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Uplift Project – Year One

March 2024 - We reflect on the first year of our Arts Council funded Uplift project in Wolverhampton

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Last year, we were successful in our application for an additional funding request from Arts Council England. Uplift funding will see an investment in our work within criminal justice in our local “Levelling up for Culture” areas over the next three years. We will be developing our partnership work with local prisons, delivering a series of projects in the local community and providing opportunities for local artists and practitioners to train and work with us.

We have just completed year one of the project and have been working in Wolverhampton to develop a network of artists and statutory and third sector organisations to connect, share practice and strengthen the role of arts in criminal justice and social welfare settings in the local area. So far, we have delivered projects in HMP Oakwood and hosted an Introductory Session, a Community Project, and our The Other Side of the Wall training in the city.

Geese practitioner Liz delivers a session

Introductory Session
The session was attended by 20 people from a range of working backgrounds, including artists and representatives from a number of third sector and statutory organisations. We shared some of our practice and provided an opportunity for people working in the area to share their practice with us. The event was supported by Creative Black Country and Curiosity Productions.

Creative Prison Project

Projects in HMP Oakwood
We delivered a week-long creative project at HMP Oakwood in October 2023, to develop creative opportunities in the city’s closest prison. 11 participants attended and we received some wonderful feedback:

– “It was fun to get involved and I found it life changing.”

– “Profound and a memory I won’t forget.”

– “I felt as if it made me more confident.”

Participants of TOSOW

The Other Side of the Wall

Lou, our Director of Programmes, delivered our three-day training course The Other Side of the Wall in Wolverhampton. The training course focuses on some of the basic principles behind Geese’s use of theatre and drama with people in secure and community settings, and offers participants effective and widely applicable techniques to embed within their practice. Four bursary spaces were made available to professionals working with people with lived experience of the criminal justice system in the area.

“I particularly enjoyed the fusion between facilitation and drama based-activities. The mix of both the theoretical and practical elements worked very well together. The use of games to build connection through play helped to not only create fun activities but also linked with the context of the role play and scenes.” – Participant

Community project participants

Community Project

In January and February 2024, our Artistic Director, Andy, and practitioner, Becky, delivered a project at the Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery which culminated in a performance, “Out of Darkness Cometh Light”, which premiered at Newhampton Arts Centre.

Andy said of the project:
“The welcome and support we have had from the Wolverhampton community has been phenomenal. For the community project we worked in partnership with SUIT who provided amazing levels of pastoral support and care to the individuals in the group. We also must acknowledge the team at the Good Shepherd for their support, all the staff at the Museum and Art Gallery who were so welcoming, the team at Newhampton Arts Centre and everyone in the audience who attended the final performance. Our work is about using theatre and drama to provide hope, to offer opportunities for change and growth and to enable people who might traditionally feel marginalised or excluded to have a voice and a space to be heard. We are delighted that this project has been so successful and well received and excited to think about how we harness the momentum and deliver future projects in the Wolverhampton area.”

“Every workshop has taught me something. 8 years in recovery and I’ve built many skills, but I have many more now! It has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life.” – Participant

Listen to Becky on the Good Shepherd podcast!

If you:

  • work in criminal justice in the Wolverhampton area and would like to know more about the project or would like to refer someone who might benefit from being involved;
  • are an artist / criminal justice practitioner interested in learning more about delivering arts in criminal justice settings and are interested in receiving some free training from Geese;
  • want to be kept up-to-date with future public performance dates;

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Have more questions?

Contact us if you’d like to find out more about commissioning a project with Geese.

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