Prison Arts Foundation

Prison Arts Foundation

Unit 3 Clanmill Arts & Business Centre
2-10 Bridge Street
United Kingdom




Ex-offenders and prisoners

To inspire creativity and encourage personal and social change in offenders within the criminal justice system, through the arts.

The Prison Arts Foundation’s (PAF) purpose is to assist the rehabilitation of people who have offended in Northern Ireland using a range of art forms including writing, drama, visual art, craft and music.  We engage professional artists and practitioners to teach enthuse and give inspiration to those serving custodial and community sentences.  The geographical reach of PAF’s residency programmes extends across all three prison establishments in Northern Ireland: HMP Maghaberry, HMP Magilligan and Hydebank Wood Female Prison and Young Offenders Centre.  We also have a series of community based programmes across Northern Ireland.

PAF artists and practitioners adopt an innovative approach to teaching, as opposed to more formal scholastic approaches that can often alienate people who have offended, many of whom have had a bad experience of traditional educational methods. This enables PAF artists and practitioners to gain the trust of offenders, who do not regard them as part of the ‘system’, which is essential to the development of a good working relationship.

In our approach we are building on 20 years experience of working in prison environments.  PAF’s role within the criminal justice system is unique.  Our art interventions are a catalyst for rehabilitation.  PAF’s work has the potential to have wide ranging effects on people who have offended whose lives can be profoundly transformed; on internal relationships within prisons, between prisoners and between prisoners and staff; and externally, between people who have offended and their families and communities.

Participation in PAF workshops is often the first step towards someone engaging more widely with formal education and PAF has close links with education and vocational training services in the prisons.  The ultimate aim of PAF is to help those in custody and those coming out of prison to develop new skills, aiding personal development, rehabilitation and employment prospects upon release.


Our vision is of a criminal justice system where all its stakeholders value PAF’s work as a crucial element of the rehabilitation process and everyone has the opportunity to positively channel their creative energies and talents through the arts


The following values underpin all aspects of PAF’s work. All staff, artists and trustees are expected to uphold and promote these values:

1.    Excellence - All our activities should be carried out to the highest ethical and professional standards

2.    Capacity for Change - Everyone has the capacity for change. The arts are a powerful tool for change

3.    Respect - Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect

4.    Responsibility - Each person is responsible and accountable for their own actions. PAF artists are honest in all their dealings with people who haev offended and promote responsibility for their actions.

5.    Focused - Arts programmes should respond effectively to the needs, interests and talents of participants. PAF’s role is to support participants in their unique creative journey

6.    Collaboration - The PAF is much more effective when working in close partnership with its key stakeholders

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  • Adele Campbell
  • Fred Caulfield