Case Studies allow Pictora to evaluate and demonstrate the qualitative impact of our work.
Case Study: Martin
Pictora first met with Martin (not his real name) in HMP The Mount in 2010 when staff there asked us if we could provide a work place for him. Martin was in the 7th year of a 14-year sentence for a drugs-related offence. He had a wife and two young children.
Martin was motivated to put his life back on track and make a positive future for his family. His children were receiving support from the education psychology service to help with both educational and behavioural challenges at school along with the trauma of losing contact with their beloved father in prison, initially held hundreds of miles away from their home.
Martin engaged with Pictora on work experience whilst released on temporary licence, working one day per week for a nine-month period, where he became involved in day-to-day activities and special projects.
Pictora continued to work with Martin upon his release, providing 1:1 support to help him secure employment, cope with family reintegration challenges and ongoing legal issues. During this period Martin helped to turn around the educational issues with his family and put both children on the road to university. He also progressed from low-skilled catering work to a supervisor role. On a personal level, Martin was encouraged to complete his own Open University degree in environmental science.
“Pictora helped me get my life and my family back.”
Pictora helped Martin to develop his passion for cycling and with the organisation’s support he established a social enterprise to train disadvantaged individuals in London to have the confidence to cycle in the city. This empowered people who were transport marginalised and increase their access to employment and public amenities, resources and support.
Martin presented his journey and business success at an international ‘Green in Everyday Life’ conference in Buckinghamshire in 2016 and went on to provide administration support and hosting for the Pictora Create4Life conference at the British Library in 2017.
Today, 12 years after engaging with Pictora, Martin has continued to live a crime-free life, whilst developing his business ideas and contributing to the ongoing work of Pictora.
Case Study: Vincent
Pictora first met with Vincent (not his real name) in HMP The Mount in 2017, when he asked to participate in the Create4Life project training.
It very soon became obvious that he was a very creative individual, who was inspired to make wonderful plastic flowers and plants. Each plant was lovingly made using discarded plastic rubbish that he found in the prison. The basis of his work being plastic bottles.
His creative work was his way to cope with prison life and the consequences of his crime. He made plants to order and donated any monies raised to charity.
Following his participation in the Create4Life training, he participated in a study visit meeting of Pictora's transnational partners to the prison, demonstrating his work.
He created a special plastic plant display to be presented at the Pictora Create4Life conference, at the British Library.
Pictora provided 1:1 mentoring support whilst in prison and continued to provide support in the community upon his release, helping his difficult transition back into society.
Photography walks and talk
Pictora encourages the use of photography with ex-offenders and vulnerable individuals as a way to develop self esteem and confidence.
Photography walks are undertaken on a 1:1 basis, with a particular focus for the photography, which could be for example, close up views of nature, shapes of buildings, reflections or street life.
The idea behind the photography walks, which last normally either a day or half a day, is to encourage the individual to leave their worries behind and just focus on the topic of their photography. It is a form of 'mindfulness', through the use of photography.
The Pictora member of staff, uses this opportunity to 'walk and talk' with the individual they are sharing the photography experience with. It allows the individual to talk more freely, if they wish to and for the Pictora member of staff to informally mentor them.
Photography walks take place in locations that the participant is unfamiliar with, giving them a new and memorable experience to remember.
After their photography walks, participants are encouraged to select images and learn how to develop them, with a view to sharing them with friends and if they want, through Pictora.
Formal evaluation reports allow Pictora to evaluate and demonstrate both the qualitative and quantitative impact of our work.
Evaluation Report on the Pictora National Training Pilot: Creativity, the Connected Economy & Offenders, at HMP The Mount.
HMP The Mount – Prison pilots 1 and 2
The project Creativity, the Connected Economy and Offenders - CCEO - funded by Erasmus+ (2015-2017), brings together a group of European partners working in the criminal justice system - Pictora, LTD (UK) - coordinator; Associação Humanidades (PT), Panevezio Correction House (LT) and RIA - Resocializacijas un Integracijas Asociacija (LV), that are passionate about exploring new approaches to support offenders in resettlement and to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, inputting a special skill set to the project.
CCEO developed, tested and mainstreamed across the EU, innovative new learning methodologies, approaches, tools/materials to support offenders/ex-offenders/individuals at risk of offending using creativity to access the Connected Economy.
Training methodologies/ materials/ tools developed by the partnership are tested with offenders/ ex- offenders/ people at risk of offending under National Training Pilots across all partner countries in order to evaluate their quality, adequacy and efficacy and also collect improvement feedback among participants.
The purpose of this report is to present the results of Training Pilots run in the UK by Pictora, in July/August 2016 and February/March 2017.
For both pilots, the programme was advertised on the prison wings by way of A4 posters and prisoners applied to participate in the pilots. On each occasion prisoner participation had to be accepted by the prison activities team and had to fit into the prison regime.
Each pilot included a mix of prisoners including Lifers, IPPs (prisoners held indefinitely as ‘imprisonment for public protection’) and those on both short and long-term sentences. Some prisoners were near their release date or near to moving to a Cat D Open Prison, whilst others still had several years to complete in prison.
Academically, both pilot groups were diverse with some prisoners being non-traditional learners with poor literacy levels and others being very academically competent.
Age wise the groups varied form early 20s to late 50s. Ethnically the groups were also diverse with learners born in a range of countries including UK, Singapore, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Albania, Brazil and Sweden.
Global Evaluation Report on the Social Vaccinations project
SV4Life is a set of bite-sized training and learning materials for practitioners working with socially excluded groups - including “social vaccines” on sustainability, safety, success and support. These combined provide practical holistic support for the individual, and often, for people surrounding, and promote, through informal learning, the development of key skills to cope with life challenges in a stronger and more positive way.
This training and learning materials were developed, tested and improved under Social Vaccinations, a 2 year transnational project developed by Pictora, UK (coordination); Associação Humanidades, PT; IGAXES3, ES; MTU Procivitas, EE and People in Need, SK, and co-funded by Lifelong Learning Programme (European Commission) through Grundtvig Learning Partnerships (nr 2012-1-GB2-GRU06-08424 2).
Social Vaccination training pilots were run by all partnership member organizations in their countries involving a diverse group of practitioners and target groups – people in social exclusion or at risk of social exclusion.
Rationale behind Social Vaccinations
Life in our modern 21st Century European society is extremely complex, challengingly fluid and increasingly stressful. For disadvantaged socially excluded groups, modern society (particularly in a time of austerity and financial recession), have multiple layers of complex exclusion. Opportunity for integration/personal development is often severely limited by:
• poor education
• lack of qualifications
• little or no employment history
• dysfunctional family structures
• poor social networks
• digital exclusion and lack of understanding on positive usage of social media
• poor financial literacy
• learned helplessness
• fuel poverty
• ageing (as an older worker)
• material deprivation
• gender/sexuality and ethnic discrimination and much more
The conditions heightened by the austerity period create new challenges for member states across the EU. How in rapidly changing times, can progression to employability, social cohesion and social exclusion be tackled, in a new innovative, cost effective yet sustainable way?
Social vaccinations focus on a range of issues that individuals face as they progress through life. The project has created a range of bite-sized social vaccination training/learning materials for practitioners working with socially excluded groups, which provide practical holistic support for the individual. By stealth, using informal learning the individual (and often their partner and family), social vaccinations develop skills and resilience to cope with life in a stronger more positive way. Resilience is important because it is the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by or even transformed by the adversities of life. Everyone faces adversities; no one is exempt. How parents or guardians respond to situations impacts on their offspring’s resilience in later life. Providing social vaccinations reduces dependency on individual member states, reduces the financial cost of social exclusion, fosters safer communities, supports the development of employability and encourages the participation of whole families in lifelong learning.
Just as with medical vaccinations, in certain situations the individual may need on-going “booster” social vaccinations to support their progression.
Problems being addressed:
• Across the EU there are socially excluded groups, from those Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) to Roma, offenders and long-term unemployed who need innovative support to cope with challenges they are facing in our modern and changing European society.
• Socially excluded groups often lack the tools to access mainstream provision in society, from education to social support. They become institutionalised/develop the condition of learned helplessness. Social vaccinations provide individuals with the tools to support the development of their empowerment and resilience in society.
• Often individuals do not need long programmes of support, but bite-sized “social vaccinations” to help keep them focused. When facing unemployment or adversity in life individuals often only require a “booster” social vaccination to support them.