ARTS AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: EXPERT WORKSHOP

Lead Research Organisation: University of the Arts London
Department Name: Central Saint Martin's College

Abstract

Lorraine Gamman is Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins (CSM), part of the University of the Arts London (UAL) as well as Visiting Professor/Research Associate with the Designing Out Crime Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney. She finalised her PhD on shoplifting at Middlesex University in 1999 and a spin off book from it, Gone Shopping - the Story of Shirley Pitts, Queen of Thieves, was published by Penguin Books in 1996 reissued (with a new afterword) in 2012 by Bloomsbury.
In 1999 Gamman founded the practice-led Design Against Crime Research initiative (see www.designagainstcrime.com) at CSM, a world-renowned college for innovative art and design practice. The project was validated as a Research Centre at UAL in 2005, which she continues to direct. Her work with the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) has won several awards for design innovation and recognition for delivery of impact. Together with Adam Thorpe she has delivered numerous academic outputs and co-curated over 15 art and design exhibitions as well as catalysing a number of DAC product ranges including Stop Thief chairs, Karrysafe bags and Bikeoff anti-theft bike stands, all of which have incorporated offender knowledge into the design process.

Publications

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Description The Cultural Value on Arts in the Criminal Justice System report, which summarised the expert workshop, noted that the prison system is currently very overcrowded (Ministry of Justice, 2012), and has a poor record for reducing reoffending. And while there is some good evidence that indicates the impact of arts on offenders, such as Anderson, Colvin et al.'s Inspiring Change report (2010), the success of the participatory arts in this regard is still not as valued as it might be. The National Offender Management Services (NOMS) recently commissioned an independent rapid evidence assessment of arts and criminal justice work, which also concludes:
"There is a lack of good quality research evidence that explores the impact of arts projects with offenders. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether or not arts projects have a measureable impact on re-offending"
(RAND Europe, Arcs Ltd and University of Glamorgan, 2012)
Not all offenders get access to participatory arts, and nearly three quarters (73%) of under 18 year olds are reconvicted within a year of release , with 47% of adults being reconvicted within one year. There is clearly much more to be achieved. The Culture Value on Arts in the Criminal Justice report concluded we need:

(a) to highlight the comparatively low cost of participatory arts education, which has been shown to reduce reoffending (see the Unlocking Value report by the Arts Alliance and New Philanthropy Capital);
(b) to get better at making the case about the different ways participatory arts has value to individuals, society, government and to commissioners;
(c) to devise more effective, larger scale, cross-disciplinary evaluative theories and mechanisms to deliver robust evidence;
(d) to explore more fully the impact of offender art on audiences (the general public, prison officers, and prisoners' families) to bring about changes in public perception and hence another form of cultural value.
The expert workshop and the subsequent report evidenced that, to make progress in demonstrating the diverse cultural value of the arts in the criminal justice system, we need a multidisciplinary and multi-methodological approach to reflect the range and complexity of what the arts "are" and "do". We may also need to further explore the institutional value of arts and in criminal justice (both in prison and probation setting and in galleries and museums). Also that arts in the criminal justice sector have so far focused on how arts and culture impacts on individual (offenders). How this work contributes significant value to prison culture and to the broader cultural and social spheres "outside" also needs consideration, and perhaps should be the subject of further research.

Achievements:
1. The most significant achievement from the award was interactive. That is, those diverse experts (many of whom were not previously acquainted) who attended our expert workshop, including Geoffrey Crossick (Director of the AHRC's cultural value programme), were able to make contact with each other for the first time and exchange knowledge in depth.
2. The key findings of report 'Exploring and evaluating the cultural value of arts and creativity in the criminal justice system' published online after the event, identified why the quality of evaluation and the differences of arts practice we reviewed, requires significantly nuanced approaches that are missing from some generic style evaluations. Our discussion about how the arts practices are able to introduce new ideas into inmates' lives to encourage empathy for themselves and others, personally understood and qualitative in focus, were important. Here we also raised questions about "proxy processes" in terms of how art and design allows restorative justice values into prison in secondary ways through engagement with different types of narratives. And why "de-risked" spaces were significant to empathy building activities and how such opportunities were not easy to evaluate.
3. These above key findings and the subsequent report discussion was referred to by Geoffrey Crossick and Patrycja Kaszynska (2015) who noted "Gamman and Plant's CVP Expert Workshop on 'Exploring and evaluating the cultural value of arts and creativity in the criminal justice system' enabled practitioners and researchers to explore these issues, and the resulting report, alongside some of the key research literature, informs this case study. (Source: 'AHRC Understanding the Value of Arts & Culture - The AHRC Cultural Value Project' report - see page 47: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/documents/publications/cultural-value-project-final-report/).
4. Our findings were also picked up and discussed by Peter Bazalgette, former head of the Arts Council whose influential 2017 book 'The Empathy Instinct: How to Create a More Civil Society' (John Murray Publisher, 2017) quotes our report directly on p.171 of his book - although attributes our quote to Crossick's subsequent account.
Exploitation Route Our report introduced new theoretical concepts (about "proxy processes" and "de-risked" spaces), as well as further discussion of evaluation issues, that are taken up by diverse researchers.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.designagainstcrime.com/files/publications/ExpertWorkshopReport.pdf
 
Description The expert workshop featured a strong account by Sarah Colvin about the demonstrable contribution that the arts make to society and the economy, as well as the research that has already been published by the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice and it was indicated that the design of control trials described by Lorraine Gamman and Adam Thorpe of CSM and Yvonne Harris from the Design Council during the expert workshop could be of value to the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice too to show impact. Such methods could provide a missing jigsaw piece of strong evidence, that is currently absent from the evidence library (https://www.artsincriminaljustice.org.uk/evidence-library). This expert workshop discussion has clearly informed the future of NCJAA research. The Alliance will work with innovative researchers who will help capture the transformations engendered by the arts and their mechanisms via evaluation, perhaps in partnership with the Arts Humanities Research Council.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Expert Workshop on "Exploring And Evaluating the Cultural Value of Arts and Creativity within the Criminal Justice System" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The expert workshop took place on 16 May 2014 at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross, London. It brought together representatives from the NCJAA Steering Group including those from Clean Break, Geese Theatre Company and the CEO of the Koestler Trust along with expert criminologists, humanities scholars, and academics linked to art and design education whose institutions wish to improve understanding about arts and their impacts in the criminal justice system. Also to share their design expertise in the field of evaluation. Speakers and practitioners across a variety of creative forms discussed visual arts and crafts, theatre, music, design, writing and reading groups exchanging evidence and concerns about best practice in relation to the evaluation of impact/s. The event promoted knowledge exchange and introduced new perspectives on how arts in the criminal justice system can be assessed and articulated within a broad framework of "cultural value"; also provided a broader understanding of which impact measurement processes work best in which contexts to assess the value of participatory arts and the way they can operate to inspire change and transform lives.

Impacts listed under 'narrative impact' section of the award.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.designagainstcrime.com/files/publications/ExpertWorkshopReport.pdf