An Opportunity to Find Oneself at the End of a Paintbrush: Exploration of an Artist-Led Prison Intervention Model Bringing People From Prison and Local Community Together

Shira Diamond, Caroline Lanskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A growing body of research has explored the contribution of prison art interventions indicating that these hold substantial rehabilitative value. Recent literature in this area has drawn attention to the need to expand social action and community-enhanced art interventions with the aim of aiding incarcerated individuals to reconnect to the community. The following research focused on a unique artist-led prison intervention model, wherein participants who are currently imprisoned create alongside participants who are art students from the local university. This joint space aimed to connect people by providing opportunities to engage with creativity in ways that are both individually and socially transformative. Through a phenomenological approach, this model was explored, aiming to yield relevant insights into the quality and processes of change it enhanced. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 participants involved in the workshop, and data were analyzed aiming to establish an insider’s conceptualization of the meaning for them of the art group experience. The findings point to participants’ experience of the workshop as a unique space in which barriers and stigmatic preconceptions were broken and where a sense of acceptance, belonging, and bonding developed in a nonjudgmental atmosphere of joint creativity. Understandings of the way these essential elements of the joint creative experience served to promote implicit processes toward growth and positive trajectories of change are discussed in light of the broaden-and-build and polyvagal theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • broaden-and-build theory
  • common humanity
  • community-based prison art intervention
  • polyvagal theory
  • social reintegration

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