Changing Lives produced two pieces of art work to capture their daily experiences. Kaye Sarginson explains more…
As members of Women’s Breakout, Changing Lives were given the opportunity to enable women involved in the Criminal Justice System to participate in projects that collectively captured their voices and those of other women nationally. Entitled ‘Women Experts by Experience’, the projects included a series of focus groups, training and an open space event with service providers and decision makers. A total of 12 women from South of Tyne hubs participated, with 11 being involved in focus groups.
In January Service User representatives from the hubs travelled to London and presented their projects ‘A Day in the Life Of…’ and ‘A Box of Chocolates’ to an audience which included Baroness Corston.
A Day in the Life Of… involved the women capturing their experiences of a typical day, how they thought, felt and behaved. Their experiences were then interpreted into a piece of textile art.
A Box of Chocolates involved the women identifying things of importance to them, which they then photographed. They then spent 20 seconds each talking about why the items were important to them. Their photographs and voices were then made into a piece of digital art.
The textile art was showcased at the Women’s Community Hub International Women’s Day event, which was attended by the local MP and the opportunity was taken to talk her through the work. It has been shown at all South of Tyne Hubs, and is now going on display at a local college, as one of the women involved is a student there and the art has been nominated for a Diversity Award. Following this, both pieces of art will be displayed at an Art Gallery and the Textile art will also spend a period of time on display at a women’s centre in South Tyneside.
By being involved in this Project, the women have increased their self esteem and confidence levels by developing an understanding and insight into their own behaviours and factors which impact positively or negatively on their wellbeing. Furthermore, additional outcomes could include:
- Enhanced possibility of future peer education, peer-led research and peer support.
- Facilitate group sessions which provide opportunities for women to share their experiences – we know that kinship and belonging are key elements of desistance for women offenders.
- Enhance the insight of service providers, commissioners and decision makers into what is important to women. Rather than highlighting the problems of women’s lives, we would hope that this more creative approach may capture the emotional, passionate, creative sides to our service users.
In April 2014 the wall hanging that Changing Lives produced was entered for the Embracing Diversity Award at Newcastle College by Glenda Johnston, one of the students who attends the college and who was involved in the project at Changing Lives and is also one of our Lay Assessors. The wall hanging won the award with a prize of £1000! A very well done to Glenda and Changing Lives. Glenda spoke to the college about how the art work and the Open Space event have helped her emotionally.