Working in partnership with the team at HMP Hewell, our Novus colleagues plan, coordinate, and run bespoke enrichment activities at the establishment which complement and enhance the current education offering.
Why creative enrichment is vital to success for prison learners
Much like mainstream education, the needs of every learner in a prison environment vary, and our response to each person needs to be flexible and dynamic to make sure that they are provided the best opportunity for success in their education.
We encounter learners every day without any formal qualifications and others who have negative views of their learning experience. Enrichment activities are vital in supporting us to engage learners in education and provide them a soft entrance to the benefits of learning. Creative enrichment opportunities help us to develop well-rounded learners who can rely on their cultural capital when they re-enter their communities. In focusing on these aspects, we can work to make sure that no learner gets left behind on release. Every moment of their time in prison is used effectively.
Close relations with the prison team at HMP Hewell have made a real difference to the effectiveness of our creative programme there. HMP Hewell Governor Ralph Lubkowski understands the need for a creative approach to education in secure environments,
HMP Hewell is a busy and challenging prison looking to meet the needs of a very complex and diverse population. The Arts are a key part of how we try to do this, breaking down barriers, building trust, improving self-worth, creating healthy identities, and creating a safe, decent, and positive environment for all. We run a range of programmes with a number of partners, and I can personally vouch for the impact these programmes have and the lives they change.
Our recent creative enrichment opportunities for learners in prison
Our education team at HMP Hewell has been working with an impressive selection of organisations recently to take advantage of the rehabilitative culture already present at the establishment. Through our latest partnerships, we are embedding values of diversity, inclusion, and family learning into our enrichment activities, maintaining a sense of community and nurturing family ties.
When developing these programmes, we have considered the range of interests and learning styles of learners taking part in our provisions.
White Water Writers:
Working with White Water Writers, learners are challenged with collectively writing a book, coming up with the idea, drafting a story, proofreading the text, and editing it down into a publishable version. The final edition is then made available and White Water Writers host a book launch during a Family Learning Day to showcase the work to the learners’ families.
This project encourages participation and group work, teaching many learners how to manage tasks as part of a team and work together. Participants also have a final product to show for their work on the programme, providing a sense of accomplishment and something to refer to for future employers.
Odd Arts and Lyrical artist Nathan Crossan-Smith
Through this combined format, we can engage learners in intervention programmes using rap, poetry, and spoken word performance. Not only is this an incredible rehabilitative tool, but our learners are improving their confidence, and are actively engaging their writing, spelling, literacy, and public speaking skills.
RHS Archives with Faye Claridge
Working with artist Faye Claridge, learners engage in a series of 6 weekly creative workshops, with a focus on wellbeing, outside spaces, visual arts, and horticulture.
Using the RHS Archives as a starting point, the workshops, which are co-developed with learner input, result in creative output like poetry, drawing, photography, and illustration. Learners come out of the programme with their own visual portfolio and some of the artwork will go on to be exhibited in person and online.
Finally, currently underway at HMP Hewell is a project being run in partnership with the rapper New Wings. Learners use rap as a form of self-expression, and in doing so, increase literacy skills and confidence. When participants near the end of the programmes, their family are invited to a showcase where learners then have the chance to share their progress with their support network should they wish.
The future of arts and enrichment in the prison education sector
Alongside these great partnerships, we are constantly getting started on new projects that we run independently of any external organisations. With so much going on in the establishment, we couldn’t be more excited for the future of creative enrichment at HMP Hewell and in our other establishments.
Sarah Hartley, our National Lead for Creative Strategies is eager to see the impact that an inclusive focus on creative education can have on our learners, “Through my own experiences in the sector over the last 16 years, I truly believe in the power of the arts, as a platform inspire and enable individuals to discover new and creative directions. This can result in positive changes which complement to a rehabilitative culture in the criminal justice sector. It’s been great to explore opportunities that will complement the existing provision available at HMP Hewell; contributing to the ongoing progressive regime”.
We’re always looking for interesting ways to engage our learners. If you’re looking for an opportunity to partner up and support prison learners to achieve their full potential, reach out to us. If you want to read more, take a look at our recent announcement on our strategy for enhancing learner “cultural capital”, or keep up to date with the latest on our socials.