Adrian’s work in prisons, safe-centres etc
(Mainly for the wonderful Persula Foundation)

I have worked, as it days, mainly for the charity Persula, in a few prisons and safe centres and thought IO aught to share a little of the experience for others. Perhaps you will be able to draw on our work. The second page is part of the follow on pack I left at a recent prison visit. It gives and idea, in fact it gives lots of idea, but doesn’t have my stores wih it that the ideas bounce off. I need to keep something for myself!

I have used completely different stuff in other groups and tend to tailor my package to suit the needs of the session. If any of you out there I have worked with want to send me stuff done in the group or as a result I will bang it in here somewhere. For instance, in a safe centre for 10 to 18 years olds (I think) we worked on poetry forms like concrete poetry and acrostics and there was some great things came form it. Some of the writers had their work forwarded for an arts award.

Below is a personification poem from a group I was with recently. “Hyer”

The following poem was written in one of the sessions with the guys.

When Joy Walks In
Bouncing, floating uplifting
Smiling ear to ear
Cheesy this grin
Colours of joy
Orange:
Red, orange, yellow
Giving happiness
High pitched
Squeaky fast
Joy says,
“I’ve come to change your life”
“Don’t give up”
Because – joy
Dances like Bez
Skips like a kangaroo
Travels like a VIP
Stirring the heart
Filling you with joy

Adrian Spendlow and David Moss

The brief was to demonstrate our skills in an empowering way whilst enabling them for their own groups. So each performance piece was a model with follow on ideas. The person who runs a session with them was unable to be there that day so, as I often do, I provided a follow on CD Rom full of ideas and information (That’s what’s on page 2). The tutors were also copying this and were running off individual sheets for people.

The prime areas they work on are developing the concept of adults storytelling as a social function and gaining ideas for the ‘Storybook Dads projects. The main way we sought to empower them was to draw on the natural story within us all so they felt that they were already storytellers and to demonstrate ways that sending recordings home could develop a two way understanding and development.

The music, and perhaps more importantly, overtone chanting added depth and acceptability to the feel of performance, introducing new direction to tastes and interests: Aspects of mood were looked at more deeply than the groups had done before allowing deeper understanding of and sharing of quite moving poetry from inmates as well as enabling a future view of more complex/real writing and sharing.

We also ran a lunchtime session for tutors where our ideas were enthusiastically accepted by a busy small group.

Here are some of the comments from this latest visit from some of the guy’s in our groups. -

What kind of things did Adrian and David do?

Told stories with added music to bring out the best in them.

Chanting, storytelling and poems

David’s weird noises, pretty damn cool that.

Guitar, violin, poems and chanting –singing.

All sorts.

Stories, ghost stories, poems, singing.

Told stories, played music, sang, talked.

Sang, told stories, gave advice, lifted spirits.

What did you like best and why?

David playing the violin because it makes me feel relaxed.

All of it I think. It was very different, but good.

I would love to learn how to do the chanting.

All of it.

Guitar because most groups I like are guitar groups

There was nothing I didn't like. (all but one said this)

Music and stories cos it was good how they put them together.

I didn’t really enjoy it I am not into that sort of thing.

Everything.

It was all good. Something different.

It was all good.

It all.

All was good.

The songs and advice.

Learning how to construct poems.

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