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How Can Artworks Influence Decision Making?

In this conversation and Q&A moderated by Dr Emma Murray (Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University and FACT’s Criminologist in Residence), FACT’s commissioned artist Melanie Crean and Anita Dockley (The Research Director for the Howard League for Penal Reform) discuss how artworks created in collaboration with participants can influence decision making.


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Join the panel to learn more about how decision makers work alongside people with expertise through experience in participatory arts practices. The Machine to Unmake You, Melanie’s current work with the Veterans hub at HMP Altcourse, provides the framework for this conversation. In this project, the incarcerated veterans share their expertise to create a campaign. This campaign will present their needs to those involved in the policy and practice of the criminal justice system.

The Howard League

The Howard League is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.. They work with parliament, the media, criminal justice professions and stakeholders, influencing debate and forcing through meaningful change.

Anita Dockley

Anita Dockley is The Research Director and Managing Editor for the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice at the Howard League. She is an honorary visiting fellow in the School of History, Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester.

Melanie Crean

Melanie is an artist, educator and filmmaker based in New York, U.S. Her artwork includes photography, video and sound. Melanie’s practice puts participants at the centre of her projects, presenting them as experts. She uses design processes to reimagine ways of representing ourselves, understanding our realities and relating to each other.

The Machine To Unmake You

The Machine to Unmake You is a project in collaboration with the Ex-Armed Forces community, at Altcourse prison. The group decided to focus on society’s stereotyping of both veterans and the incarcerated, and the need for offboarding services after leaving the military. The veterans described how military bootcamp is a 'machine' that makes soldiers, however there is not a machine to 'unmake' them or help soldiers return to civilian society.

The title for these sessions is taken from an artwork, PESTS, by FACT Together artist, Shonagh Short.

Framework For... is made possible by funding from and is part of, a wider research project funded by the European Union, called Artsformation.

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