What works?: Prison, gender, and the affective labour of applied theatre in prison

Walsh, Aylwyn (2018) What works?: Prison, gender, and the affective labour of applied theatre in prison. In: Applied theatre: women and the criminal justice system. Methuen. ISBN 9781474262552

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Applied theatre in prisons has a rich history in the UK, although projects are often dogged by unrealistic expectations of ‘transformation’. As I set out to show in the initial part of the chapter, arts projects are granted access after security clearance under assumptions that they will contribute to the narratives of ‘what works?’ – a catchphrase that has dominated criminological research (see McNeil et al, 2010). But expectations of arts as curative or benevolent in the context of institutions do not only come from the prison service – organisations and artist facilitators often also perpetuate them.

Nonetheless, there is the need to engage with how applied theatre can sometimes sit within and alongside larger institutional frameworks as punitive, limiting and contributing to the narration of women in prison as ‘offenders’ whose affective labour ought to be working towards a revision of themselves that is more acceptable to society.

Keywords:feminist criminology, applied theatre, Women in Prison
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W490 Drama not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:20093
Deposited On:23 Jan 2016 17:57

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