Over the last 30 years, here at Novus we have had the opportunity to work with world-class artists and creatives to shape the creative enrichment provision we offer to our learners.
Arts and enrichment activities are essential to our curriculum, giving our learners the opportunity to express themselves in a positive way. The fantastic partners we work with are crucial to our creative enrichment strategy, to bring new and exciting opportunities to our learners which is why the art of collaboration is the key to our success.
The benefits of art enrichment for prison education
Over 55% of prisoners in the UK who serve sentences of less than 12 months will go on to reoffend. Creative enrichment initiatives are key to reduce reoffending, and that is why we have a wide range of opportunities in this field to offer to our learners.
Creative enrichment activities can help to engage learners who wouldn't engage otherwise, boost self-esteem, encourage creative thinking and give learners a sense of accomplishment.
Writing, sculpting, drawing, collaging or any type of art are all activities that can help learners re-discover themselves.
One of the main reasons why art is so rewarding is that there are no right answers, learners can create projects in their own style and turn their ideas into a reality. It encourages them to think of solutions to problems in a way that they normally wouldn't, and this is a skill which can then be transferred to their everyday lives.
Learners can gain new skills that are transferable to daily life, creating well-rounded individuals who are less likely to reoffend.
Collaborating with partners to provide new and innovative opportunities for prison education
Working with partners gives us the ability to provide new and exciting enrichment opportunities for our learners. Over the last 30 years our learners have taken part in some fantastic initiatives that has helped shape their education journey with us. Among the recent projects and initiatives learners have taken part in, you can find:
The Koestler Awards 2023
This year over 40 of our prison sites took part in the Koestler Awards with many achieving awards for their art projects.
The Koestler Awards are a well-established initiative across our prison sites that hundreds of our learners enter each year.
Double Cell Installation
HMP Humber had the exciting opportunity to work on the 'Ingenuity, Creativity and Hope' project run by the National Justice Museum.
Learners created shoe sculptures to represent people and their characters, in a prison environment, through their shoes. The artwork was then installed in a double-cell at the National Justice Museum where members of the public will be able to go and see the sculptures that are showcased.
The project was made possible through a partnership developed between the National Justice Museum, Novus and Graft Studio.
The Public House Project
Learners at HMP Styal worked with Dash Arts on their 'The Public House Project' comprising of a series of events and workshops run across England.
The workshops that ran at HMP Styal on the 28th June 2023 included: speech writing, how to perform/deliver speeches, short (anonymous) interviews for the Public House Project, group workshops and using a variety of acting and drama techniques to find the most effective ways to deliver a speech.
The aim of the workshops was to playfully and theatrically provide our learners with the tools to speak up about the things that are important to them.
Working with Argh Kid to inspire prison learners
Learners at HMP Hindley and HMP Risley were given the chance to work with Argh Kid during a series of poetry workshops.
David worked with a number of prisoners ranging from reluctant readers to those already writing their own poems and lyrics, adapting his approach according to their interests and experiences. Using techniques such as found poetry and word association, he inspired learners to write about their own stories and perspectives in ways they had never felt able to do before.
We work with partners across a variety of fields such as drama, music, art, museums and writing to provide diverse and creative opportunities for learning.