The newsletter for arts organisations working in criminal justice.
In this month's issue...
- National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance news
- Events and training
- Arts and criminal justice news and publications
- Resources and opportunities
2021 NCJAA bursary scheme now open
Deadline 15th March
We are pleased to announce that the 2021 National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) bursary scheme is now open to arts practitioners working in criminal justice settings looking to develop their practice. The bursary is a cash grant of up to £500 designed to support arts practitioners in criminal justice settings to access what they need to learn, grow and sharpen their practice. Bursaries can be used to pay for training or other costs associated with developing skills and knowledge, or to remove obstacles to accessing those opportunities. The 2021 NCJAA bursary scheme is managed by TiPP. Find out more and apply here
Humane Justice book available to read now
The latest in the Monument Fellowship book series - Humane Justice - published by Khulisa answers the question What role do kindness, hope and compassion play in the criminal justice system? with featured essays, stories, poetry and art from contributors across the criminal justice system. A range of authors including prison residents, people with lived experience, academics, legal experts and practitioners explore enduring debates about the principles that underpin the system nationally and internationally. Among the contributions are an essay by Lady Unchained, the host of our 2020 Anne Peaker lecture, and a poem by friend of the NCJAA Mr Gee. Read the book here
See the highlights from the NCJAA network hangout
We were thrilled to be joined by arts and criminal justice practitioners from around the country at our January network hangout to talk about staying connected with the people we serve over lockdown. We were joined by Esther Baker to hear about Synergy Theatre’s playwriting competition that’s highlighted the voices of people in prison over lockdown, and David Kendall on the Making It Up project that is creating opportunities for parents in prison to connect with their children through storytelling. We also heard from participants about how you are staying connected in your work in arts and criminal justice. Thank you to all who joined and shared insights with the network. Read the highlights and key messages from the hangout on Twitter here
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The Arts of Punishment: Experiences of Injustice, Prison & Artistic Expression
1st March | online | free
The University of Warwick is hosting an interactive Q&A session focused on unpacking lessons from lived experiences of imprisonment and injustice. Organised as part of Warwick’s sociology course but open to all, it features panellists who have been impacted by criminal justice institutions, policies and rationales and have used creative expression to communicate and make sense of their experiences. Focusing on a number of enduring problems facing criminal justice, the panel will explore how to move towards challenging racism, inequalities and stigma in the context of criminal justice. The event is aimed at students of law, criminology, sociology, politics or anyone else interested in hearing from first-hand accounts of prison, justice and marginalisation. Read more and book here
Rattle Snake: Open Clasp production streaming online
2nd – 6th March | online | £8-10
Open Clasp Theatre Company’s production Rattle Snake is available to stream online this month through Northern Stage in association with Live Theatre. Based on real life stories of women who have faced and survived coercive controlling domestic abuse, the play centres around a chance meeting with one man that changes the lives of two women forever. Developed as a result of research identifying gaps in police understanding of coercive control and on the impact of arts-based research intervention, the play originally debuted in 2017 and has since been used to train police officers to better respond to incidents. British Sign Language (BSL) and subtitles in English and Arabic are available. Stream the play here
Performances and panel on maternal imprisonment for International Women’s Day
11th March | online | free
Join Birth Companions and Clean Break online for a special International Women’s Day event, Disrupted Lives: #ChooseToChallenge Maternal Imprisonment. With performances from Clean Break’s plays and a panel discussion, the event will explore the issues relating to maternal imprisonment; champion women’s resilience through adversity; and open up conversations around how we can drive positive change. Panel members will share perspectives on maternal imprisonment and offer updates on work currently underway to shape policy and ensure women’s voices are heard. Performances will include a scene from Clean Break’s critically acclaimed play [BLANK] and a scene from the unpublished short piece Amazing Amy. Register for free here
Free creative workshops from the National Justice Museum
12th and 14th March | online | free
Drop by the National Justice Museum’s virtual creative space and try making something inspired by the museum collection in the Make it Yours workshop series. The creative sessions are open to all and are led by artists, makers and writers. Drawing on the themes of the museum’s POWER exhibition, the work participants make will help shape the museum’s growing collection. Upcoming workshops look at poetry writing and styrene press printing. Book the workshops here
Workshop series: delivering arts for health and wellbeing
17th, 24th and 31st March | online | free
Delivering Arts for Health & Wellbeing is a series of three free informal workshops delivered by Welsh community arts charity Tanio that will explore what makes an impactful, meaningful, and positive arts in health intervention. Each session will focus on a key element of successful creative health intervention and will include key-note speeches and discussions, live craft-along activities and more. The sessions are designed for artists, community group leaders, volunteers and anyone interested in increasing their knowledge in arts in health. Closed captioning, Welsh and BSL interpretation is available. Register here
The Creativity in Youth Justice Symposium
18th March | online | free
The first Creativity in Youth Justice Symposium will bring together artist educators, youth justice workers and others interested in finding out more about how creative practices can be used in the youth justice system. Led by In Focus Education and Development CiC, the event will celebrate successes and highlight the challenges that both sides face working in the sector. On the programme are keynote speakers, access to resources, and focused workshops from experienced professionals. You can read more about the story behind the symposium in a guest blog on the NCJAA website, written by organiser Xavier Fiddes and available to read here. Sign up for the symposium here
Webinar: How can Arts Practice Inform Policy Change During and Beyond Covid-19?
31st March | online | free
This webinar brings together artists, policy makers, and campaigning organisations to consider how arts practices can inform the recovery and transformation of the prison service during and beyond Covid-19. Speakers from National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, The Prison Reform Trust, and Arts Council England will contribute to a panel, followed by a participatory discussion with attendees. The webinar emerges from Sounding Out, a collaboration between the University of Reading, Rideout, and The Prison Reform Trust that uses audio drama and sound collages to document experiences of incarceration during Covid-19 in HMP Hewell and to explore what future policy reforms people in prison might want following the pandemic. Sign up here
Expert Citizens’ INSIGHT Awards celebrate good practice
31st March | online | free
Join Expert Citizens CiC for the INSIGHT Awards night, featuring performances, speakers, and more. The awards will celebrate examples of positive and outstanding practice that tackle social disadvantages and are judged by people with lived experiences of the systems and services that award winners are aiming to improve. Award winners will receive a grant of £1000 to share their work and good practice. This year’s keynote speakers include poet and Prison Radio host Lady Unchained and award-winning writer Jamal Khan. Expert Citizens is a Community Interest Company led by people with lived experience of homelessness, mental illness, addiction, domestic abuse, poverty or imprisonment. Register for the awards night here
Young Musicians for Social Justice podcast
A new podcast from the Young Musicians for Social Justice group looks at musical projects and ideas that tackle issues from homelessness to peacemaking. The University of Leeds-based group aims to advocate for the use of music to provide sustainable social justice solutions. The first podcast series features scientists, practitioners and musicians sharing their answers to the question "What is the role of music in bringing about social justice?". Among the guests already featured are organisations such as Arts + Homelessness International and Sound Connections. Listen to the podcast here
Images of Release: virtual exhibition showcases post-prison photography
A new virtual photography exhibition, Images of Release, showcases the photography of people recently released from prison and explores their experiences of readjusting to new circumstances. A collaboration between arts charity Soft Touch Arts and photographer Corinne West, the photos were developed through a series of workshops that taught key photography skills, asked participants to reflect on what is important to them and respond through photography. View the exhibition here
Case study: Making music in a pandemic – Good Vibrations
A new Clinks blog highlights the journey music charity Good Vibrations went through during the Covid-19 pandemic and how it adapted to the changing restrictions. As part of a recent report on the impact of Covid-19 on voluntary organisations in the criminal justice system, Clinks is sharing case studies that investigate how organisations have responded to the pandemic. The blog explores the challenges Good Vibrations has faced in delivering gamelan-related musical activity in prisons and how it approached getting resources into prisons, as well as the ways in which its use of digital platforms has inspired more people in the community to join in communal music-making. Read the blog here
New show from Liberty Choir explores the story of music
Liberty Choir’s radio show The Six Building Blocks of Modern Music has been playing across the prison estate on National Prison Radio, and the first episode is now available to listen to on YouTube. Hosted by MJ Paranzino and Richie Simms, the show lets you discover the history of modern music with a new episode released every Sunday until March. In the first episode, MJ and Richie discuss the music sung by enslaved people in 19th century America and how it helped bond their community and communicate the means to escape their enslavement. Listen to the show and subscribe to Liberty Choir’s channel to hear the whole series here
Butler Trust launches Knowledge Exchange to share good practice
The Knowledge Exchange, launched this month by the Butler Trust, is a space for managers and frontline staff in prisons, probation and youth justice services to find and share resources, guidance and examples of notable practice relevant to their roles. Resources on the site include guidance on reducing violence in prison from the Prison Reform Trust; a resource hub around youth justice; a report from Clinks on trauma-informed work and much more. Visit the Knowledge Exchange here
Clinks submits evidence to inquiry into prison education
The Education Select Committee’s inquiry, Education: Are prisoners being left behind? asked for submissions to explore how well prison education supports learners and delivers the skills needed by employers. In its response, Clinks recommended a more diverse prison education curriculum with greater access to arts and creative opportunities. Prior to the pandemic, the government accepted a recommendation by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee for a review of arts in the prison estate; Clinks’ response recommends seeking an update on plans for implementing this review. The response also cites Dame Sally Coates’ review of education in prison, which recommended that there should be no restriction on the use of prison education budgets for arts courses. Read the full response here
Rap workshop and competition for young people
I4YPC, a Greater Manchester based organisation that provides arts and education to young people in contact with the criminal justice system or at risk of exclusion, has launched a new project. RapYourTown is an online rapping workshop and competition for young people in England during lockdown. The competition challenges young people aged 13–19 to write and submit rap that expresses their feelings, observations and thoughts about the area they live in. Any young person aged 13-19 in England can take part, and the workshop is a free resource for youth justice organisations to use with the young people they work with. The workshop and competition are available until 8th March 2021. Find out more here
Creative People and Places call for contributions to December conference
Deadline 15th March
The fourth Creative People & Places Conference, taking place in December 2021, is inviting proposals for conference sessions. Building on the theme of People Place Power, the conference will be a meeting place for everyone interested in shifting approaches in inclusive arts and cultural engagement. Through a series of conversations, practical workshops and creative elements, participants will explore questions around diversity and inclusivity, the role of arts in disrupting power, and the impact of co-creation. Proposals may take the form of panels, workshops, creative activities and more, and should aim to encourage interactivity, action and critical reflection. For freelance practitioners, speaker fees and expenses may be available. Find out more and apply here
Arts Council Wales Connect and Flourish grants reopen
Deadline 17th March
The second round of Arts Council Wales’ Connect and Flourish grants is open for applications until 17th March. Connect and Flourish is a National Lottery supported fund from Arts Council Wales designed to encourage collaborative proposals between organisations, individuals, and creative professionals in Wales. Connect and Flourish grants range from £500 and £150,000 and place a strong emphasis on projects and relationships between individual artists and non-arts groups and organisations, and filling gaps in the arts infrastructure that the current pandemic has exposed. The first round saw the distribution of £2.3m and the second round aims to share a further £2.7m. Find out more and apply here
Holloway prison site: creating a positive legacy for girls and women
Deadline 21st March
Community Plan for Holloway is an independent campaign working to ensure the Islington community is at the heart of the redevelopment of Holloway prison. As part of their campaign, they have launched the Make Space for Women competition, open to organisations, schools and individuals, with £100 prizes, with a deadline of 21st March 2021. They are seeking art/writing entries to express what you think girls and women need, to inform the redevelopment of the former Holloway Prison, which will include services for women and girls as a positive legacy. Find out more about the campaign and take part in the competition here.
Trustee, Irene Taylor Trust
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