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NCJAA Conference 2022: A new way of working – what does building back better look like for the arts in criminal justice?

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NCJAA Conference 2022: A new way of working – what does building back better look like for the arts in criminal justice?

We are excited to announce the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) Conference 2022 will take place virtually on Thursday 31 March 2022 between 10:00 and 16:00. This event will be packed full of insightful sessions relating to the conference theme of What does building back better look like for the arts in criminal justice?

The last two years have been difficult for those working in the arts in criminal justice. But this hard time has also highlighted the extraordinary adaptability of creative individuals and organisations who have continued to support and inspire people in the criminal justice system, while responding to the pandemic and far reaching changes in criminal justice policy.

As we emerge from the pandemic and arts organisations move from survival to recovery mode, there is a critical need to learn from our experiences and share successful approaches to the ‘new normal’ that 2022 and beyond will bring.

With a day of keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops, the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) welcomes everyone to attend and learn about how we can all best move forward together.


Conference Agenda

NCJAA Co-Chairs Anna Herrmann, (Clean Break), and Simon Ruding, (TiPP), will give an opening address before keynote speeches from Esther Thompson (One Small Thing) and Jennifer Walmsley (BearFace Theatre) on the importance of organisations embedding trauma-informed practices in their ways of working.

A panel discussion will focus on what building back better looks like from a range of different settings. Ralph Lubkowski, (Governor of HMP Hewell), will share his views on what best practice for arts provisions could be within prisons and Erika Flowers (Koestler award winning artist), will discuss fairer employment opportunities for freelancers with lived experience and independent artists working in the criminal justice system

Attendees are invited to join afternoon workshops facilitated by specialists who have developed better ways of working during the pandemic. This year, workshops will be led by In Focus Education and Development, Odd Arts, It’s Not Your Birthday But…, and Niki Gibbs.



There are four workshops being delivered at our conference, with attendees able to select which two they would like to participate in when registering for the event:

Workshop 1: Online Delivery of the Bronze Arts Awards

Xavier Fiddes (In Focus Education and Development) will discuss how his creative organisation used technology to successfully deliver services during the pandemic; and how it can be used to support creative discovery with groups such as young people in the criminal justice system.

Workshop 2: Bringing Arts in Criminal Justice to a Wider Public Audience

Niki Gibbs (artist and NCJAA member) will explore ways we can bring arts within criminal justice into the public domain, using the Women’s Building on the former site of HMP Holloway as a case study.

Workshop 3: Isn’t That Risky?

Rebecca Friel (Odd Arts) will outline how her arts organisation responded to the crisis and how it shifted their understanding of risk. She will explore emotional versus rational decision making when making professional decisions and how we must all embrace risk in the future.

Workshop 4: Who has the power? Do we truly co-create in secure settings and how can we do it better?

Wendy Smithers (It’s Not Your Birthday But…) will be having an open conversation about what co-creation looks like in secure settings and how arts organisations working within the criminal justice system can better place the communities they serve at the heart of power.




10:00 – 12:00 Welcome & Introductions NCJAA Co-Chair Anna Hermann (Clean Break)
NCJAA Co-Chair Simon Ruding (Theatres in Prisons & Probation Centre)
Keynote Speakers Esther Thompson (One Small Thing) & Jennifer Walmsley (BearFace Theatre)
Becoming Trauma-Informed – why is it important and how do we achieve it?
Panel Discussion & Q&A Ralph Lubkowski (Governor HMP Hewell) & Erika Flowers (Koestler award winning artist)
Building Back Better in secure settings; Freelancer Advice; Fairer Employment Opportunities
12:00 – 13:00 Break
13:00 – 14:00 First Workshops Xavier Fiddes (In Focus Education & Development) – how can we better use technology?
Niki Gibbs (Artist and NCJAA member) – how do we bring arts into the public domain?
 14:00 – 14:30 Break
14:30 – 16:00 Second Workshops Rebecca Friel (Odd Arts) – how do we now think about risk when making decisions?
Wendy Smithers (It’s Not Your Birthday But…) – power and how to co-create in art organisations?

Image Credit: Elijah Thompson