Art piece from the Family Ties Exhibition

A special exhibition inspired by the 2022 Turner Prize and including artworks created by prisoners and their families is on display at The Tate gallery in Liverpool.

Family Ties is a collaboration between Tate Liverpool and Novus which breaks down barriers to prisoner rehabilitation and strengthens family connections.

Lucy, Counselling and Psychotherapy Masters student, who worked on the family activities in the Clore gallery, where the exhibition took place, said: “For me, ‘Family ties’ is about connections between people that have been separated.

“Bringing in children to the space to allow them to re-create the artworks that have been created by children that have gone through that misfortune is quite heart-warming.

“‘Family ties’, honestly, it is quite special.

Children visiting the Clore Gallery during the Family Ties Exhibition

“It’s making the high art more accessible. The kids who are coming into this are feeling more included in the Turner Prize.

“And then they can see their paintings on the walls of the Tate.”

Novus believes education is the biggest tool against reoffending rates in the UK.

It is a prison education provider, operating in around 50 prisons across England and Wales.

Novus offered The Family Ties project in seven HMP prisons across the North-West and Wales.

Novus National Lead for Creative Arts and Enrichment, Sarah Hartley, said: “Creative activities are devised to be welcoming and exciting to ‘hook’ participants.

“Engaging with our creative team can support learners who have no interest in formal education, who have negative memories of school, or who are neurodiverse and struggle with more mainstream education.

“It gives them new positive experiences and offers transferable skills to help them to move onto formal education or find work on release.”

Piece inspired by the 2022 Turner Prize

She also said: “Working towards sharing their artwork publicly gave an added special feel and was something to be proud of.”

A family member, who took part in the project, said: “I liked how I could have proper human interaction with my Dad, we spent time making together and that was good ”

Another family member said: “It’s lovely that he’s been able to be involved in something like this.

“The girls love being creative so it’s something he can share with them.”

Ms Hartley added: “The project supported family ties; the learning created time to consider loved ones’ needs and interests.

“It created positive conversations on calls and visits and the family days gave the prisoners a feeling of empowerment as they led activities with their loved ones in a meaningful way.

“The Sister Gwen Trust has been the organisation who has enabled all of the Novus and Tate Family Learning projects to run. Without the Trust’s belief in the project and financial support none of the work would have been possible.”

Lucy said: “You should see the excitement of kids when they come in and they can find their own or their daddy’s piece.

Art inspired by Heather Phillipson’s piece from the 2022 Turner Prize

“It is something really, really heart-warming about seeing them in connection with each other.

“You can’t tell which one was made by a parent, or which one was made by a child. It’s all art work at the end of the day. And art is art.

“It’s a beautiful idea that brings a lot of peace to the families.”



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