“So what’s it all about again?”
I realised when catching up with an old friend that I’ve dropped off the radar a little – time for a proper update.
Back in August Plymouth University and Arts Council England provided funding which allowed me to collaborate with LandWorks on a project which will actively improve prisoners and ex-prisoners chances of gaining employment, while building trusting relationships within the local community by:
- Teaching and developing practical skills in dry stone walling, cob-walling, carpentry, landscaping, construction work, and horticulture.
- Inviting the local community closer to the LandWorks project by creating an interactive visitors space.
- Building trainees self-worth by fulfilling the need to create something they are proud of, sharing ownership of the work.
- Improving trainee’s social skills by working collaboratively with a range of skilled professionals, volunteers, and artists.
At this point, over twenty current and ex-offenders, volunteers, staff, and craftsmen have helped create the land art sculpture. One remarkable comment last week – “this is the best day of my life so far”. It probably wasn’t (he has kids for example – I’m reckoning he was just really pleased to be out of prison for the day), but the great part of that comment is the so far. The kind of optimism which is easily lost when incarcerated for months or years. LandWorks provides the kind of atmosphere in which to feel self worth, improve confidence, and see light at the end of the tunnel.