Region of the Norwegian Correctional Service, I have seen the vast areas and systems within prisons and the service that are untouched by strategic design. Design has considerable potential to help offenders benefit from their surrounding systems, both within prison and outside. The project aims to use social design to ease offender’s transition from incarceration to employment through their work within prison, before release.

To be able to do that, there are several problem areas to address: the content of offender’s work in prison, offender’s tools of sentence progress, barriers between prison and society and the lack of established professional networks to prevent criminal networks taking over after serving.

The project 'Breaking Circles' is matriculated in the field of social design. Using visual communication in social design can contribute to a dawning interest in design and creative practice to prevent recidivistic crime and social marginalization. Breaking Circles is a project with a strong emphasis on design experiments through field work in a real-life context: prison.

Research catalogue

Sunniva Storlykken Helland is a research fellow specialized in visual communication at the Department of Design, University of Bergen. She works within the field of social design, emphasizing field work using methods from service design and skillsets from graphic design. Since she finished her MA in Design at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (KMD) in 2011, she sought out to collaborate with professionals outside of her own field which lead her to work with visual identity, architecture and furniture expositions, exhibitions, press, project coordination and office management. She has since 2014 to date worked as a design advisor with the Western Region of the Norwegian Correctional Service, where her PhD project and prison system interest stems from.