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National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice News | October 2014

The newsletter for arts organisations working in criminal justice

In this month's issue...


National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice news

Anne Peaker lecture and panel debate

On Monday 17th November (6 - 9pm), the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice will be holding their annual Anne Peaker lecture at the Southbank Centre in London. This year's lecture will focus on a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the impact of arts in the Criminal Justice System, with a key note lecture by Professor Sarah Colvin from the University of Cambridge. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion, will panelists including writer Dreda Say Mitchell; Shan Maclennan, Creative Director of Learning and Participation at the Southbank Centre; and Andrew Dickinson, Governor of HMP Wealstun. The lecture and panel debate will be chaired by Professor Geoffrey Crossick; Director, AHRC Cultural Value Project and Chair, Crafts Council. Click here for information on how to book.

Want to have your say on what we do?

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 5 minutes to spare, we would be extremely grateful if you could answer some questions about the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice as well as the wider arts and criminal justice sector. Click here to complete the survey

Arts, creativity and spirituality in criminal justice systems

From November 2012 - February 2014, the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice supported an Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) funded seminar series looking at the role of artistic, creative and spiritual activities being offered in criminal justice systems around the world. Run in collaboration with a newly established group of academics, the series of four seminars enabled the sharing of best practice in delivering and evaluating arts based projects; considered how we position and understand ideas and activities that draw on differing disciplines; looked at the political, social and cultural environment in which offenders' work is celebrated; and explored how we can evaluate what we learn from theoretically, practically and geographically competing and complementary views. You can download the key findings report here

Have you got something for the next newsletter?

The next newsletter will be sent on Thursday 27th November. Please email with anything you would like included in the next newsletter by Thursday 20th November. 


Events and training

The Art of Desistance: Evaluation of the Koestler Trust Arts Mentoring Programme for former prisoners

3rd November 2014 | Southbank Centre, London | Free

In 2007, the Koestler Trust innovated a mentoring scheme to support ex-offenders to continue with their creative practice post release, by supporting them with a specially trained arts mentor. Dr Leonidas Cheliotis was commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation of the mentoring scheme and on Monday 3rd November he will present the key findings from his research. This will be followed by a screening of a film about the mentoring scheme and a panel discussion. To reserve your place, please email Vikki Elliott at or visit the Southbank Centre website.

Arts in Prisons: Critical thinking course

3rd November - 8th December 2014 | Goldsmiths, University of London | £180

Working with Hannah Hull (artist, researcher and coach), this course will explore whether the integrity of creative work is compromised when it becomes an instrument of prisoner education, and if it is, how would you be able to tell? The course will help identify participants' critical position and where they would be best placed to realise their aims within the prison system. In addition, the level and type of support provision from the prison service will be reviewed. Click here for more information

Phototherapy in prisons training workshops

7th, 14th, 21st, 28th November & 5th December 2014 | University of Roehampton 

These workshops are for staff working in prisons and the wider Criminal Justice System. More information on the training workshops can be found on the Phototherapy Europe website. Workshops will be held in Whitelands College at the University of Roehampton. For further details and to register, please email Gauri Chauhan.  

Arts and Health South West annual conference

20th November 2014 | Taunton | £35 - £55

This year's Arts and Health South West conference will include live music, speakers from the sector and breakout sessions. Speakers include Professor Kevin Elliston, Public Health Consultant in Health Improvement, Public Health England; Marc Steene, Deputy Director of Pallant House Gallery and Founder of Outside In; and Eva Dawson, Director of Live Music Now. Breakout sessions on the day will include Music and Health with Live Music Now musicians, Bite Sized: a mother's journey alongside anorexia, Arts and Public Health in Wiltshire, and museums for those with dementia. Click here for more information and to book

Tackling inequality in the Criminal Justice System

26th November 2014 | Holloway, London | Free

This free half-day seminar from Clinks is to inspire and share learning on successful approaches to achieving equality in the Criminal Justice System. There will be short presentations from a range of equality groups and the seminar will include: an overview of current issues that equality groups are tackling, challenges equality groups have faced and how they overcame them, and the experiences of other organisations in achieving change in the current climate. The event is aimed at voluntary sector organisations working with equality groups in criminal justice, and others interested in the issues. Click here for more information

The Koestler Trust's annual exhibition continues...

Until 30th November 2014 | Southbank Centre, London | Free

'Catching Dreams' is the UK's annual national showcase of arts by prisoners, offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees. It is the seventh exhibition in an ongoing partnership between the Koestler Trust and the Southbank Centre. This year's show is curated by ex-offenders who have completed a year's programme of mentoring with the Koestler Trust's specially trained and supported artist mentors. Each curator selected work from the 8,789 entries to the 2014 Koestler Awards. Many of these curators have had their own visual art or writing exhibited in previous Koestler Trust exhibitions and so they know from personal experience the impact being exhibited has on participants' motivation, relationships and confidence. Click here for further 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, well being 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 children and young people can make the most of their lives. It will feature speakers, leading research in social policy, exclusion and employment. Click here for more information


Arts and criminal justice news

Ministry of Justice rehabilitation contracts announced

On 29th October, the Ministry of Justice announced the preferred bidders in the Transforming Rehabilitation competition. You can read the Ministry of Justice press release here. Clinks' Director, Clive Martin, has made a statement about the announcement of the preferred bidders, which you can read here. Clive says: "These innovative partnerships have the potential to bring new skills and energy to improve rehabilitation services and give hope to the people on the margins of our society. Although many of these organisations and partnerships are new, we are sure that in developing their successful bids they have understood the importance of solid collaboration at a local level. It is here that they will find over 1400 voluntary and community groups that are fundamental to turning people's lives around." You can see a list of the preferred bidders by clicking here.

Action for Prisoners' Families merges with Family Lives

In September, Action for Prisoners' Families (APF) merged with Family Lives. Deborah Cowley, Director of APF, said: "Both organisations are excited about the possibilities which the merger brings. We believe that our combined strengths will enable us to ensure that prisoners' and offenders' families best interests are represented and promoted. APF will be renamed Action for Prisoners' and Offenders' Families (APOF) to reflect the current and continuing scope of the work." Find out more by clicking here

Tim Robertson is moving on from the Koestler Trust

After nearly nine years in the role, Tim Robertson is stepping down as the Koestler Trust's Chief Executive. He will remain in post until March 2015 or until his successor is appointed. Tim says: "I'm very proud of what the Koestler Trust has achieved in the last few years, and I feel sad to be leaving such a fantastic charity. But after nearly nine years, I've come to realise that I need a new challenge - it's time for me to go - and I feel the Trust needs someone fresh to lead its next stages of growth." As a result of Tim stepping down, the Koestler Trust is looking for a Chief Executive. This is an opportunity for an outstanding candidate to lead the Trust through the next stage of its growth and development. Click here for more information

Funding for small charities

The Woodward Charitable Trust awards grant funding to small-scale, locally-based charitable initiatives in the UK in the following areas: children and young people; minority groups including refugees, gypsies and travellers; prisoners and ex-offenders; disability; homelessness; arts outreach; and environmental projects. Charities must have less than £300,000 annual turnover. The next deadline for applications is 30th November. Click here for more information

Arts Council research programme

Arts Council England (ACE) is planning the launch of a £3million research grants programme to build and improve the evidence base around the value, impacts and benefits of arts and culture. The scheme is still being finalised, but is likely to involve a call for arts and cultural organisations, think tanks, foundations and trusts, and partnerships of these bodies, to develop fundable research proposals that will improve the evidence base. Click here for more information

Odd Arts win the Spirit of Manchester 2014 Award for Most Innovative Group

Odd Arts, a creative arts company working within criminal justice and community settings, have received the Spirit of Manchester 2014 Award for Most Innovative Group. This award aims to celebrate resourcefulness and the best use of limited funds and free resources or support. Shortlisted from a group of three finalists, Odd Arts spoke mainly about their partnerships with the Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner, police, the NHS, and various other networks to offer offenders and ex-offenders new and exciting opportunities, and tackling contentious issues with vulnerable young people. Click here for Odd Arts' website

Make a donation to Light Lunch

Clinks, the national membership body supporting the voluntary sector working with offenders in England and Wales, have been providing their flagship weekly newsletter - Light Lunch - to professionals working with offenders since 2006. In eight years its readership has continued to grow from 100 to almost 10,000 subscribers, making it one of the most popular reads for those with an interest in the voluntary sector and criminal justice. Each issue is packed with information and resources. To ensure Clinks can continue to help you make a difference, they'd like to ask readers to make a small yearly contribution of £20. Your donation will help strengthen Clinks, and provide independent income to spend on voluntary sector priorities, including policy and campaigning work; sector sustainability; and helping you support those who are the most marginalised. Click here to make a donation

Safe Ground seeks Women's Development Programme Coordinator

Safe Ground's Programmes Team is looking for a dynamic individual to assist the organisation's move into new territory by taking the helm of an exciting piece of work that will develop and pilot an innovative new programme designed to support women inside and outside of the secure estate. The programme will facilitate and emphasise the importance of critical thinking as a way for women to gain agency and clarity in their own lives, in order to reduce dependencies and to give themselves the confidence and resilience to achieve their life goals. The salary for the position is £26,500, and is restricted to women only. Deadline for applications is 5pm, Thursday 6th November 2014. Click here for more information

Justice Involving Volunteers in Europe update

The latest newsletter from the Justice Involving Volunteers in Europe (JIVE) project is available now. The issue explores some of the motivations and good practice of involving volunteers which have been identified by project partners in their respective countries. Read about recruiting ex-offenders as volunteers in Hungary; a prison listening centre in Italy; and the limits and challenges to involving volunteers in Romanian prisons. In addition, JIVE's Portuguese partner provides more detail on one of their current priorities, which is looking at current practice in the recruitment, training and support of volunteers and using this to develop a best practice guide and a volunteer programme toolkit. Please click here for the newsletter. For more information on the JIVE project, you can email

Wellcome Trust: Arts and science awards

Arts Awards support the creation of new artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science and encourages creative collaborations between art and science. The Wellcome Trust believes that this exchange generates powerful, personal and visceral art and inspires interdisciplinary research and practice that brings benefits to artists and scientists alike. The next deadline for Small Arts Awards (up to and including £30,000) is 28th November. The next deadline for Large Arts Awards (between £30,000 and £150,000) is 23rd January 2015. Click here for more information

More in arts and criminal justice...

  • The latest issue of Not Shut Up - a quarterly magazine celebrating and facilitating creative programming in a range of custodial settings - is now available to read online
  • Imbalances in funding between London and the rest of the country are scrutinised in a new report on Arts Council investment plans

Resources & publications

Brain Cells: Listening to prisoner learners

A new report from the Prisoners' Education Trust offers a rare insight into prisoners' views on education and finds that learning in prison could and should do more to help prisoners progress beyond basic skills. PET says its report, Brain Cells, Third edition, based on a survey of 340 prisoners, offers strategic recommendations to meet the needs of all learners. The report was discussed on ITV's Good Morning Britain with Vicky Pryce who spoke about the importance of helping people in prison gain the right skills to enable them to move on and reduce the expensive bill of reoffending. You can download the report here

Expert desistance project

An ESRC-funded project building upon pioneering research into how offenders move away from crime is transforming the practice of offender rehabilitation in the UK and beyond. The team behind the Desistance Knowledge Exchange (DesKE) - Shadd Maruna, Stephen Farrall and Fergus McNeill - are widely acknowledged to be leading researchers on 'desistance from crime'; how criminals can leave crime behind. Click here for a five minute video on the project

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons mentions the impact of arts interventions in his annual report

In his annual report (2013-14), Nick Hardwick; HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, has mentioned the importance of arts interventions in the process of rehabilitation. The report has been illustrated with examples of arts projects in prisons to underline their view of the arts' continued value and to pay tribute to the staff, volunteers and prisoners who make their provision possible. The report also notes: "One small but important part of the 'total experience of imprisonment' is the arts activities available in prisons. These are, however, increasingly under pressure and too often seen as an expendable extra whose benefit is hard to 'measure.' The arts are a lifeline from despair for some prisoners, a gateway to improvement for others, and an antidote to both tedium and tension for many." Click here to read the full report

Helix Arts looks into artists' reflections on quality in participatory art

What do artists who work in the field of participatory arts (and those with whom they work) say when given the opportunity to critically reflect on their practice? What questions are important to them? What answers do people find to the questions that are raised? For the first time, the organisations which make up the Artworks North East programme have undertaken a series of sessions for artists that attempt to answer these questions and enable artists to reflect on the detail of their participatory practice. This report highlights aspects of those reflections, and attempts to bring them together into themes which draw out those aspects of participatory practice that artists feel are important. You can download the full report here


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