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Manchester Metropolitan University appointed to evaluate the impact of the Koestler Arts Awards

Monday 18 September 2017

Manchester Metropolitan University is delighted to be appointed by the Koestler Trust to evaluate the impact of the Koestler Arts Awards.

The university’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) won the tender in an open competition.

The Trust is Britain’s oldest and best known UK prison arts charity.  It has been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by prisoners for 50 years.  It receives 7,000 entries each year from prisoners across all art forms: fine art, craft and design; film, music and creative writing.  The awards scheme plays an important part in helping prisoners through their prison sentence.  After leaving prison some award winners have been inspired to pursue arts degrees and careers in the arts. The 2017 exhibition is being curated by the sculptor Anthony Gormley, creator of the iconic Angel of the North.

Based in the university’s faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, PERU is ideally placed to conduct this research and PERU staff have an extensive track record of conducting criminal justice research, including assessing the impact of the arts on rehabilitating prisoners.

Sally Taylor Chief Executive of the Koestler Trust is looking forward to the findings from the evaluation, “Anecdotally, we know that the arts can provide an outlet for negative feelings and for many prisoners producing art for an audience provides them with an outlet to the outside world. I am delighted to be working with PERU who have an excellent track record of providing robust evidence for the impact of schemes such as the Arts Awards. 

Professor Sharon Handley, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Manchester Metropolitan University said “The Koestler Arts Awards touches every aspect of arts activity that this Faculty champions. We know the transformative effect that the arts can have on the lives of individuals in a variety of contexts, but this has not always been captured through evaluation. I am therefore delighted that PERU will be undertaking this important research.”

The evaluation will aim to establish how the Awards Scheme and the Arts more generally has an impact on prisoners, such as improving in-custody behaviour, reducing the risk of harm to staff and improving wellbeing of prisoners”.

For more information about the Koestler Arts Awards click here.

And for more information about PERU's evaluation click here.

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