Working as an artist within the Criminal Justice System in England and
Germany has given unique insights into the destructive, costly cycle of
crime, prisons and re-offending. This lecture explores an understanding
of the minds, lives and challenges of offenders. Prisoners’ projects and art
demonstrate how there are vital opportunities for offenders to confront
their crimes and develop key skills so essential in leading a positive and
productive life. A frequent response to this talk has been ‘I had no idea!’
as it casts light onto areas of our society where the Arts are not only
visual, decorative and commercial, but absolutely vital, hugely relevant
and potentially life-changing.
February is the Donation Lecture supporting our Young Arts Projects.
Angela Findlay is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England. Her time ‘behind bars’ and later as Arts Coordinator of the London-based Koestler Arts, gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have in terms of rehabilitation. Though novel, her ideas were effective and in 2016 she was invited by the Ministry of Justice to support the case for the arts to be included in new, progressive programmes of rehabilitation and education. Brexit unfortunately reversed the direction of prison policy but art's role is still vital.
In the past decade Angela’s Anglo-German roots led her to research Germany’s largely unknown post-WW2 process of remembrance and the extraordinary culture of 'counter memorials' and site-specific artworks that emerged to express national shame and apology. With the current debates on statues and monuments, the ways Germany has tried to deal with its dark past is more relevant and inspiring than ever.
Angela has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art, a Diploma in Artistic Therapy (specialising in colour) and her paintings have been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her book - In My Grandfather’s Shadow - expanding on the above subjects was published by Penguin Transworld in July 2022.