Young Offender Reflective & Creative Pilot Project- October 2017

Project by artists Laurence Dube-Rushby and Tina Sanchez

Supported & Sponsored by The Arts Society, Petersfield and HMP/YOI Winchester, Hamphsire, England

GROWING was a pilot initiative offered at HMP/YOI Winchester by two artists, Laurence Dube-Rushby and Tina Sanchez, both experienced in social enquiry and engagement. The aim of the project was:

‘An invitation to explore the concepts of transformation, change and identity; What makes us who we are, how we transform things around us and how they transform us. What is our responsibility towards each other and towards our environment.’

Over a period of twelve days, spread over a month period, the project encouraged and gave a group of eight young offenders the opportunities to gain a Bronze Art Awards, to explore and share creative practices within a safe thinking, working and non-prescribed environment.  The theme included a fusion of drawing, painting, sculpting with various natural materials, the growing mini-bamboo trees, grass and seeds. The group also developed writing and collecting words with a collection of creative mind mappings, drawings, paintings and photographs generated throughout the sessions with a central sculptured piece complementing the idea of growing. Throughout the process, each participant created a portfolio of work as well as reclaimed wall and floor space. The ‘art hubs’ laid out across the space welcomed the expression of feelings and thoughts in the form of graffiti and experimental displays to elicit exchange and dialogues. These actions highlighted and represented our own condition as one of “the growing elements” within our world – the growing of self with others within the collaborative environment. The participants’ curating contribution to their exhibition resulted in a playful conceptual installation of artworks providing a unique performance within the walls to the outside freeman.

This collaborative pilot project was developed over a period of three years, between HMP/YOI Winchester, Petersfield Arts Society, HMPPS Psychology Services, and Trinity College. All artist participants achieved a deserving Bronze Arts Award.  This pilot project is to be driven onto a national platform and employed as template to support similar collaborative projects working in these particular contexts and non-traditional spaces.

Impact & Arts Award

Laurence: “The project has had an amazing impact on the guys! I have seen them grow a sense of self-esteem and motivation, days after days. It was never easy, but they didn’t give up, neither did we. At the end, it was all about sticking with it and trusting one another to make it happen. The sharing time of the exhibition was so emotional and rewarding. Having people from outside recognising their work and progress was invaluable. I saw so many smiles over the month, it was inspiring working with them and I think we all learnt so much from each other.

Gaining a certificate at the end of the project was a strong motivation for some. Through the process, the end exhibition became the main focus and the award secondary […]Although the process of the Award guided the shaping of the project, the freedom and enjoyment of the project was essential.”

Tina Sanchez
Laurence Dube-Rushby
December 2017
Youth & Community Booklet/ Arts Award Publication, Trinity College, London

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