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Anne Peaker lecture 2019

François Matarasso: A space to think

Anne Peaker was a pioneer of arts for, and by, people in the criminal justice system. Our annual lecture honours her work and legacy, which forms the basis of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance today.

In October this year, to celebrate our tenth Anne Peaker lecture, we invited community artist and writer François Matarasso to speak at the Young Vic theatre. François paid tribute to Anne’s influence on his own practice and her wider, important contribution to participatory art in criminal justice settings. The lecture spoke to the unique power of the arts to enable people to be heard, recognised and accepted – and to open us up to trust and change.

Despina Tsatsas, Executive Director of the Young Vic, opened the lecture by sharing some of the theatre’s outreach work in criminal justice settings and why it is proud to be a Ban the Box employer, alongside her own role as trustee of women’s criminal justice theatre company, Clean Break.

We were also joined by spoken word artists Jason Smith and Lady Unchained, who delivered performances of Sonnet over the Deep and Road to Victory respectively, and exhibited photographs and poetry from HMP Whitemoor’s No Admission project.

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Inspiring to hear from Francois Matarasso [at the Young Vic as part of the Anne Peaker 2019 lecture]. Many things chimed with our work & good to meet old & new friends. The work is not always easy but great to be reminded we are part of such a generous & supportive network.
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