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
NCJAA staffing updates
Anne Fox, Clinks CEO and the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) Co-Chairs have been discussing future plans for the NCJAA. They are currently looking at the NCJAA Director job role and recruitment processes, with a view to recruiting for a new Director for the Alliance. We are very grateful to Rebecca Hammond who has been in post as Interim Director since September. Rebecca has decided to step down from the role at this stage and will be doing so in early February. She will be staying in Clinks’ employment and will be around to support NCJAA colleagues where helpful as part of the wider team. Watch this space for more information on the new Director role and application timeline and process.
Harpreet Kaur joins the NCJAA as Development Officer
We’re thrilled to welcome Harpreet Kaur to the NCJAA team as our new Development Officer. Harpreet will work to strengthen the NCJAA network in all regions of the UK, initially focussing on the West Midlands and North West. Prior to joining, Harpreet developed a 20-year portfolio career as a researcher, consultant, facilitator, and arts manager, focusing on embedding cultural practice into key areas including equality, diversity and climate justice. Read more about Harpreet here
Blog: How HMP Pentonville adapted music sessions for lockdown
In the face of lockdown restrictions and cancelled group activities in summer 2020, the team at HMP Pentonville’s Wellbeing Centre had to look for another way to provide the human contact and interaction key to their service. In this blog for the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, Wellbeing Centre Manager Deborah Murphy shares how the team managed to adapt group music-making activities to the new restrictions and continue to provide opportunities for creative connection. Read the blog here
Clinks’ report charts impact of Covid-19 for arts organisations
In our recent research report into the impact of Covid-19 on voluntary organisations in England and Wales, Clinks and the NCJAA have highlighted real cause for concern about the impact of Covid-19 on arts in criminal justice. There are, however, reasons for optimism: despite the challenges they have faced, arts organisations have responded innovatively to the restrictions in place in the community and prisons. Clinks' report explores the impact of the pandemic, the ways in which arts organisations have adapted, and the outlook for the future of arts in criminal justice. It also features a case study of music charity Good Vibrations and how they found new ways to deliver musical activities in restricted prison regimes. Read the full report including an arts snapshot from pages 67-75 here
NCJAA network hangout: staying connected through another lockdown
We’re pleased to be joined today by the NCJAA network for our first online hangout of 2021. Throughout 2020, arts in criminal justice organisations have had to radically adapt provision and approaches to stay connected with the people they work to support. The new year brings new challenges and new opportunities to use the experiences of the last year to engage creatively and meaningfully with people in the criminal justice system. We’re hearing from Esther Baker of Synergy Theatre to talk about the work that saw them recognised in The Stage 100 list for 2021; and David Kendall, to share how the Making it Up project gave fathers in prison a way to connect with their families over lockdown through storytelling. Check our Twitter feed for event highlights here
Join the discussion on our LinkedIn group
We’re reinvigorating our LinkedIn page - please join us there, to connect with others in the network and beyond. On our LinkedIn page, you can find out about network activities, share news and stay connected - LinkedIn is a popular site among HMPPS staff, so this is a great way to maintain connections during lockdown, and even build new ones. Apply to join the group here
Want to include something in the next newsletter?
We will be sending our next newsletter on Thursday 25th February. Please email email@example.com with any news, research, events, opportunities or blog proposals by Thursday 18th February.
The Forgotten People: racial inequality in the criminal justice system
28th January | online | free
The Forgotten People, a poem and film written and performed by artist and poet Lady Unchained, was released earlier this month. Written in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020, the poem explores racial inequality in the UK prison system and was transformed into a film in partnership with ArtsAdmin. You can hear more from the poet and from filmmaker Tracy Kiryango at 5pm on 28th January at an online screening and Q&A about the making of the film. Watch the film here
International panel discussion with music in detention experts
2nd February | online | free
Explore the impact of music in prisons and detention with experts from around the world at the Social Impact of Music Making (SIMM) annual SIMMposium. From 12th January to 9th March, international research platform SIMM brings together some of the world’s leading specialists to explore themes that combine music and activism in weekly online discussions. On 2nd February, the second of two sessions on the topic of music in detention features a discussion between academics and practitioners from the UK, the US and across Europe about the role of art and culture in criminal justice and detention settings. Register for free here
New Synergy Theatre playwriting course open
From 9th February | online | free
Spaces are available on a new online playwriting course from Synergy Theatre, designed for people with lived experience of the criminal justice system. The Not Black & White course will see participants work with a professional playwright over four sessions to create a short play that looks at racial inequality in the criminal justice system. The final script will then be performed by professional actors. Those with writing experience or a strong interest in learning to write for the stage are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications close on 3rd February and interviews will be conducted over Zoom. To find out more, apply, or refer someone, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine If graduates discuss theatre in prison in new film
Available now | online | free
A new short film from theatre company Imagine If gives a snapshot of the impact that theatre can have in criminal justice settings. Free as a Bird was created in collaboration with graduates from Imagine If’s Bird on the Wing programme, a theatre and employability intervention delivered in prisons that uses evidence-led theatre techniques to build interpersonal skills, communications skills, employability and personal narratives. Having now left prison, the participants reflect on their experiences and how taking part in theatre activities in prison shaped the path they are on. Watch the film here
Prison regime delivery during national lockdown: the latest
A new blog from Clinks’ policy team provides an update on what the prison regime now looks like after the implementation of national restrictions in England and Wales earlier this month. In light of evidence from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) that shows the damaging effect that protracted time spent in cells has on mental health, there is now a recognition of the need to provide greater support to people in prison during this lockdown. To this end, HMPPS has given direction to governors to ensure the continuation of services that can be facilitated in-cell and to work with education providers to continue to deliver in-cell learning wherever possible. Read the full blog here
New research into combined dance & drama project in CJS settings
A new report from the Psychosocial Research Unit from the University of Central Lancashire, Building Resilience and Overcoming Adversity through Dance & Drama, investigates the impact of a dance and theatre workshop that took place in secure settings, including a category C prison and two secure homes for children, in 2019. A collaboration between Odd Arts Theatre and Company Chameleon, the project aimed to improve communication skills, self-esteem, wellbeing, and resilience. The report looks at how combining dance and theatre enabled participants to learn experientially about the relationship between their emotions and their bodies, and created opportunities for self-reflection. Alongside these findings, the report identifies priority themes and principles of good facilitator practice. The report will be published on the Evidence Library shortly. Read the full report here
Koestler Awards 2021 now open
The Koestler Awards 2021 is 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. 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
Case studies: how creative community projects adapted to Covid-19
Creative People and Places’ Arts Council England-funded projects work directly with communities to develop arts programmes on their doorstep. When the Covid-19 lockdown came into force, the projects had to adjust and develop their ways of working in response to this unexpected context. Creative People and Places has produced a case study series taking a look at how the projects have worked with their communities and what they have learnt. Each case study takes a look at a different aspect of adapting work, from working with artists to place-based digital engagement, and is accompanied by a short video. Read more here
The Stage 100 list 2021 recognises theatre’s lockdown heroes
Usually a list of theatre’s most influential figures, the Stage 100 list breaks with tradition this year to showcase those who have gone above and beyond in their response to the challenges theatre faces in the wake of Covid-19. As well as recognising trailblazers in adapting theatre for new contexts, it highlights those who focused on serving local communities and helping to ensure their colleagues’ wellbeing. Among those recognised on the list are Michael Balogun, an actor with lived experience of the prison system who in 2020 played the lead in Death of England: Delroy at the National Theatre, and Esther Baker and Jenny McClure at Synergy Theatre for their playwriting competition and other activities delivered through prison radio and TV. Read the full list here
People in prison connect with family through writing project
White Water Writers and Novus have adapted their writing and family engagement project to enable learners to continue to engage despite the challenge of Covid-19 restrictions in prisons. The reimagined version of the programme was able to reach larger groups of learners, helping them to feel connected to their families, improve literacy and support mental wellbeing during lockdown. Participants learnt how to plan, write and proofread a story, as well as how to write stories to appeal to their young family members. Each created a short story based on a fictional character. An anthology of the stories has now been published and is available for sale, with all proceeds going to charity. Read how they adapted the project here
Youth Music Incubator Fund open to applications
Apply by 5th February
The second round of the Youth Music Incubator Fund is now open and is looking to fund music organisations to provide creative projects, career development support and holistic support to young people. The fund is designed to help open up access to sustainable careers in music for people aged 18-25, particularly those who are underrepresented, and to support creative employers to innovate and incubate new and diverse talent. Grants of £5,000 to £30,000 are available to businesses, collectives, and not-for-profits working in the music industries. Apply here
Collective Power: 2021 CHWA awards call for submissions
Apply by 12th February
Submissions are now open for the 2021 Culture, Health and Wellbeing Awards, which this year is offering awards in the categories of climate, practitioner care, and collective power. A collaboration between the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA), the Ideas Alliance and the Lived Experience Network, the Collective Power award aims to recognise an inspiring project, collective or movement of people in which meaningful partnership and co-production has improved the wellbeing of individuals and communities through culture and creativity. There is no cash prize, but winning entries will be showcased by CHWA and their partners. Find out more and apply here
Arts Council Wales Connect and Flourish grants reopen
Apply by 17th February
The second round of Arts Council Wales’ ‘Connect and Flourish’ grants is set to open on 17th February. ‘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. Find out more and apply here
‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ Fund for individual practitioners
Apply by 18th February
Arts Council England (ACE) has opened applications for another round of the ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ Fund, which helps individual practitioners focus on their creative development by funding training, events, research, travel, mentoring, or time to develop ideas. This year, the fund is open to a wider range of practitioners and only requires one year's experience outside of a formal educational setting. Grants range from £2000 to £10000 and are being distributed over four rounds between October 2020 and October 2021. For more information on how to apply, including easy-read application guidelines and case studies of previous successful applications, visit the ACE website here
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Clinks manages the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) and is the legally accountable body for all official NCJAA activity.
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