Anne Peaker was a dedicated advocate for the arts in criminal justice; delivering creative work in prison, developing key research and setting up the Unit for Arts and Offenders, which has evolved through the years to become the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance.
Our annual lecture gives us a chance to honour Anne Peaker’s legacy by exploring themes in the field of arts and criminal justice.
This year we asked, how can art create a less violence society? The evening opened with an impressive performance of Blackout by Synergy Theatre Company, a play that explores the causes and significance of one young man’s experience of the criminal justice system.
It was followed by an interesting and impassioned discussion from the panel, which asked if art contributes to violence, and the ways in which it prevents it. Inspired by Synergy’s performance, the debate covered youth violence, the power of arts to rehabilitate or manipulate, media, race, gender and institutional violence. We would like to thank our panelists:
- Alison Frater, Chair, National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance
- Rebecca Friel, Director, Odd Arts
- Chairman Kato, Artist and activist
- Keith Palmer, Director, The Comedy School
- Craig Pinkey, Urban Youth Specialist and Lecturer, University College Birmingham
- Michael Smith, Stage Manager, Synergy Theatre Project
Conversations continued over drinks in the foyer of the National’s Dorfman Theatre.