Inspiring Futures

September 2019 - date

A ground-breaking artistic programme in prisons and the community led by the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance.

Screenshot from Timewarp - Work in Progress

Helix Arts is one of the Inspiring Futures delivery partners, delivering a programme of activities in North East prisons and communities, supported by embedded participative research undertaken by the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge.

Inspiring Futures seeks to advance our understanding about how and why arts interventions affect the lives of people in the criminal justice system, and to explore how their positive effects can be optimised to enable a step-change in arts and criminal justice practice. The programme aims to address long-term inequalities and to broaden access to the arts for people in the criminal justice system now and in the future.

The Institute of Criminology embeds a participative research culture at every stage of the project, with Helix Arts positioned within a ‘community’ of good practice that offers professional development opportunities, fosters talent, enables peer reflection, presents case studies, and develops online platforms, workshops, and networking events.

Avant-Guard will involve Helix Arts and artist Craig Conway working with prisoners and a ‘beyond the gate’ group outside the prison, to focus on their voices, mindset and understanding from lives inside and outside the criminal justice system. Craig – an actor, writer, director and producer – will facilitate conversations and creative exercises that look towards the comparatives and complexities of individuals’ experiences, circumstances and where, if possible, a positive shared influence can be introduced to educate and inspire change for one another.

Creative workshops and phone calls will be flexible and person centred, and will involve co-design of the outcome; for example use of creative writing, prose, poetry, sound, drawing, journals.

Helix Arts’ Inspiring Futures programme began in Autumn 2020 and will feature in the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and Koestler Arts performances and exhibitions festival in Autumn 2021.

Thanks to our Project Funders

This programme is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

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