Over the past 10 months, 41 participants have helped create the LandWorks TimeLine, including: people serving prison sentences, Plymouth University art students and academics, volunteers, staff, and visitors.
LandWorks is an independent charity providing a supported route back into the community for current and ex-prisoners (trainees).
Collaborating with participants to create an artwork to be proud of, for which they could take ownership.
A chance to learn new skills and to meet a variety of people (craftsmen, students, artists, local business owners).
At the same time, we wanted to create a space which brought LandWorks supporters closer to the project, providing an insight into what happens here.
100% of participants felt they’d made connections with new people through being involved with the art project
100% felt the local community would be brought closer to LandWorks as a result of the structure.
100% were introduced to a new craft or skill
75% thought their involvement with the project allowed them to talk about and/or reflect on their situation
100% said their involvement with the project had allowed them to talk about and/or reflect on the publics perception of people in prison
What we hadn’t anticipated were the conversations which happened as a result of hand-sculpting the cob, while we worked in pairs on opposite sides of the wall. Discussions arose about anything from crime and guilt to love, family, and home, and everything in-between.
“I have gained a feeling of self-worth again and believe that the future holds great things for me”
“It will be a landmark for LandWorks – it’s an impressive structure”
“Big experience day, well enjoyed and many more to come. Taken pride of what I’ve done today – it’s amazing!”
“[It’s given me] a time to think, a time to laugh, and a sense of achievement”
– LandWorks trainees
Q: Why is LandWorks focusing on providing training and support for those who have committed crimes when there are other people who haven’t committed crimes who would benefit from training and employment opportunities?
A: Schemes like this are in everyone’s interest. We need effective schemes to help rehabilitate offenders and ensure their successful resettlement from custody – they help to reduce crime and create safer communities for all. There are currently no other specific projects that aim to do this in our rural community. This is not about rewarding anyone but about addressing a significant gap in our communities.
“90% of LandWorks trainees have gone onto employment, and although there’s no concrete evidence to say this down to art, every one of them has engaged with Sarah and this project in some way”
– Chris Parsons, LandWorks Manager
Through this project we have gathered evidence that art improves wellbeing, but there are ways in which we can improve. This project has provided a means for trainees to imagine things as they might be – powerful when in a prison cell for 23 hours per day with little hope. However we can investigate helping trainees to have complete ownership of their artworks: developing problem-solving skills by evolving a creative concept into a visual piece of art, considering materials, the intended message, and audience interpretation.
We need funding for the next 2 year art project: LandWorks ArtWorks. LandWorks needs continued funding for Sarah Jane Hodge to help trainees become maker/researchers, and develop their own ideas into artworks with complete ownership of work, culminating in an exhibition at the end of the two years.
This would allow investigation into the link between art, wellbeing, and reductions in re-offending.