Tell your feelings in a song and let the song tell it to other people.
Hidden Voices is a brand new toolkit of arts activities. It’s been created to help dads in prison reflect on the impacts their offending has on their children.
Children, whose dads are in custody, worked with singer songwriter Beccy Owen and musician Will Lang to co-create 4 songs: Dear Me, Gone, We March On and Cyclone. These songs openly share their experiences of seeing their dads in prison and living with the situation day in day out.
Dads in HMP Kirklevington Grange listened to the songs and were inspired to use them as the basis for a toolkit of creative activities. They worked with Hope London and staff from Nepacs to co-design Hidden Voices to stimulate conversations about underlying issues, reflect on behaviours, promote empathy, increase understanding and ultimately help rebuild family relationships and resilience.
Think you can’t sing or draw a straight line? Hidden Voices has been designed with you in mind. No previous experience of arts activities is needed. Clear step by step guidance is given. The pick n mix modular structure of Hidden Voices allows for flexible delivery. It can be used with individuals, groups and with whole families. Everything you need is in one kitbag.
Hidden Voices will be available from January 2018. Get in touch if you’d like to find out how you can use it.
Hidden Voices was made possible with grant funding from the Ministry of Justice and with the support for the Tees and Wear Reform Prisons.
Read the blog piece about Hidden Voices by Alison Frater, Chair of National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance here.
Exploring ‘What’s next for the arts in Criminal Justice?’ at the Alliance’s 2017 annual conference, we are looking forward to Hidden Voices supporting their work in normalising arts delivery in prisons across the North East.
Drawings by Morph Creative
The damaging impacts of imprisonment are often felt most keenly by the children and young people who make up the forgotten victims. The development and testing of Hidden Voices was independently evaluated by Barefoot Research and Evaluation who found that the project offers a valuable and valid approach to damage mitigation. Download the Report here
“After the course and thinking things through, you feel bad, you go back to your pad and you feel terrible for what you’ve done, what you done to your kids and their lives, and it’s hard, but you have to do that, you have to think those things if you are going to change. And if you’ve got kids, why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you want to make things better for them?”
"I realise what it’s been like for them, lost years, so I want to try and get some of those back if I can.”
"Thinking about them because of the (Hidden Voices) workshops makes me more committed not to get into trouble."
Photos by Colin Davison, Rosella Studios
Helix Arts was delighted to receive a certificate of excellence at nepacs 2018 awards ceremony from Marc Baker, HM Inspectorate of Probation. Artists Sally Pilkington and Hope London were particularly delighted to catch up with the mum of some of our participants. Her sons had worked with musicians Will Lang and Beccy Owen to write their own songs which highlighted the challenges of life when your dad is in prison. Their mum said "Hidden Voices" had continued to have a positive impact on her sons.