Another travel diary courtesy of work, that was kind enough to send me to London for a Prison Radio Association development day and assorted other appointments. This was the conference day itself, which was amazing.
This morning began with a quick trip on the tube to Earls Court for a photo op with a random tardis situated just outside the underground entrance. Why not, I say!
I then met Kate from Jailbreak before the event at St James Park, mainly because I’d been told it was a great spot to see squirrels! Got a little lost along the way and ended up at Buckingham Palace – my gosh that woman has some serious digs. The building that forms the core of today’s palace was built in 1703 and was acquired by King George III sixty odd years later. Buckingham Palace became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. You can see Vic at the base of (funnily enough) The Victoria Memorial sculpted by Sir Thomas Brock in 1911.
The mission to find squirrels was a complete success, but more about them in another post. Here’s a sneak preview
Kate and Squirrel
The Prison Radio Association Development Day was held at the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre. The venue was also hosting Catching Dreams, an exhibition of art created by prisoners, offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees and curated by former prisoners who had completed a year’s program of mentoring with the prison art charity, Koestler Trust.
As with the Gothic exhibition at the British Library, photos were not allowed, but I took a couple before I realised! I love the comment associated with the painting by a patient in the secure mental health unit at Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshre – “So many times we have been led to believe there would be biscuits, and there have been none”
The Development Day itself was absolutely brilliant. “Inside Prison Radio” was a development day for anyone interested in prison radio and its ability to reduce crime. Hosted by the Prison Radio Association, it included guest speakers such as representatives from the Radio Academy, the Community Media Association, the BBC and, most importantly, former presenters from National Prison Radio. The radio station broadcasts internally to prisons throughout England and Wales and is produced by prisoners who have completed formal training as part of their education. To quote the organisation’s 2013 Impact Snapshot
“National Prison Radio supports prisoners through their sentences and aims to reduce offending. It also highlights the effects of crime and imprisonment on prisoners, families, victims and society as a whole. It provides vital information and support to help the audience turn their backs on crime and rebuild their lives in preparation for release”
Kate and I gave short presentations as part of a Global Perspective session that also included representatives from Trinidad and Tobago and Hungary.
Kate Pinnock, Jailbreak 2SER, Sydney
Judit Hajdu, Borton Radio, Hungary
Anselm Spring, Rise Maximum Radio, Trinidad and Tobago
There were so many great presentations – BBC Radio 4’s Paddy O’Connell was interviewed by former National Prison Radio presenter Julian to give a masterclass on the art of the interview; an episode of “Outside In” was recorded live with a number of former Prison Radio presenters as guests and the conference attendees as the “studio audience”; Music Manager from BBC Radio 1Xtra, Austin Daboh, was interviewed by Adele Roberts, a presenter from the same station, about making music choices for different audiences; and the Prison Minister, Andrew Selous, even made an appearance and was grilled with questions from former prisoners in the audience. I’ve missed so much – see the photo captions for more info
The most important idea I got from the day was that, in Britain, there is an excellent focus on using radio to assist people while they are in prison, but nothing for them in community radio when they get out. Here in Australia we have a number of great prisoners’ radio programs on community radio, but no internal prison radio stations operating besides the 3CR Beyond the Bars annual broadcasts that happen during NAIDOC week. If the two systems could be combined it would be brilliant – and this is something a few of us plan to work on over the next year.
Once “work” was finished for the day I caught up with a dear old friend, Brother Phil, for dinner in Soho at an all-you-can-eat vegan Asian joint, and headed off to T Chances to catch the Subhumans with Grand Collapse and Perma War from Poland. For those who don’t know, the Subhumans are an anarcho-punk band that have been playing on and off since the early eighties and, even though they toured Australia last year, it was still a bit of a treat to see them again! But even better to catch up with Phil.