Moving on: highlights of Arts in Corrections role
13 December 2018
An exhibition of prisoner art in Parliament, meeting like-minded people at a conference in Brisbane, touring New Zealand with the founder of the Shakespeare Behind Bars programme and facilitating a year-long drama project at Arohata Prison are among the highlights of Jacqui Moyes’ time as Arts in Corrections Advisor at Arts Access Aotearoa.
Jacqui, who finished at Arts Access Aotearoa on Thursday 6 December, remembers putting together an exhibition of prisoner art in Parliament in late 2012.
“This was my first big job after I started at Arts Access Aotearoa in September that year,” she says. “As well as the artworks from prisons, there was also a work that had been gifted to Parliament’s art collection from Auckland Prison when Robyn Hughes was the art tutor there. It was called Rona and the Moon and represented my close connections with the north.
“There’s a photo of me standing in front of Rona and the Moon with Dr Pita Sharples, who opened the exhibition as Associate Minister of Corrections.”
Some of Jacqui’s other highlights are:
- attending and presenting at two conferences (Captive Audiences in Brisbane and the Performance of Hope in Auckland). “They shaped my career and connected me to wonderful people such as Penny Glass, Peter O’Connor and Molly Mullen. It’s really important to take time out to reflect on your work, and be inspired by other practitioners and academics.”
- touring nationally with Shakespeare Behind Bars’ founder Curt Tofteland and Professor Peter O’Connor from the University of Auckland in 2015. A theatre workshop at Northland Region Corrections Facility kicked off what became known as the Redemption Performing Arts programme. “It was soon after my mentor, Celia Lashlie, died and the community workshops quickly became focused on self-care in frontline work. This was what instigated the Arts in Corrections Network."
- working with committed artists, women and staff on The Looking Glass Prison Theatre Project in 2016. “It was a challenging, year-long project at Arohata Prison that resulted in three productions, and a whole lot or self-expression and creativity in Corrections.”
- facilitating the Northland Arts in Corrections hui, the first one held inside a prison and led by the prison artists. “It was amazing to see how engaged and motivated the men and the arts team at Northland were. At the end, the men and the officers performed a haka for Beth, Simon and me.”
- supporting and then attending the Prison Voices event at Arohata and Rimutaka Prisons. “The writers, the Write Where You Are tutors, Corrections staff and the New Zealand Festival invited local and international guests into the prisons to hear the brilliance of the men and women who live inside. At the end of the event, international writers spoke about the impact of this experience and it affirmed for me the power that voices inside had to make social change if they are listened to.”
Asked what she is most proud to have achieved as Arts in Corrections Advisor, Jacqui says: “That during a time of great challenge in Aotearoa, politically and socially, I managed to hold the space for creativity in Corrections – and possibly even grow it a little!”
The most rewarding aspect of her role was working creatively in a space where honesty and authenticity are crucial. “Working with the prison community over the past six years has sustained my hope that creativity can build strong, healthy communities and provide a platform for us to connect with each other, with staff and whānau.”
Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa, describes Jacqui as “a wayfinder” for everything within and outside Corrections and the arts. “She has established the path for us to follow and build upon.”
Beth Hill, Northland Region Corrections Facility’s programme leader for arts, self-directed learning and living skills, worked with Jacqui on a number of projects over the past six years. She describes Jacqui as “tenacious, warm and inspiring”.
“Jacqui advocates for facilitators like me and our students with integrity and out-of-the-box thinking,” Beth says. “Our partnership has enabled me to drive the arts at NRCF as a vehicle for change and to inspire community members locally, nationally and globally to take the leap of faith and join us on our waka.”
Lawrence Ereatara, Residential Manager, Special Focus Units, Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, says the prison has been privileged to work with Jacqui over the past six years.
“Jacqui has provided us with guidance, support and networking opportunities that have enhanced our capabilities in the contemporary and creative art space.”
At her farewell, Lawrence presented Jacqui with a putiputi (an original flax flower from the formerly known Māori Focus Unit) and a taonga manaia (bone carving).
“The putiputi represents our whakapapa, our connection to papatuanuku (mother earth) and was dyed the colours of our local Iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu.
“The facing manaia represents her future hopes, dreams and aspirations. The smaller manaia represents the people that have been privileged to undertake journeys or be a part of her inspiration.”
Ko te pae tawhiti whaia kia tata.
Ko te pae tata whakamaua kia tina.