This stimulating work is based on conversations with artists – including people in prison or who were once imprisoned. It charts the importance of creative activity as an instrument of personal change. As the author is compelled to say: ‘Individuals can, and do, change. If there is a message in these stories, this is it: we need to listen, understand and act upon it. The physical walls around prisons must not become mental walls keeping us from understanding the worlds of those within. We are all members of the society that builds the prison walls’.
Mary Brown has spent most of her career teaching adults in a variety of places including prison, and now works for the Open University as a tutor counsellor in social sciences. It was while working in the Basic Education department of an open prison that she became aware of the healing power of creativity. Inside Art is based on conversations with artists in a number of prisons, as well as artists who were in prison in the past and others who were not. Mary Brown is a Quaker and a Voluntary Associate for The New Bridge, an organization which creates links between offenders and the community. Royalties from her book will go to the Koestler Trust (see Chapter 8) which she first encountered in connection with her work teaching in prison.
‘. . . the erect and the fallen are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self’
The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
Preface Peter Cameron
1. Art in Prisons: An Introduction
2. How I Came to Hear these Stories
3. Creativity, Crime and Punishment
4. Prison Art
5. ‘Walls Made Me Paint’
6. An Artistic Career?
7. Creative Energies?
8. Prison as an Artists’ Studio
9. Art as Therapy?
I. Interview Schedule