Dean Kelland is Ikon’s artist in residence at HMP Grendon, Buckinghamshire. Funded by the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, the focus of the residency is towards the development of artistic practice at HMP Grendon – that of Kelland and of the prison’s communities. For Kelland, the relationship between artist and prison is an exchange of ideas and practices, an ongoing dialogue that informs all aspects of the residency.
The project allows professional artists – experts in their fields – to facilitate practical workshops with the prison community, using materials and methods not normally seen inside prisons. Later in 2021 this provision will be reinforced by the conversion of a dedicated workshop space inside HMP Grendon.
Outputs for the project can be seen in the prison residents’ annual submission to the Koestler Awards – through Koestler Arts, the UK’s leading prison arts charity – as well as in annual exhibitions at HMP Grendon. The residency runs alongside a public programme of research symposiums and events at Ikon, allowing a platform for public discourse on arts practice in carceral settings.
Kelland works across performance, photography and filmmaking. His practice touches on cultures of taste and histories of class in order to produce engaging observations on collective and mediated identities. Kelland has exhibited nationally and internationally with Ikon and undertaken residencies at New Art Gallery Walsall and the Birmingham & Midland Institute. Kelland holds a PhD from Central Saint Martins (entitled Flawed Masculinities: “Rupturing” 1950s/60s/70s British Sitcom via a Performance-led Interdisciplinary Arts Practice) and is MA Fine Art course leader at the University of Wolverhampton.
“I have a studio space at Grendon and all of the creative thinking and work in progress is discussed with the men there. This collaborative side of the project has been an unexpected and exciting part of the process so far. If possible I want the work I’m making to speak to, and for, the residents and this ongoing engagement in the studio is crucial to that end. Building relationships through the studio and by facilitating practical workshops with the Grendon community has been such a positive experience and I am thankful that they have welcomed me so readily, taken on board the ideas and embraced contemporary art practice so openly.”
Dean Kelland, Artist
HMP Grendon operates a Democratic Therapeutic Community to provide group-based therapy within a social climate which promotes positive relationships, personal responsibility and social participation. Each wing is a ‘community’ – its inhabitants always referred to as ‘residents’ – operating a daily regime of art therapy, psychodrama and psychotherapy which leads to a reduction in the risk of reoffending for those who remain in treatment for more than 18 months. This environment provides a unique setting for an artist residency, previously explored by photographer Edmund Clark (2014-2019).