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Student Placements in Prison Learning Centres

Works produced during by prisoners working with students on placement from Glasgow School of Art.

A new partnership between New College Lanarkshire (NCL - formerly Motherwell College), Offender Learning Services and Skills and Glasgow School of Art (GSA), the project created an ambitious placement programme for GSA students in 7 prisons.

The pilot involved 15 students of Sculpture and Environmental Art who learned about planning and delivering projects in prisons, gaining practical experience and training as they progressed.

I thought this would be a challenge - being at art school is about jumping at opportunities - it did take a while to realise how the project was going to pan out and how it linked specifically with my own interests, and I saw it as a really interesting challenge; it was the curiosity and challenge that intrigued me.- Glasgow School of Art student

Dr. Fiona Dean's case study

The project, its intentions, processes and impact are described in detail in Dr Fiona Dean’s case study, commissioned as part of the ArtWorks Scotland project in 2014.


Student Placements in Prison Learning Centres

A report detailing the findings from the student placements research.

Appendix 1 - Student Placement Projects

Examples of work produced as part of the student placement projects.

Her report demonstrates the value of the project from the prison staff’s perspective:

“bringing something else into the Learning Centre […] we work with a relatively narrow curriculum and it helps to broaden that out; anything that can give another dimension.”

Crucially – the impact on the learners was entirely positive:

“I’ve come to art because of this; there was posters all up in the prison, then I passed the class on the first week and saw them and stuff they’d done - I came to the class cause I saw them, cause of how it looked - I think if the students had looked different I probably wouldn't have come along but they looked interesting and I wanted to find out what they were doing and what was happening.”


Forging new links

As well as providing skills development and professional development opportunities for everyone involved, this pilot project forged new links between institutions and provides a framework to carry forward and support developments in future collaborations between GSA and NCL:

“This is a natural continuation and part of range of things we are trying to do - connections between the inside and outside, normalise life in prisons - just the fact that the 15 students who participated now have a better of idea of what goes on in prisons is a really good thing generally and for society that’s positive.

"I believe projects like this contribute to a more humane prison environment and fit well with current SPS emphasis on rehabilitation and asset based approaches. The more of this kind of work we can do the better.” Project lead, NCL