UNLOCKED is a collection of works created by men serving sentences at  HMP Leicester, HMP Stocken, and the now-closed HMP Glen Parva, as
well as those on remand and on probation.  The exhibition – split between Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Art  Gallery and Soft Touch Arts Young People’s Arts and Heritage Centre – will become an annual event in line with a three-year mental health  research project.

The first UNLOCKED Prison Exhibition will run from 14th September – 12th October 2018. The project is a partnership between Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), Soft Touch Arts, HMP Leicester,  DeMontfort University and Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Rutland Community Rehabilitation Company (Probation). The artwork will sit alongside the Attenborough family’s collection of Picasso ceramics, Victorian classics and the city’s internationally renowned collection of German Expressionism.

Soft Touch Arts has undertaken art and music projects in Leicester’s Glen Parva Young Offenders Institute since the company started over 30 years
ago. Whilst undertaking a project with inmates in 2017, it was announced that the prison was closing. The Leicester based organisation was able to
transfer the remainder of the project to HMP Leicester.

Work in the prison started in April 2018 with support from the then governor, Phil Novis. Kieran Walsh and Lewis Buttery of Soft Touch Arts worked with
prisoners on a broad range of themes and in different media, creating artwork that drew attention away from the visual surroundings of the prison
environment to create a more peaceful and inspirational mood.

Soft Touch Arts are collaborating on a three-year research project with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) and De Montfort University into
the positive impact of art on the rehabilitation and mental wellbeing of prisoners. The work focuses on the CHIME (Connectedness, Hope, Identity,
Meaningfulness, Empowerment) model of recovery. The CHIME method has not previously been focused around the arts, nor considered in the
criminal justice context.

Based on previous pilot projects, UNLOCKED will introduce new concepts to address the needs of prisoners who experience mental ill health, and to
evidence the efficacy of the arts methodology through an academic study in partnership with Dr Victoria Knight, Senior Research Fellow, Community and Criminal Justice and Ben Carpenter, Associate Head of Visual and Performing Arts, Associate Professor Fine Art at De Montfort University.

The UNLOCKED programme has been made possible with funding from Arts Council England, the Leicestershire police and crime commissioner, DMU
local and the Gordon Trust. For more information, contact Natalie Cheary – natalie.cheary@hotmail.co.uk