Bringing people together: diversity, arts and criminal justice
Arts organisations working in criminal justice settings are leading the field in creating diverse, innovative art that pushes boundaries, explores complex issues and brings people together from different cultures and backgrounds. We know that many minority groups are overrepresented in the Criminal Justice System and underrepresented in the arts. So how can we seek to improve this balance and use arts as a driver for equality?
The recent announcement by David Cameron to investigate racial bias in the UK court system is a reminder of the continued over-representation of certain ethnic and faith groups in our prisons. However, there are other groups that face additional stigmatisation, discrimination and isolation in criminal justice settings. These include women, people who are LGBT, people with complex needs relating to mental health and addiction and people with additional physical and learning needs. We also need to consider the needs of older prisoners and those who are stigmatised because of their offense.
This event, Chaired by Baroness Young of Hornsey, will gather views, evidence and good practice on using the arts as a driver for equality, which we can then share with our network and the government. There will also be a speech from Abid Hussain from the Creative Case for Diversity at the Arts Council England.
The questions below may help us to begin to interrogate these themes in relation to the arts in criminal justice settings:
How can we develop innovative art, music, playwriting, dance and literature that pushes boundaries, challenges audiences and drives equality?
How can we share the quality and knowledge in our field and improve what we do, so our workforce, governance, supporters and audience members better reflect our diverse participants and service users?
How can we help the arts world to more effectively engage excluded communities, specifically those who’ve come into contact with the criminal justice system?
How can we work more effectively to ensure the creative activity that happens in criminal justice settings meets the needs of diverse participants and audiences?
How can the arts help us address policy issues?