Changing the record: reassessing effectiveness and value in prison music projects

Doxat-Pratt, Sarah (2019) Changing the record: reassessing effectiveness and value in prison music projects. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis proposes a new approach for understanding and articulating the value of prison music projects. It responds to a report from the Arts Alliance (now National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance), which stated that ‘arts organisations had still not managed to unpick what the arts does and how it does it’ in a prison context (Arts Alliance, Evidence Library (2011), 35). This suggests that much attention has been focused on the ‘effects’ of musical interventions, but not enough on the critical attendant questions: how, why, and for whom? Funding demands and political and cultural developments have meant that the pressure to prove results and satisfy legislators is felt by researchers, practitioners and participants.

The data for the research come from over a year of fieldwork with the Irene Taylor Trust, conducted in a medium security, adult, male prison. The thesis problematises current notions of effectiveness, arguing that they do not adequately capture what prisoner participants themselves value in their musical activities. Decisions about what constitutes a ‘good’ effect in a prison music project tend to be made by those other than the participants themselves, meaning the voices of the participants are often left out of the discourse. This thesis therefore prioritises the hopes, experiences and values of prisoner participants in the Irene Taylor Trust projects. It aims to provide a clear account of what happened in an Irene Taylor Trust music session, and what mattered to the participants. From this, it provides a suggested list of criteria which might be put forward if it were the prisoner participants themselves who were in charge of evaluating the projects. I suggest that these can be used in conjunction with other notions of success, in order to ‘change the record’ with which we articulate the value of prison music projects.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Adlington, Robert
Gooch, Kate
Keywords: Music, Prisons, Rehabilitation, Desistance, Measuring outcomes, Value, Music--Psychological aspects, Music--Social aspects
Subjects: M Music and Literature on music > ML Literature of music
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 56101
Depositing User: Doxat-Pratt, Sarah
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 04:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 11:31

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