The newsletter for arts organisations working in criminal justice | November 2013
In this month's issue...
Arts Alliance news
Arts Alliance launch new report on the arts and desistance
'Re-Imagining Futures' is a new Arts Alliance report that highlights the positive impact of creative opportunities for individuals in the Criminal Justice System. The report, written by academics who visited a number of arts projects in prison and the community, paints a fascinating picture of the work that the arts are doing to support long sentence prisoners, women and those not engaged with mainstream learning. One participant said: "Taking part in music workshops in prison was life changing, it was the first time that I started to make positive choices for myself, it began to change the way I think in a very deep way. The key findings were launched at an event, followed by a panel debate, at the Southbank Centre on 7 November. Download the report here.
If you missed the research launch event, you can catch up with what happened here. You can also see an article about the research on Arts Professional by clicking here, and on Guardian Culture Professional here.
ESRC Seminar at the BALTIC
On Friday 15th November, the Arts Alliance co-hosted the third in our ESRC Seminar series at the BALTIC, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear. The session considered how offender participants' work is exhibited, performed, published and publicised and showcased successful strategies used by organisations in publicising work to the wider public. There were talks from Alison Redshaw and Sheree Mack on Dilly Arts, and Sarah Armstrong and Jenny Wicks reflected on a residency within the Scottish prison system. We also had workshops from Padbooks, Prison Radio Association, Good Vibrations and the Koestler Trust. The final Seminar in the series will be taking place in February 2014 and will focus on Evaluating Enrichment. Further details will be posted here.
Write to be Heard update
The deadline has passed. The entries have been read at least once and we are now working with National Prison Radio to choose a selection for broadcast. We certainly have a wide selection to choose from - over 260 pieces of inspirational, funny, eye-opening and laugh-out-loud writing from more than 60 prisons. Programmes showcasing the work will be broadcast in prisons over the Christmas period. We are currently working on the evaluation of the project and will share practice with you next year. Please pencil the 6th and 12th of March in your diary for practice sharing events in London and Manchester - more details to come soon. In the mean time, listen to storyteller Femi Martin, who led two of our masterclasses, tell a story about a man, a cell, books and stories.
Events & training
Arts Alliance members have a range of events happening throughout the winter, please don't forget to check out the Arts Alliance events webpage and send us details of your event to share with the membership.
Screening: From page to stage - Stand or Fall
3rd December 2013, 7.30pm | University of Winchester
This film follows the journey of 13 prisoners as they workshop and rehearse the play 'Stand or Fall' by Brian Woolland in 2008. The play was written especially for the group and was developed through workshops with the writer who also directed the play. The director/writer will be at the screening along with the film makers and the ex-prisoner who played the lead in the show. The screening will take place in the John Striped Lecture Theatre at the University of Winchester. For more information, please email Annie.McKean@winchester.ac.uk
GROUNDation: A Safe Ground Poetry Evening
4th December 2013, 7pm | LOST Theatre | £7.00
On Wednesday 4th December, Safe Ground will present a night of word, sound and poetry featuring the voices of men in prison and people from the local community. The night will feature an open mic mini-slam, with a prize for the best verse voted by the audience. There will be music courtesy of the HKB FiNN TRiO. Click here for more information
Participatory Film in Action: Prisons
5th December 2013, 6.30pm | London Metropolitan University | Free
Curated by London Met Digital Media lecturer and filmmaker Suzanne Cohen, this event features presentations and Q&As with two creative practitioners working in the criminal justice system. Tony Gammidge will be screening a number of short films from the video and animation projects he has been running on medium secure and psychiatric units. Spoken word poet Leah Thorn will give a picture of the restorative and rehabilitative power of trauma-informed arts practice in prison, drawing on extracts from documentary and art films collected during her Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship in the United States. Click here to book.
Clean Break Information Day
6th December 2013, 11am - 3pm | 2 Patshull Road, London | Free
Clean Break is a safe women-only theatre, education and new writing company based in Kentish Town. They are holding an Information Day on Friday 6 December to provide first-hand information on how the arts can affect positive changes for women. From 11.15am - 1.15pm, the event will only be open to service providers, but from 1.15pm onwards, it will be open to all. The organisation offers free education and training in the arts specifically for women who have experience of the Criminal Justice System and/or are at risk of offending due to alcohol/substance misuse or mental health needs. Interested women, or those working with women (including men) are welcome to attend. Please email email@example.com or call 020 7482 8600 to confirm your place.
Employment & Skills Bid Writing Workshop
11th December 2013 | Stevenage | £199.00 plus VAT
Carley Consult are providing a one day workshop on Employment & Skills Bid Writing. The workshop will be led by Jim Carley (Managing Director) and Liz Gray (Head of Bid Services) and will be geared towards training providers, FE colleges, charities, housing associations, social enterprises, and similar organisations active in this industry. It will involve a combination of practical and participative exercises combined with group discussion and lively presentations. For more information, click here.
How Government Policy Can Improve Wellbeing
11th December 2013, 5.30pm - 7pm | London | Free
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing is running a series of events aimed at producing a report looking at how government policy can improve wellbeing. The first of these events will address the question - what can government do to increase the wellbeing generated by its subsidies to the arts? Witnesses that have so far agreed to appear include Alan Davey, Chief Executive of the Arts Council; Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, London and South East, Arts Council; Daniel Fujiwara, LSE; and Tony Butler of the Happy Museum project. The event will take place on 11 December from 5.30 - 7pm in Committee Room 18 in the House of Commons. Click here to book.
Streetwise Opera: The Answer to Everything
12th December 2013, 6.30pm | Market Road, Cardiff | £7.90
Streetwise Opera will be bringing their latest film opera 'The Answer to Everything' to Chapter in Cardiff on Thursday 12th December. The film tells the story of fictional corporation Locateco Solutions where corporate confidence appears sky high, but as music gradually engulfs the business rhetoric cracks begin to appear. This funny and uplifting 40-minute film opera stars a cast of 100 homeless people and features new music from contemporary composers alongside music by Britten, Handel, and Vivaldi. Click here for more information and to book.
Musical Pathways Research Symposium Report Launch
9th January 2014, 9.30am - 4.30pm | The Paintworks, Bristol | Free
In conjunction with the Big Lottery Research Programme, Superact and the University of the West of England would like to invite researchers with an interest in 'Arts and Justice' to attend the Musical Pathways Research Symposium Report Launch. Musical Pathways is a 3 year project that studied the effect of music on confidence and identity in young offenders. The Research Symposium will host presentations, group discussions and panel debates with speakers including Angus McLewin; Compiler & Editor of the Arts Alliance Evidence Library, Norma Daykin; Professor of Arts & Health, University of the West of England, Mark Little; Director ARCS LTD, Applied Research in Community Safety, and Vanessa Hogbin; a founding member of SERIF, Social Enterprise, Research, and Innovation Foundation. For more information and to register, click here.
Arts & criminal justice news
Dance United Perform for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
On Tuesday 19 November, Dance United were invited by Only Connect to perform at their headquarters in King's Cross to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They aso took part in a roundtable discussion that included other organisations working with ex-offenders, such as Switchback, Bounce Back, Spark Inside and Handmade Alliance. Dance United was one of the 26 charities chosen by the Duke and Duchess to receive donations through the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund in 2011. Click here for more.
Creative People and Places Fund
Arts Council England's Creative People and Places Fund is now open to applicants for activities in specific areas of the South East and South West to increase the number of people experiencing the arts, irrespective of where they live or their social, educational or financial circumstances. The aim of the Fund is to focus investment in parts of the country where people's involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average, with the aim of increasing the likelihood of participation. Click here for more information.
Rebalancing our Cultural Capital: London's arts imbalance
Three arts researchers have produced a report looking at spending on the arts in London relative to the rest of the country. 'Rebalancing our Cultural Capital' claims that "in total in 2012/13 taxpayers from the whole of England provided benefit to London of £69 per head of population against £4.60 in the rest of the country. Alan Davey, Arts Council England Chief Executive, has said that Arts Council England welcomes the debate raised by the report and that it highlights the need to continue to target lottery funds at places with less investment.
Ministry of Justice research: What works to reduce reoffending?
Justice Data Lab reports were published this month on smaller projects working with offenders, with a large number being funded through NOMS using ESF money for employment programmes. Analysis was of paired programmes working in the same region. There is a striking division with those in the community showing evidence of an impact on reoffending, with insufficient evidence for any programme that started in custody, regardless of the provider. Click here to read more.
Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust - Announcement of spring 2014 intake
The Trust has announced it is now accepting applications for its spring 2014 intake. The scholarships can be used to fund further study, training and practical experience for the improvement of craft and trade skills. Eligible applicants are craftsmen and craftswomen of all ages who live and work permanently in the UK. Previous scholarship winners have included antiques restorers, calligraphers, book conservators, potters, silversmiths and upholsterers. Click here for more information.
Find out how Partnership Finder can work for you
Clinks' Partnership Finder is an online directory of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations working in criminal justice and rehabilitation. Find out how your organisation can benefit from Partnership Finder, whether or not you're interested in being part of Transforming Rehabilitation. Click here for more information.
More in arts and criminal justice
- Hull has been named the next UK City of Culture, and will take over the title in 2017. It beat Leicester, Dundee and Swansea Bay for the title.
- Fifteen years after his landmark book on the creative economy, Chris Smith calls for a new way of thinking about arts funding. Click here to read the article.
- To mark this year's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, English PEN published a crowd-sourced translation of a collection of poems by Cameroonian writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse. Click here to download your copy.
- The National Offender Management Service have released their Offender Equalities Annual Report. Click here to read it.
- DISC, Theatre Nemo, Create, Music in detention, Red Bank in corporation with Odd Theatre Company, Broadmoor Mental Health Trust and Leah Thorn all received Special Commendation from the RSPH for Arts and Health Awards 2013 at a celebration on 13th November in London. You can view photos from the evening here.
Resources & Publications
Intermediate outcomes of arts projects: a rapid evidence assessment
This report summarises the findings from a rapid evidence assessment which sought to identify 'intermediate' outcomes from arts projects. This is the first stage in a wider project funded by the National Offender Management Service to develop a framework for outcome measurement which can be adopted by organisations that deliver arts projects to offenders. Click here to see the report.
Arts visits provide the key to engaging young people
A recent survey of 1,664 young people aged 11 - 25 living in London looks at how and why young people engage in cultural activities. Results from the study show that in general, young people in London are active attenders at a range of cultural venues and events. However, engagement varies considerably based on young people's age, background, geographical location and employment/education status. The study also highlights the importance of schools in providing a gateway to culture for young people - particularly for those from less privileged backgrounds. To download the survey results, click here.
New resources for magistrates, district judges and court staff
The Magistrates' Association, Judicial College, Justices' Clerks' Society, Rethink Mental Illness and the Prison Reform Trust have worked together to produce 'Mental health and learning disabilties in the criminal court': a new resource launched in autumn for magistrates, district judges and court staff. It aims to assist members of the judiciary in recognising when a defendant might be vulnerable and if so, how to respond appropriately as they undertake their duties and responsibilities in court. The materials, which include film clips, links and guidance, can be found online.
How computers can transform rehabilitation
Using ICT and the internet is a functional skill of increasing significance for communication, accessing public services, research, education, banking and employment. The digital divide between people in prison and in the community is rapidly widening and will make resettlement more difficult if these skills have not been developed. This report, compiled by the Prison Reform Trust and the Prisoners Education Trust, aims to explore more effective ways of using information communication technologies in prison, and the benefits that are likely to come from expanding their use. Click here to see the report.
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