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
Annual survey 2021: Tell us about your work
Deadline 30th March
The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) 2021 survey is now open - take the survey and let us know what you think. We know access to arts and creative activity for people in contact with the criminal justice system has never been more vital. The survey is a chance for you to share the important work you do and to let us know how we can support it. The survey should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete and will be used to inform and improve the practical support we provide to our network and our influencing work with key officials and decision-makers. Submit a response by the 30th of March here
Making It Up: parents in prison connecting through stories
Give a Book workshop leader David Kendall joins us in this guest blog to share the importance of storytelling and how, over lockdown, it has been keeping prisoners connected with their families. The Making It Up project from Give a Book supports parents in prison to bond with their children by creating storybooks. As well as being a way for people to express themselves creatively and challenge themselves, the project aims to use the power of stories to strengthen bonds between fathers and their children. In the blog, David talks about the different kinds of stories people tell and how the project is providing opportunities for people in prison to connect with their families throughout lockdown. Read the blog here
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We will be sending our next newsletter on Thursday 29th April. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any news, research, events, opportunities or blog proposals by Wednesday 21st April.
After Time: music and storytelling from Kestrel Theatre
28th March | online | free/pay what you feel
Kestrel Theatre’s After Time 2 presents an hour of music and storytelling about the problems and possibilities of finding yourself in a new life after leaving prison. Kestrel sends arts professionals to work collaboratively with people in or with experience of the criminal justice system to produce original pieces of work. For this project four Kestrel alumni have been working with playwright Simon Longman to create fictional stories. The men will be performing these stories as readings on Zoom, accompanied by live music. To join the event please email Arabella Warner at email@example.com
Panel: How can arts practice inform policy change?
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. Guests including NCJAA Co-Chair Simon Ruding and speakers from the Prison Reform Trust and Arts Council England will contribute to a panel discussion, which will be followed by a participatory discussion with attendees. This webinar emerges from the Sounding Out project, a collaboration between the University of Reading, Rideout Creative Arts for Rehabilitation, and the Prison Reform Trust that explores how creative sound and audio practices might bring the voices of people in prison into policy making conversations. Register here
A Culture of Care Conference
21st-23rd April | online | £50-£100, bursaries available
The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA) national conference and 2021 Awards will focus this year on the theme of care, including caring for each other, caring for the environment and caring economies. Sessions will explore issues that have been amplified by Covid-19, including practitioner support; challenging health inequalities; and working more collaboratively and intersectionally. The conference will spotlight good practice from around the UK and in particular the East Midlands, including virtual visits and performances from regional organisations Baby People, Hubbub Theatre Company, Air Arts and Derby Museums. In response to pandemic-related financial challenges, various ticket prices, ticket sharing options, and a limited number of bursaries are available. View the programme and book here
HMP to Hope: Escaping the Frame Symposium at Tate Liverpool
8th May | online | free
A symposium from TATE Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University will explore arts-based approaches to prison education and rehabilitation. Topics of discussion include the opportunities for those inside and outside the prison system to work together and share practices in the interests of rehabilitation. The day will offer opportunities to explore the collaborative work currently taking place in the UK from the perspectives of prison governors, prison educators, researchers in applied arts, local artists and former prisoners. Get your ticket here
Plays written by prisoners reinterpret 17th century witch trials
Suffolk-based theatre company Red Rose Chain has launched two new audio plays written by two residents at HMP Warren Hill, telling stories inspired by 17th century witch trials. The plays were produced as part of a National Lottery Heritage Fund project working with prisoners serving whole-life orders, and explore the complexities of redemption. Written in response to creative packs sent into the prison over lockdown, the scripts were then produced professionally as audio dramas. Listen to the plays here
Writing lyrics with new National Prison Radio show
Brenda Birungi a.k.a. Lady Unchained joins National Prison Radio with a new show about lyrics, verse and rap, broadcast in prisons and online. Each week on BARS, Lady Unchained will be joined by rappers, spoken word artists and poets who'll share tips, tricks and techniques to help listeners put their story to paper. Each episode will also include a couple of instrumentals to give listeners a chance to practice. The debut episode features Otis Mensah, a former poet laureate of Sheffield who uses jazz-inspired hip hop beats to share his thoughts and journey. Listen to the first episode here
Listen along to shared reading programmes on prison radio
Following a successful pilot project in 2020, The Reader has collaborated with the Prison Radio Association on a new series of programmes for broadcast in prisons around the UK. Before the pandemic, The Reader was delivering weekly shared reading groups in 35 Approved Premises and prisons in the UK. The team developed radio programmes to ensure that existing group members have continued access to shared reading and to give those who haven’t attended a group before a chance to experience its benefits. Each episode is a mini shared reading session which lasts for around 50 minutes. A number of guests will also be appearing throughout the series, including poets Clare Shaw and Ian MacMillan, and writer Alex Wheatle. Find out more and listen here
Drama workshops help create advice booklet for prisoners
In autumn 2020 prison arts specialists Rideout delivered a series of drama workshops at HMP Hewell exploring strategies for maintaining relationships with family and friends whilst serving a sentence. The workshops focused on creating a booklet for prisoners and a website for family and friends, both addressing the issues people face when in custody and offering simple advice to help people in prison stay connected. The 28 Days booklet has now been published and a copy is being given to every new prisoner as part of the prison’s induction process. The website is an electronic version of the same resource complete with audio recordings made in the prison with participants. Visit the 28 Days website here
Centre for Cultural Value launches resource hub
A new resource hub from the Centre for Cultural Value brings together knowledge on research, evaluation and cultural value. The hub includes short guides to help you get started with your own research projects by providing practical tips and questions to consider before starting out, looking at topics from developing a research question to brokering a successful academic partnership and co-commissioning research. The resource hub also features case studies from cultural practitioners and recommended reading on relevant topics from academics. You can also catch up on the Centre for Cultural Value’s past webinars, including sessions from the What value culture? festival in November 2020. Visit the resource hub here
Koestler Awards 2021 now open for submissions
The annual Koestler Awards from Koestler Arts welcome artists of all levels and artforms from prisons, secure hospitals and probation services. They offer cash awards (of between £20 - £100), written feedback, certificates, mentoring, publication, exhibition and sale opportunities. Around three and a half thousand people enter yearly, providing a creative outlet and wider recognition for their work. This year's awards will have a later deadline of 1st June and will accept up to ten entries per person, rather than the usual five. The Themed Category for this year is ‘Together’. Every entry to the Koestler Awards is in with a chance of being selected for the Koestler Arts annual UK exhibition at the Southbank Centre in London. This September, artist Camille Walala will be curating the show. Find out more here
Music in Detention becomes Hear Me Out
The charity formerly known as Music in Detention has changed its name to Hear Me Out to reflect its mission of providing a platform for people held in UK immigration detention centres to share their music and life stories with the outside world. The new Hear Me Out website features music created as part of the charity’s work over the years, as well as the stories of the people behind the music. Read more on the new Hear Me Out website here
Free Creative Writing in Prison coursebook
The AHRC-funded Prisoner Publishing project, run by Lucy Bell (University of Surrey) and Joey Whitfield (Cardiff University), is offering a free coursebook, Creative Writing in Prison, with accessible examples, tips, and activities to help writers to get started and spark inspiration. It includes contributions from writers, rappers and comic artists, some of whom started writing while in prison. The coursebook is designed to support imprisoned people to get into creative writing from their cells in times of lockdown and beyond. Any written entries resulting from this coursebook may be sent to Lucy Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th May for online publication as part of the Prisoner Publishing project. Read and download the coursebook here
Arts and Mental Health Programme funding
Deadline 21st April
Grants of between £10,000 and £40,000 are available from the Baring Foundation’s Arts and Mental Health Programme. This new fund is for projects that promote the role of creativity in the lives of people with mental health problems from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The foundation is looking to fund projects that find ways to attract participatory artists from ethnically diverse communities into this area of work and to support them. Examples might include shadowing, internships or apprenticeships, or mentoring or free training opportunities. The fund is also for projects that offer creative opportunities to members of specific ethnically diverse communities who have mental health problems. Find out more and apply by 21st April here
Trustees, Clean Break
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