Wednesday, 13 November 2013
I spent today giving a talk and chatting to the inmates of Wolds Prison in Yorkshire. I was invited to the prison art department to give a talk about my work and give insight into being a working artist... and to answer any questions the inmates had. They had questions... many questions.
I will admit that I was initially very apprehensive about visiting the prison and interacting with the men there. This soon subsided as I was greeted with a thoroughly modern and humane facility bearing none of the hallmarks of the desolate and foreboding Victorian institutions of times gone by. Not exactly homey but certainly well equipped to ensure that a prisoner's stay would not be an ordeal of Dickensian proportions.
After a prolonged battle with the computer and fancy projector screen, I talked the prisoners through a selection of my past work and answered many questions. Art is clearly important to many of the people detained here and serves as a valuable therapeutic tool. One prisoner expressed strong sentiments that he would be very upset if this resource were to be taken away (or something to that effect). I was genuinely impressed with the groups enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of the subject and also thankful to have been received so warmly. I really enjoyed my time speaking to these guys and finding out more about the role of Art in a prison. I would not hesitate to visit again.
Prison food was ok too.
Surreal day but a good day