Starting work at HMP Grendon
by James Latunji-Cockbill, Producer – Art at HMP Grendon
This blog will give monthly updates on activity surrounding the new three year artist residency at HMP Grendon. Each month content will alternate between a project update and notes from the Artist in Residence. Over a long period it will provide insight into all aspects of working on an arts programme in the criminal justice system, from the artist’s practice to events and exhibitions.
Last month Dr Dean Kelland, MA Fine Art Course Leader at the University of Wolverhampton, was announced as the new Artist in Residence, following Edmund Clark’s residency. Meanwhile, having worked on Ikon’s other major offsite project, Looping the Loop, which operates from Ikon’s Slow Boat for two years, I was recruited to the post of Producer of Art at HMP Grendon. Now based at Grendon two days a week, we are immediately working towards Kelland’s production of work, the prison community’s artistic activity and on a public programme supporting the project.
Regarding the latter, Ikon’s Autumn programme includes another in a regular series of Learning Socials – practice focused events organised by Ikon’s Learning team. This iteration features guest speaker Elliot Murawski, who has recent experience of the prison system, and artist Lisa Selby, both of whom operate as @bluebaglife on Instagram. The content on @bluebaglife has been captivating for the last year. As well as offering a platform for stories of addiction, mental health issues and incarceration, it has also detailed Elliot’s release from prison, having served two and a half years.
The session also offers Youth Programmer Sarah McNally, from the Hepworth Wakefield, a platform to report on work between youth offending and the gallery. Sarah has recently undertaken a project with young people on knife crime, very timely given the current crisis in city communities.
Art at HMP Grendon is supported by the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust and HM Prison and Probation Service.