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National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice News | November 2014

The newsletter for arts organisations working in criminal justice

In this month's issue...

National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice news

A successful Anne Peaker lecture and debate

On Monday 17th November, we held our annual Anne Peaker lecture and debate at the Southbank Centre in London. This year, it focused on a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the arts in the Criminal Justice System (CJS), and was a great opportunity to explore the ongoing issues around evidencing the value of the arts in the CJS. The fantastic key note lecture was delivered by Professor Sarah Colvin from the University of Cambridge, and this was followed by a panel discussion. The panel consisted of writer Dreda Say Mitchell; Shân Maclennan, Creative Director, Learning and Participation at the Southbank Centre; Andrew Dickinson, Governor of HMP Wealstun, and Amanda Richardson, a Clean Break student. The event ended with an inspiring performance of two songs by Clean Break students Andi, Cristina, Griselda, Jo, Kris, Lee, Liz, Maris, Nicola, Nicki, Tracy and Red. Many thanks to all of those involved and to everyone who came along. We'll be uploading a recording of the event, as well as a transcript of the lecture very soon - watch this space!

The deadline is fast approaching for our annual survey!

Each year we ask our members to complete a brief survey about their experience of the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice. The answers we receive are incredibly useful in shaping our future work. If you have five minutes to spare, we would be extremely grateful if you could answer some questions about our work as well as the wider arts and criminal justice sector. Deadline 3rd December. Click here to complete the survey

From the Evidence Library...

'The Arts of Desistance: Evaluation of the Koestler Trust Arts Mentoring Programme for Former Prisoners' discusses the findings of an evaluation of an arts-based mentoring scheme that is aimed at prolonging and enhancing desistance from crime through providing former prisoners with opportunities to continue engaging with the arts after release. The research found long-term positive effects on the mentored offenders, especially pro-social attitudes that reduce the likelihood of reoffending. Unemployment among the sample group fell from 50% to 33%. Click here to read the full evaluation.

Events & training

Should you forgive the unforgiveable? 

1st December 2014 | London | £11

At this Forgiveness Project event you will hear from Richard McCann, whose mother became the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper a week before his sixth birthday. The tragedy went on to trigger a downward spiral into abuse, pain and prison until Richard was able to use his experience to take responsibility for positive change. It was writing his best-selling autobiography 'Just a Boy' that finally allowed him to confront his past. Richard will share his powerful story and then enter into conversation with Marina Cantacuzino; The Forgiveness Project's founder and director, to consider how contributing to the charity's prison work may have helped his journey of restoration and healing. Click here for more information.

Clinks workshops: improve your bid writing

3rd and 10th December 2014, 6.30pm | London and Newcastle | Free

As part of Clinks' Ministry of Justice infrastructure grant funding, Candour Collaborations are delivering 'Writing Winning Bids' training workshops in London and Newcastle. These free one day workshops will support voluntary organisations operating in the Criminal Justice System to win business through high quality, high scoring Expressions of Interests, Pre-Qualification Questionnaires and Invitation to Tenders. They will address the most effective ways to identify contract and sub-contract opportunities, write strong narrative responses and engage prime contractors to secure your position within supply chains. Click here for more information

Creating Links Conference

3rd December 2014, 10.30am - 5pm | Oval House, London | £10 - £40

Targeted youth arts make a positive impact on children and young people's resilience, wellbeing and future prospects, but is there sufficient robust research to support a change in social and cultural policy to continue to support such work? The Creating Links Conference will gather arts organisations, researchers and local authorities at the forefront of effective research and delivery to consider how the sectors can jointly influence policy and work together so that the most disadvantaged of children and young people can make the most of their lives. It will feature speakers leading research in social policy, and topics will include exclusion and employment. Click here for more information.

Talking Justice: transforming lives

3rd December 2014, 9am - 4pm | The Watershed, Bristol | Free

The Prison Reform Trust's Talking Justice programme aims to inform public debate about crime and justice, and to forge strong community partnerships to transform the lives of those in the justice system. This collaboration between the Prison Reform Trust and the University of the West of England, Bristol, aims to stimulate debate on the future direction of criminal justice. It will appeal to those working across the full range of agencies and organisations in the Criminal Justice System. The event is themed around hate crime, sex offending and private versus state justice provision. Click here for more information

Women's Support Centre: New Beginnings Arts Awards 2014

Until 7th December 2014 | The Lightbox, Woking | Free

Following last year's show, this exhibition will again showcase the diverse range of artistic talent displayed by women in contact with the Criminal Justice System across Surrey. The exhibition will consist of work submitted to the Women's Support Centre, which is open to all women in Surrey Prisons or those in contact with the Criminal Justice System. Participation and achievement in the arts motivates, inspires and helps women to develop the skills needed to lead a more positive life. Click here for more information.


Arts and criminal justice news

Safe Ground share their knowledge in the British Virgin Islands

Safe Ground, an organisation enhancing empathy and encouraging expression through drama, dialogue and debate, has long held ambitions to export their methodologies outside the UK. Earlier this year, they were invited to travel to the British Virgin Islands to work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to design an effective relationships programme for HMP Balsam Ghut. Their special operations team has just returned from a ten day visit, where they worked with both prisoners and prison officers to find new ways to negotiate their relationship dynamics with people inside and outside of the prison. Stay tuned for more about their trip via Twitter and their blog

Develop your organisation to compete for public service contracts

Clinks, in partnership with the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), are offering a small number of free one-to-one sessions to support Clinks members with their business development needs. The dedicated support (only available to Clinks members) will focus on how you can develop your unique selling points, build collaborative relationships, and write compelling bids and proposals. If you are interested in being considered, you will need to submit your details and Clinks will be in touch as soon as possible. Click here to apply for one-to-one support.

New degree course rolled out by The Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning department

The Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning department, an ArtWorks London pathfinder, has been working to develop a new undergraduate pathway. The new Performance and Creative Enterprise degree is aimed at artists from a range of musical and theatre backgrounds - including performers, makers, singers, instrumentalists, devisors, spoken word artists, beatboxers and poets. It is intended to prepare students as artists to be thinkers, makers and doers who can collaborate, communicate and lead in a range of cultural and socially engaged contexts. The course will aim to develop students' curiosity, stimulate their imagination and help them to generate original work, while preparing for life in the professional arts industry, with a strong focus on entrepreneurship and employability. Click here for more information

National restorative justice mapping project

The Restorative Justice Council (RJC) has published the results of a national restorative justice mapping project. The RJC commissioned researchers at the Hallam Centre for Community Justice at Sheffield Hallam University to undertake the project, which aimed to provide a snapshot of restorative justice provision across England and Wales. A national restorative justice mapping exercise is unprecedented in the UK and this is therefore the first time the RJC has been able to provide a picture of provision across the country, one that includes detailed information about the use and availability of restorative justice. Jon Collins, RJC CEO, said: "This mapping project demonstrated just how far restorative justice has come in recent years, from a niche subject to a mainstream issue." Click here to read the full report.

Prisoners to be allowed more than twelve books in their cells

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has sent an 'urgent' policy update to prison governors, granting them permission to allow prisoners to hold more than twelve books at a time. The rule change, which has been introduced 'with immediate effect' follows months of campaigning. The Howard League for Penal Reform's Books for Prisoners campaign received media coverage across the world. The NOMS policy update, dated 7th November, states: "Given the particularly important role books can play in rehabilitation, with immediate effect, Governors may exercise a discretion to allow prisoners to have more than twelve books in possession where they are below their overall volumetric control limit. This amendment applies to books only." Click here for the Howard League's press release

Six Book Challenge in prisons

Launched nationally by The Reading Agency in 2008, the Six Book Challenge has grown five-fold in seven years with at least 40,000 people registering in 2014 through colleges, public libraries, workplaces and prisons. The Reading Agency are now working with the Prison Radio Association, supported by NOMS, to get all prisons in England and Wales running the Six Book Challenge over the Christmas holiday period. Prisons achieving significant numbers of completers will be eligible for free Harper Collins dictionaries supplied by the charity Give a Book and for gold/silver/bronze awards from The Reading Agency. Click here for more information

English PEN's prison writing competition is open for entries

For the last 14 years, English PEN has brought writers and their books into prison communities across the UK. This is the fourth year they have run their writing competition for prisoners, and they are delighted to announce that multi-award-winning author Meg Rosoff is this year's judge. There will be the usual themed categories for fiction, memoir, poetry, flash fiction and for the communities of keen readers in prisons, the book review section. English PEN will publish the winners, runners-up and highly commended entries in a pamphlet. The closing date for entries is 12th December 2014. Click here for more information

More in arts and criminal justice...

  • Birmingham's Newman University has published a report looking at the different ways it is exploring how drama can be applied in health and wellbeing settings.


Resources & publications

Journal of perspectives on the value of art and culture

The Arts Council is publishing the State of the Arts report with the aim of starting a conversation about the importance of public funding for arts and culture. 'Create: a journal of perspectives on the value of art and culture' features a series of thought-provoking pieces from a wide range of contributors about the world we live in, with a focus on education, economy, our health, our hopes as a society, and the role arts and culture play within these areas. The writers have contributed essays on a range of areas that resonate with public concerns and policy development, from what taxpayers get in return for their money, to using art to make exercise more exciting. Click here for more information

Getting to grips with commissioning

Strategic commissioning enables commissioners to procure services that will deliver the priority outcomes which are set out in the strategic plans of their organisations. The Local Government Association (LGA) document 'Understanding commissioning: a practical guide for the culture and sport sector' gives a useful definition and notes that commissioning takes place across a wide range of public services. It also aims to clarify the difference between commissioning and procurement. Click here for more information

This newsletter is written monthly by Kate Davey.

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Clinks manages the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice and is the legally accountable body for all official National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice activity. Clinks is a registered charity registration no 1074546 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales no 3562176