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The Evidence Library, Arts Alliance, 2010-2011
AMA was commissioned by the Arts Alliance to research and summarise the range of research and evaluations undertaken over the last seven years by the Arts in CJS organisations.

The Evidence Library is intended to build on a previous literature review, commissioned by Arts Council England, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Offenders’ Learning and Skills Unit at the Department for Education and Skills. In 2004 Doing the Arts Justice* was published which provided a significant literature review with a clear account of the current evidence and theory base for the arts in the criminal justice sector to inform both practitioners and policy makers. This was the first stage of a larger action research programme initiated by the Research into Arts and Criminal Justice (REACTT), a think tank established in 2002, which brought together representatives from the key government departments and agencies, with the major players in the arts and criminal justice sector.

Just over 60 research and evaluation documents were collated and the document lists them with their title, date, authors, availability and accompanying brief descriptions of objectives and focus. This is complemented by brief information on the University and research links, cross-referencing key arts-based evaluations, other relevant research and publications and some contact details.

Key academics, criminologists and researchers interviewed included:

Charlotte Bilby, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Dept of Social Sciences, University of Northumbria
Laura Caulfield, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Division of Psychology and Centre for Applied Criminology, Birmingham City University
Dr Leonidas Cheliotis, Lecturer in Criminology & Deputy Director, Centre for Criminal Justice, Queen Mary College, London;
Dr. Roger Grimshaw, Research Director, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies;
Professor Alison Liebling, Institute of Criminology and Director of the Prisons Research Centre, University of Cambridge;
Professor Shadd Maruna, Professor of Human Development and Justice Studies, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast;
Dr Andrew Miles, Senior research fellow, Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural change (CRESC) University of Manchester.

Download The Evidence Library

* ‘Doing the Arts Justice: a review of research literature, practice and theory’ Jenny Hughes, Ed A Miles, A McLewin, Arts Council England (2005)

Creative Partnerships – Evaluations 2005-07
AMA was commissioned by Creative Partnerships national office to evaluate their 2-day ‘Spring School’, held at Warwick University in March 2006, which focused on the role of young people as equal partners.

A ‘Reflective Journal’, initially used in the CP Kent evaluation (see below) was developed for the spring school participants, adapting and incorporating the CP evaluation model of the key stages of creative learning. A report on the evaluation was produced, including quantitative data, analysis and collation of qualitative statements and overall findings. AMA worked with Creative Partnerships Kent to develop an appropriate evaluation for their ‘Creativity in Practice’ 2-day Training Course at Kent Institute for Art and Design (KIAD) in July 2005. Its aims were to:

  • evaluate the effectiveness of the Creativity in Practice course to develop and consolidate a repeatable model of training
  • produce and practical and promotional document.

This ‘Reflective Journal’ methodology was specifically developed for use by delegates both during and after the course. The Journal incorporated the principles and elements of creative learning, enabling participants to use key CP criteria to evaluate their own experiences of the training programme.

Creative Partnerships – Scoping Study, 2004-05
AMA was commissioned to research a scoping study on ‘Creativity, Creative Partnerships and young people at risk of exclusion’ by the Learning Team at Creative Partnerships national office. This scoping study was part of a series of Scoping studies to support CP Area Directors on key issues.

The study:

  • described how policies and practices related to provision for young people at risk of exclusion are changing, and analysed potential links
  • explored what was already being done in local Creative Partnerships in terms of projects, approaches or partnerships
  • explored what was already being done beyond CP areas, both nationally and internationally in terms of projects, approaches or partnerships
  • created a series of detailed, outcomes-focused case studies
  • made concrete, actionable recommendations, supported by evidence- based practice, to CP at local and national levels.

Arts Council England - The arts and young people at risk of offending strategy, 2005
Angus McLewin mapped the direct and partnership provision of the arts across the nine regions and developed the draft national framework that informed this strategy document, linking the mapping to the emerging four key CJS priority areas in the ‘Reducing Re-offending National Action Plan’, published in July 2004 and the implementation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The draft national framework outlined the way forward within each of the CJS priority areas at a national, regional and local level and formed the basis for the subsequent regional Action Plans developed by the nine Arts Council England regional offices.

This was Arts Council England's first national strategy for the arts and young people at risk of offending, published in October, 2005.

REACTT- The Research into Arts and Criminal Justice Think Tank, 2002-04

During his time at the Unit for the Arts and Offenders (now the Anne Peaker Centre), Angus McLewin recognised the need for robust and longitudinal evidence on the role of the arts in the criminal justice system. With colleague Pauline Gladstone, he brought together key representatives from the Home Office , DfES, DCMS and Arts Council England to establish a cross-cutting think tank. The key partners at the DCMS, DfES and Arts Council England were convinced of this need and commissioned the first systematic review of all published and unpublished literature in the arts and criminal justice field. This was carried out by the Centre for Applied Theatre Research at the University of Manchester and edited jointly by Dr.Andrew Miles and Angus McLewin to become ‘Doing the Arts Justice’ Arts Council England (2005).

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