Alongside Odd Arts, we have recently delivered an exciting new opportunity to learners at HMYOI Wetherby and HMYOI Werrington, which aims to engage their creativity as a means to rehabilitation. Project leaders from Odd Art and Novus have managed to work within the restrictions of a secure environment to curate a bespoke drama experience for our learners, many of whom have had very little engagement in the past with any form of drama or creativity-based learning.
The project, carried out in August, has allowed us to expand the children’s creative experiences, while also cementing core skills in an exciting and dynamic activity.
Among others, Odd Art has helped to develop communication and emotion management skills. Learners have been provided a safe and comforting space in which they can express themselves emotionally and learn healthy techniques for this.
How we approach creative education in secure environments
Teamwork is an integral factor in the Odd Art approach, and many of the key themes focused on this, with core principles such as “understanding the needs of self and others”, “listening skills”, and “understanding self-worth”.
The approach aims for the young people participating to find non-violent methods for communication. We look to increase the resilience of our learners when faced with difficult tasks and encourage the development of healthy relationships and the growth of emotional intelligence.
Odd Arts, who specialise in using drama to engage vulnerable people, underpin their work with several key principles. First, all teaching employs trauma-informed approaches, whereby they work with the understanding that all participants will be affected by trauma in one way or another. In doing this, they can provide a safe space for progressive teachings.
All of their work focuses on non-violent/compassionate theory, which seeks to find a common ground amongst all participants. Once this has been displayed, it makes communicating far easier. They highlight restorative approaches in their workshops, which separate the person from the behaviour, while promoting accountability and the importance of repair for their actions.
Finally, all projects that Odd Art undertakes promote anti-racism and its importance for learners.
We work with amazing partners across the prison education environment in ways that would surprise and inspire. Want to find out about how we deliver a chess tournament across prisons? How about reading about the expansion of our digital offering in establishments?
The one key component of any project we work on is the desire to create pathways to change for our learners across the country. If you’d like to get involved in our work, head to our Partnerships page to find out more.