Britten Pears Arts has had a relationship with HMP Warren Hill for over 20 years, both as a Young Offenders Institute and as a Category C adult male prison. The music programme aims to create positive experiences for prisoners, help raise their confidence, and provide a space to build new skills by collaborating with professional musicians.

In August 2021 our team was allowed back into the prison to restart our work. We noticed that prisoners were coming forward who had never engaged with Britten Pears Arts before and with this came a huge mix of experience. This Think Tank will play a part in informing the future direction of our work.

Download the executive summary from the day

There is a substantial legacy of arts and culture in criminal justice settings and significant knowledge and expertise has been amassed over several decades. Innovative work in this field is being commissioned by organisations working in partnership with specialist companies and artists, and new approaches to artistic practice and to wider audience development have emerged.

We took the opportunity to bring together a range of stakeholders for an in-depth discussion on the future of music in criminal justice settings, to explore how we can develop and strengthen this creative activity across all areas of the criminal justice system; how we can put people with lived experience at the heart of delivery and continue to enrich the cultural landscape for us all.

We all deserve music in our lives. Music is a right and creativity is a source of human flourishing. People in prison are worth this work. Those in custody deserve this practice as much as anyone else