Thursday, 13 September 2018

How can art create a less violent society?

Photo courtesy of Intermission Youth Theatre
In what ways does art contribute to violence in society? In what ways does it prevent it?
Does art in the criminal justice system contribute to creating a less violent society, or can it do it harm?

This year, as part of The Monument Trust Fellowship, the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance's annual Anne Peaker lecture will focus on art and violence.

The event, at the National Theatre in London on Friday 5th October, will be chaired by Alison Frater with a panel debate from a variety of contributors including academics and artists. Speakers include:
Synergy Theatre Project will also be performing their new play Blackout on the theme of youth violence.

The event will run from 6pm- 8pm with networking drinks until 9pm. Spaces are extremely limited so please book in advance.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

New film from the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) is pleased to announce the release of Why do arts in criminal justice matter?

The film features responses from sector leaders and supporters - including members of the Monument Fellowship - and shares inspirational accounts of NCJAA members’ work; making a compelling case for arts in criminal justice.

"What access to the arts can do is to show you a set of possibilities to how you can live your life differently, and how you can make a really meaningful contribution to society."
– Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive, Arts Council England

"If you believe that everybody should be given a second chance – and should not be judged by the worst thing they have ever done – then it’s important that criminal justice can use the arts to change the way people think about offenders." 
– Sally Taylor, Chief Executive, Koestler Trust

This film was produced as a resource for NCJAA members, please use and share it as much as possible with funders, governors and stakeholders. Watch it above or click here to watch it full-screen.

If you have any questions about the film please contact

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Khulisa presents at The International Conference on the Prevention of Radicalisation of Young People

As part of our role in the 7 country-wide Youth Empowerment and Innovation Project (YEIP) our Research and Programme Coordinator, Iman Haji, recently delivered a presentation at the first International Conference on The Prevention of Radicalisation of Young People at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.

This international conference marked the launch of the first output of the project, “Young, Marginalised But Not Radicalised: A Comparative Study of Positive Approaches to Youth Radicalisation” a book comprising of seven chapters written in the native languages of the researchers (English, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish and Romanian) which summarises the key findings from all participating countries. It brought together young people, policy makers, practitioners, politicians and academics from across the EU together to discuss the concept of youth radicalisation, it’s different meanings and forms across Europe as well as potential means of preventing and reducing this phenomenon.

Our paper and it’s accompanying presentation shared the methodology behind Khulisa’s programmes, what we have learnt in the last 10 years and how our strengths-based approach to working with young people may be an effective model to prevent and reduce radicalisation and social exclusion.

You can view our presentation in the first 15 mins of the video above.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tuning Up: Britten Sinfonia performing with 30 prisoners and staff at HMP Whitemoor

In  March 2018 Britten Sinfonia, one of the UK's leading musical ensembles, played a concert at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds, directed by acclaimed concert pianist Jeremy Denk which included George Gershwin's famous composition, Rhapsody in Blue, with all its soaring joy and impassioned yearning and its jazz and classical references and inflections. In June 2018 a film of this concert was shown to prisoners at HMP Whitemoor, one of the most secure prisons in the UK where many of the 400 men resident there are serving sentences of 20 years or more.  HMP Whitemoor has an enlightened Governor, imaginative leaders, committed staff ready to solve problems and make good things happen, and, not surprisingly given all that, a good reputation with prison inspectors and others. 
Showing this film of the concert to the men came out of discussions that had started in 2015 between Orchestras Live, a creative producer which works to ensure that communities all over the country have access to world class orchestral experiences, and Lemos&Crane, which has a long history of supporting and promoting innovative work in prisons, particularly long-term prisons.  Our shared goal, with the determined, well-connected and knowledgeable Jan Ford of Orchestras Live, was to encourage large and well-established orchestras and ensembles to become involved in projects in prisons.  There had been one or two projects involving orchestras including the Halle and the Royal Philharmonic, but broadly speaking the involvement of orchestras in the vast majority of prisons has been minimal or non-existent.
There are plenty of small scale musical projects in prison, but there are special benefits of working with orchestras.  Prisoners experience the classical repertoire. They will also hear the music of, and perhaps play with, world class musicians. Orchestral music also requires collaboration and working together in a highly structured and disciplined way.  All that put together, we believed, could have a transformational impact on the lives of a long-term prisoner otherwise susceptible to boredom, alienation, demotivation and depression, particularly if, as a result, of working and playing with an orchestra, they might feel enthused to learn a musical instrument themselves, bringing the benefits of application, practice, discipline, creativity and achievement.  Our ambitions did not end with bringing music to the centre of prisoners' lives. We also wanted the residents of the prison to enjoy the tension, excitement and rewards of live performance.   An additional important objective was we hoped to involve prison staff fully in the project, including as musicians.
We were delighted when Craig Nethercott, Phil Bramham, Jeannette Bramham and the Governor of HMP Whitemoor, Will Styles, committed to working with us and Britten Sinfonia, their 'local' orchestra.  Both the orchestra and the prison are in the east of England near Cambridge.  We knew that the high security aspects of HMP Whitemoor would create logistical and security difficulties, imagine bringing a double bass through prison security! But we felt strongly that the benefits of working with the orchestra would be most powerfully felt by prisoners on long sentences who may very well feel demotivated and depressed, but who could also commit for a long period to bringing music into their lives in a deeper and richer way, which would hopefully be more rewarding.
So the project was conceived with a strong sense of structure and purpose and some clear desired outcomes, which in the context of a high security establishment were bound to be complex and challenging to achieve, but nothing venture, nothing win.  In essence, we wanted the project to have a profound beneficial effect on prisoners' wellbeing and we hoped to inculcate a love of listening and playing all kinds of music, especially orchestral music.
The project was led and facilitated by Jason Rowland, a multi-talented music leader and composer and an inspiration and motivator to others. Additionally, there were six Britten Sinfonia musicians working with the men, in smaller groups and for the performance.
Paul Archibald - trumpet
John K Miles - saxophone
Alan Gibson - electric bass
Dawn Hardwick - piano
Oliver Pashley - clarinet
Matthew Gunner - French horn
Following the showing of the film the men were asked by the dynamic and energetic Britten Sinfonia team, Sarah Rennix and Megan de Garis, whether they would be interested in becoming involved in an ongoing music project culminating in a performance for their mates in the prison and some invited guests in three weeks' time.  Thirty men expressed an interest and committed to getting involved.  As it was a large group, for the purposes of the six music workshops, they worked in two groups with three musicians in each group. In the workshop, taking Rhapsody in Blue as inspiration, they composed a piece of music through improvisation and workshop-ing which was notated at the end of session. There were only three dropouts, two for reasons of ill health and one because of behavioural issues.
So finally the day for the performance arrived, 25 or so external visitors arrived on a warm June afternoon and, having got through security, came into one of the prison's large workshops where the orchestra were set up at one end, complete with lights, amplifiers, mikes, speakers and recording equipment (safely delivered through the complexities of a high security prison) and about 80 seats had been put out for the audience.  The men and the staff who were rehearsing with the Britten Sinfonia musicians during the morning all took their places, perhaps nervous and apprehensive about live performance as anyone would be, and the atmosphere grew that there was a full orchestra on stage.  Refreshments were served by the prison's peer supporters, a very friendly and helpful lot in distinctive tee shirts and the other prisoners started to arrive.  Eventually about 60 prisoners were in the audience and milling about with refreshments and visitors.  One of the musicians commented he looked out from behind his instrument and saw a scene of an expectant audience chatting and laughing before the musical proceedings began, like any other concert hall in the world.  
Then the band struck up! First, Britten Sinfonia musicians played a lively, loud rendition of I Got Rhythm, then the rest of the band, the prisoners and the staff, joined them on stage.  The four pieces they had composed in the workshops were strung together by Jason in 40 minutes of utterly compelling, original music, a fusion of jazz, reggae, rap and classical music. The performance was recorded and will be available on podcast and will also be played at a Britten Sinfonia concert in the future, fulfilling our goal to musically connect these long term prisoners in a high security prison, possibly destined to stay in prison for decades with the general public who know nothing of them, but will experience a little of their musical life and hear something of their musical achievement. 
The world premiere performance of these new compositions brought the house down that day in HMP Whitemoor. The men in the audience loved it, cheering and whooping, especially when prisoners and staff played and sang alongside one another in duets. The visitors were moved, surprised and delighted about witnessing such musical joy in the potentially austere setting of a high security jail. The atmosphere was electric and the room full of goodwill and enthusiastic support for the commitment and achievement of prisoners, staff and musicians.
More refreshments afterwards and many expressions of regret from other men that they too had not participated.  The Governor, who had played in the band for the entire concert, commented to me immediately, "We must do this again."  
“That was an absolutely fantastic afternoon. The atmosphere in the hall was pure, living and breathing Rehabilitative Culture. Everywhere I have been today prisoners (even some of our more difficult to engage men) have been asking me when we are going to do it again, and whether or not we can start our own orchestra, band, rap crew and singing groups. It’s all had an utterly brilliant impact around the site. It is one of those rare awesome days I will always remember.”  Will Styles, Governor, HMP Whitemoor

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Parole: Law, Policy and Practice in 2018 MONDAY 2 JULY 2018 10AM – 5.30PM, CAMBRIDGE LAW FACULTY

The law and practice of parole is in transition. Recent judicial decisions and the Government’s review into the law, policy and procedure relating to parole decisions are likely to lead to profound changes. This timely conference will focus on these recent developments and aims to enrich the responses to the Government’s current consultation. The consultation is open until 28 July.

Experts in parole, public law and the Chief Executive of the Parole Board will lead sessions at the Conference, with a panel of respondents. Each session will include time for questions and comments from the audience. Other confirmed panellists include Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Dr Jackie Craissati. The conference will be of interest to academics, legal practitioners, Parole Board members and everyone interested in the future of parole.

Delegate fee: £30 (to cover administrative costs and refreshments)

Book here

Monday, 21 May 2018

 'Life Beyond Crime: What do those at risk of offending, prisoners and ex-offenders need to learn?' was the collection of the responses to the first annual Monument Fellowship question.  There were more than 60 contributions from serving prisoners, ex-offenders, artists, academics and many criminal justice practitioners.  We wanted to hear about their experiences as contributors.  Some of these are given below.

Comments from contributors
“I have found the essays in the book fascinating, inspiring and provocative. I hope to meet more  of the contributors in the future.” Tom Millest, Parole Board
“The book launch … made me feel proud that my experiences might go on to help others feel a little better in some way and your efforts to do the same warm me" Gareth Evans, Cambridge University Institute of Criminology
“The book a fantastic achievement, an important resource for anyone interested in making the prison system safer, more humane and ultimately more effective in promoting better outcomes for its many “stakeholders” Tom Pauk, prison visitor
“It was lovely to be in a room of such inspirational people. It is such things which power me to do the best I possibly can for the people we work with.” Clare O’Sullivan, HMP Frankland
“I found the atmosphere and discussion provocative and emotional, so thank you so much for involving me, I feel very privileged to have play a small part.” Corin Morgan-Armstrong, HMP Parc
“It was a real honour to be a part of the book launch, and great to meet both yourself and Gerard as well as hear more about the work of the Monument Trust. I haven’t yet managed to read all of the contributions, but of those I have read there were many that moved me. I also found the open discussion during the launch very affecting; I think it’s so important to be addressing these themes… from my experience, the prison environment is severely lacking in emotional intelligence/understanding/awareness, and the more we can discuss crime and punishment within this context the better.” Ella Whittlestone, HMP Peterborough
“I thought the event was great and I have already started to promote the book to our postgrad students. Whilst I am still ploughing my way through the contributions, what is immediately clear is that the voices of contributors retain a sense of optimism and authenticity, despite the obvious challenges facing HMPS.”  Paul Hamilton, Nottingham Trent University
“I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and am finding the book so interesting. What a privilege to be part of such a great project.” Ruth McFarlane, Open University
“It was a great event and the book is brilliant, we need more books like this as it shows how many different prospective there are on this subject.” Shirl Tanner, Sussex Pathways

Friday, 18 May 2018

Can you answer our question for 2018?

The Monument Fellowship

The Question for 2017-2018

"How can we be a less violent society?"


Centre for Justice Innovation, Clinks, Diagrama UK, Khulisa UK, Koestler Trust,
Lemos&Crane, National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, Restorative Solutions

Please be in touch with your ideas. Would you like to set them out in a piece for our second Monument Fellowship book? Please be in touch at