3 July 2018
by Rebecca Lindum Greene, volunteer at Kettle’s Yard
Last month I wrote a blog post about my work with flowers in the Kettle’s Yard cottages. In that blog, I mentioned the practice acting as a counterbalance to my work in prison.
In March 2017 I received Arts Council funding to run ‘Drawing Connections …at the edges’ (DC). In this project I worked in HMP Springhill, a Category D (lowest security) open prison, bringing 6 students from the local Banbury & Bicester college in to learn alongside 6 men within the grounds of the prison over a course of 6, artist led workshops. The project proved very successful and we hope to repeat the program again this Autumn.
Following the success of ‘DC’ I have been working in HMP Whitemoor, a much higher security prison. I have been engaged to work in the close surveillance centre and their Fens Unit, an NHS Partnership Trust wing working with people who have severe personality disorders through a five year therapeutic programme. For security reasons I have not been able to bring in external students, however, I am working for 12 weeks with a group of 8 men on the Fens Unit. It is a huge challenge, but a rewarding one.
Kettle’s Yard provides a great sanctuary for a number of people, as many know it exudes peace, balance and harmony. For me I would consider it a therapeutic space (some of the best Art Therapy I have experienced has been within its walls) and I wanted to share my experience of it with the men I am working with, in an attempt to encourage the best in them and grow as individuals.
Art enables the individual to make sense of the world, by expressing oneself and finding peace. Alfred Wallis, who turned to painting after the death of his wife, was never taught to paint but he picked up the practice, painting using the memories of his time as a fisherman. He painted from his heart; composition and perspective were not his concern.
Explaining all this to the men, our first session concluded with a reflection on Alfred Wallis’ work: using Kettle’s Yard’s excellent learning resources, many found comfort in his seascapes, the soothing tones and thoughts of voyages to (not so) distant lands. In the session we made origami boats, which they decorated and named. We thought about where their boat might take them and for many, the destination was home.
Rebecca Lindum Greene graduated as an Illustrator, from University of Lincoln in 2004. Whilst working for John Greed Design, Rebecca volunteered with Converse Theatre running Drama Therapy Sessions through the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT). Producing the Lincoln Mystery Plays in 2012, Rebecca continued collaborating with Drama, Art and Horticultural Therapy projects run by LPFT who contributed creatively to LMP2012.
In 2013 after moving to Cambridge, Rebecca started volunteering at Kettle’s Yard, later working as an invigilator and lastly, before its closure for development in June 2015, she co-ordinated Castle Hill Open Day. Having worked in departments of the University, including with the project Learning Together, Rebecca now works at the Institute of Criminology. Alongside volunteering at Kettle’s Yard with the flowers, she has founded ‘Drawing Connections …at the edges’ to bring the rehabilitative nature of creativity to people in prison environments.