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Arts in Corrections resources

This page has links to stories and research findings that provide useful information for anyone involved in using the arts as a tool supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners.

Professor Sylvie Frigon: a research profile

17 April 2018
Sylvie Frigon is a Canadian writer and 
Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. On sabbatical in early 2018, she spent two months at the University of Victoria in Wellington as a visiting scholar in its Institute of Criminology. Her main research areas are women in prison, and issues such as employment, self-mutilation and conjugal homicide. Read more about her research and publications

A challenging but manageable journey

26 February 2018
UK’s Geese Theatre Company facilitates workshops and staff training in prisons, secure mental health settings and in other criminal justice and social welfare contexts. A five-day theatre project with male prisoners at risk of self-harm or suicide focusses on connecting with 
others, letting go of negative beliefs, goal-setting and developing new skills. One participant said: “I had eight years in mental health with nothing that helped. Geese gave me techniques to help me help myself.” Read the article 

Why there should be more art in prisons

26 February 2018
“So, if this has worked so well for us, then why aren’t we able to do more of it?” asked a man in a Scottish prison after a successful week-long drama residency culminating in a performance. Jess Thorpe, a lecturer in the Arts in Justice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, writes about the value of the arts as a rehabilitative and healing tool. Read the article

How to… run arts projects in prisons

26 February 2018
Running arts projects in prisons is some of the most rewarding and powerful work Dan Boyden, Director of The Change Collective in the UK, does. “It’s transformative for them and for me, but it’s not easy, and starting out in the sector can be daunting.” Dan offers some tips for artists and arts practitioners on how to start out. Read more 

Clean Break's Theory of Change report

18 December 2017
Clean Break Theatre Company has recently published Theory of Change, which aims to demonstrate a clear link between its activities and the impact of its work with women. Its work takes place in women’s prisons, theatres, community settings and in its London studios. It was developed over several years through a process of workshops and discussion with staff, and feedback from women who participate in the programme. For more

Role of support workers

19 April 2017
As part of Sound Connections’ "Taking Off" research, the Irene Taylor Trust in the UK was commissioned to explore the role of the support worker when delivering music projects with young people in challenging circumstances. This action research details approaches to the role through interviews with professionals in the field and young people with direct experience of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Making Tracks music project. Read the research

Arts in probation and reintegration in the UK

19 April 2017
Dr Selina Busby, Principal Lecturer in Community Performance and Applied Theatre at the University of London, works in prison settings and with young people in the UK and internationally. On 4 April, she spoke at a meeting of the Arts in Corrections Northern Region Network, organised by the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre at the University of Auckland and by Arts Access Aotearoa. Here, she discussed examples of how innovative through-the-gates theatre and multi-arts projects can contribute to reintegration.Read more about Dr Selina Busby

Arts in Corrections: a report on project outcomes

27 September 2016
"Doing this workshop helped me push myself. I feel a lot more confident to do things like this workshop,” wrote one of the participants in the Looking Glass Prison Theatre Project, held in the Drug Treatment Unit of Arohata Prison in March 2016. Jacqui Moyes, Arts in Corrections Advisor, Arts Access Aotearoa facilitated and co-ordinated this project, along with Creativity in Corrections forums in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. You can download her report on the project outcomes.

PDF icon  Arts in Corrections: a report on project outcomes

Research on women and re-offending

30 March 2016
Understanding what drives the cycle of compulsive behaviour when they re-offend is one of the things women in prison want from a rehabilitation programme, says a report called  Women's Experiences of Reoffending and Rehabilitation. The research report was written by Marianne Bevan, Research Advisor, Department of Corrections, and Nan Wehipeihana , independent research consultant.Read more

Research on performing arts in Australian prisons

27 November 2015
Performing arts have become a growing worldwide presence in prisons over the past 30 years, attracting academic and media attention, says a summary report on research conducted by Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. The report, Captive Audiences: the impact of performing arts programs in Australian prisons, discusses the myriad forms of performing arts projects in Australian prisons and points to the lack of research documenting these projects. Read more

Impact of Holyoake's DRUMBEAT Programme

25 April 2015
DRUMBEAT (Discovering Relationships Using Music – Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes and Thoughts) is an evidence-based intervention developed by the Holyoake Institute to improve mental, social and emotional wellbeing in high-risk populations. This report discusses the research on the DRUMBEAT programmes in seven Western Australian prisons: for example, Bunbury Prison, a maximum security prison for men, 183km from Perth. Read more

Evaluating creative writing programme

26 November 2014
An independent evaluation of a creative writing programme delivered in 28 UK prisons demonstrated that creative writing and other arts opportunities positive experiences, improved literacy and employability skills. More than 250 prisoners took part in the Write to be Heard creative writing workshops, with 82% of them saying that the workshops made them think differently about themselves. The project also included a national creative writing competition that attracted 265 entries.  Read more about the key findings and to download the full report

Prison art exhibition guidelines

14 August 2014
Thinking about putting together an exhibition of prison art? Preparing for an exhibition can come with a variety of challenges but also great rewards. Exhibitions are an opportunities to engage with the local community and acknowledge the hard work and talent that can produce a good piece of art. They can also be a way to fundraise for appropriate and relevant charities.  For more information and guidelines about putting on an exhibition, read Art Exhibition Guidelines prepared by Arts Access Aotearoa and the Department of Corrections. You can also contact Jacqui Moyes - Arts in Corrections Advisor (T: +64 4 802 4349 E:




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