• 24 October 2017
    • Creative Conversation Three: arts, older people and the criminal justice system
    • Perth Concert Hall, Perth, Mill Street, Perth PH1 5HZ

Our third Creative Conversation focused on the topic of arts, older people and the criminal justice system. We were very excited to team up with Luminate and Horsecross Arts in Perth for this event and we advertised our event in Luminate’s Creative Ageing Festival online and in their print programme.

A total of 18 people from 15 organisations participated in the event on Tuesday 24 October 2017 in the Perth Concert Hall. Participants represented a number of arts, health and criminal justice organisations including the Scottish Prison Arts Network, the Travelling Gallery, Horsecross Arts, Arts Beat, Fife College, Luminate, Citizens Theatre, Artlink Central, Scottish Care, Musicians in Healthcare, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Dance Base, Tricky Hat Productions, Age Scotland and the ScotAnne Gallacher, Director of Luminate, welcomed participants and gave an overview of the Luminate program, as well as welcomed the new addition of the SPAN workshop. The programme then consisted of three sections of reflections that represent different experiences in the field of arts, older people and criminal justice.

  • Jane Bentley, Art Beat, gave a short presentation on her experience leading music workshops with older people who experience dementia and gave a practical demonstration (with boomwhackers) of a musical exercise she uses with groups.
  • Joe Biden, The Wise Group, prepared a slide show presenting his experience of creating art in custody and the importance of art in maintaining his mental and social health while in prison. Unfortunately, Joe Biden was unable to attend the session due to sudden illness; Kirstin Anderson presented his work after speaking with him at length on the telephone before the workshop.
  • Duncan Wilson, Scottish Prison Service, shared his experiences in managing a hall for older prisoners at HMP Dumfries. He gave a presentation, with visuals of the hall and artwork, which reviewed the daily life of an older person navigating prison life.

The presentations were followed by an hour-long session of group discussions to outline challenges and opportunities in working with older people in custody. Participants were especially interested in developing further events focused on the arts and throughcare, funding for project work and supporting people with learning disabilites, autism and mental health in custody. Finally, there was an interest amongst the participants to develop further conversation around the parallels of caring for older people in custodial settings and care homes, and whether the two sectors could learn from each other.