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Arts in Corrections media links

Major gaps with arts programmes in prison, despite value - report

11 September 2021
“A national Arts in Corrections framework or set of guidelines would super-charge the department’s ability to deliver the many benefits of arts and cultural programmes for people in prisons and help address New Zealand’s poor prison statistics,” says Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, in an article by Stuff’s Andre Chumko about The benefits of Arts in Corrections: literature review, prepared by Arts Access Aotearoa.
Read the article, Major gaps with arts programmes in prisons, despite value – report

Creative writing at Mt Eden Corrections Facility

1 February 2021
“It all started up with an idea … ” Young Auckland writers Zak Devey and Eric Soakai of Youth Arts NZ talk to Lynn Freeman on RNZ’s Standing Room Only about the value in teaching creative writing
to rangatahi in Mt Eden Corrections Facility and their plans for 2021. Listen 

Art behind bars

28 November 2020
“In lockdown, there were a lot of jokes and memes about feeling like prisoners – except with Netflix. But what is it really like to be locked up – and does art have the same impact in prison that it did for so many New Zealanders during the height of COVID?” An article on The Big Idea website looks at the value of art on the mental health and wellbeing of prisoners through the lens of Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020. Read more

Spotlight on Māori incarceration

24 August 2020
In 1989, Kim Workman was the first Māori appointed operational head of New Zealand prisons.Today, the prison reformist believes the institutions should be abolished. Frank Film’s latest two episodes in its Changing South series put the spotlight on the growth of Māori incarceration since European settlement and include an extended interview with Kim Workman to better understand how and why it happened. It also looks at Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections’ new strategy, Hōkai Rangi, implemented with a desire to turn the tide on growing Māori rates of imprisonment. Read more and view the video

Volunteering at Springhill Corrections Facility

1 July 2020
Grant Sharman, a 58-year-old tetraplegic mouth painter, volunteers at Spring Hill Corrections facility every Wednesday. He says he gets more out of the art classes than the inmates. “Their reaction is phenomenal, they're extremely polite. There are some real characters because you are dealing with guys who have varying degrees of mental health issues. I just see them as other people. I don't see them as inmates. We have a lot of fun.” Read the Stuff story

Positive change at Waikeria Prison

1 November 2019
Waikeria Prison is one of five North Island Corrections facilities operating a Māori Focus Unit called Te Ao Mārama. These units aim to bring about positive changes in offenders' thinking and behaviour through the practice of Māori values and disciplines, and specialist programmes. Read the Stuff article

Ballet transforming lives

1 November 2019
"Every week you can just see them become more confident. With confidence comes the drive to want to get better. They're very engaged and very present." Pagan Dorgan, senior dance educator for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, has been teaching ballet to prisoners in Wellington, Christchurch – and now Auckland. Read the Stuff article 

Former prisoners carve out new future with art

8 July 2019
A series of workshops and an exhibition Whakapuakitanga: Expressions, facilitated by PARS Inc – People at Risk Solutions (PARS) in Auckland from 4 to 6 July, gave the exhibiting artists an outlet to express their feelings, connect with like-minded people and showcase their work to whānau, friends and the public.

Watch the Maori TV interview

Watch the Newshub interview

How teaching art to women in prison changed their outlook

29 May 2019
UK art teacher Mim Skinner spent two years teaching art to prisoners. Now she’s written a book, Jailbirds: Lessons from a Women’s Prison, to change people’s view of incarcerated women – and how we can support them on the outside. The art classes gave them space to think about and articulate some truths and realities about their lives, often for the first time. Read more 

Arts in prisons a 'vital' social investment

17 May 2018
"The arts can be a vital part in the new campaign to cut the growing prison population in New Zealand. International evidence shows that prisoners who take part in arts programmes are much less likely to end up back in prison. Drama, dance, creative writing and painting classes in prisons might seem at worst like another way of mollycoddling criminals or at best a 'nice to have' add-on. In fact, they can help slash recidivism rates," says Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, in this opinion piece published on Stuff





Chris Ulutupu
CHRIS ULUTUPU: Chris is Arts in Corrections Advisor, Arts Access Aotearoa (T: 04 802 4349 E: Chris works Monday to Wednesday. More about Chris
READ: Chris' latest blog, Arts in Corrections in COVID-19 times

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