Impact of our work

A wide range of research and evaluation reports have found that active engagement with creativity and the arts has various benefits, particularly in relation to offenders:

Improves Learning

  • Supports and challenges participants to develop personally and socially
  • Develops participants’ creativity and thinking skills
  • Enriches participants’ communication and expressive skills, through feedback, especially encouragement and praise
  • Fosters participants’ social skills through group work
  • Develops participants’ technical skills and knowledge in their chosen art form
  • Enables many people who left school feeling they were “no good at music”, or “no good at art”, etc. and who have come to prison to experience a second chance education.
  • Furthers participants’ thinking skills and awareness of the intellectual dimensions to artistic processes and prepares them for cultural life as critical, reflective and active consumers of the arts
  • Assists participants to learn how to learn
  • Encourages pathways to formal education

Improves Personal Outcomes

  • Reduces participants’ level of boredom, disaffection, aggression, social exclusion through improve self-esteem, and personal and social development
  • Promotes mental stimulation and personal challenge
  • Builds self-confidence and self-efficacy through the development, sharing and presentation of skills and knowledge
  • Helps participants to be themselves, tell their story and express their essential selves
  • Improves mental health and wellbeing by encouraging a therapeutic release of tensions and a reduction in stress; and reducing isolation and loneliness
  • Enables participants to understand themselves better
  • Supports participants to express themselves artistically and authentically and builds their expressive skills and creativity
  • Enhances participants’ knowledge of social and cultural issues
  • Develops a heightened sense of enjoyment, excitement and fulfilment in participants’ own achievements
  • Promotes empathy with victims
  • Challenges people’s view of prisoners
  • Reduces re-offending

Develops Social and Cultural Skills

  • Promotes trust and positive relationships with others
  • Improves relationships between prisoners; between prisoners and staff; and between prisoners and their families
  • Enables participants to express their own sense of cultural and religious identity
  • Supports participants to collaboratively explore cultural diversity, locally, nationally and internationally
  • Enables participants to experience social inclusion, as members of a self-organised creative group
  • Reduces sectarian barriers

Provides Potential Employment Pathways

  • Enables participants to test their potential and desire to take forward their artistic development
  • Cultivates careers as potential professional artists and provides vital occasional/part-time employment opportunities as professional artists, tutors and technicians, etc.
  • Enables participants to gain skills in the creative industries before developing and exploiting them as fully commercial operations
  • Develops transferable skills which increase employability

Each art form also has particular benefits attached to it, for example:

  • Drama nurtures empathy and the valuing of others; and offers increased awareness of the body and movement, improves fitness, and reduces obesity
  • Visual art promotes expressive skills and can enhance the physical environment within prisons
  • Writing helps prisoners to use language more effectively and improves literacy, self-reflection, and communication skills
  • Music extends active listening skills.