A creative project between Polmont Young Offenders’ Institute, Edinburgh Napier University and Fife College has given an insight into what life is like within Scotland’s national facility for young male prisoners.
The project has seen a group of six male learners within the establishment’s learning centre work with students from Edinburgh Napier to produce a film and series of photographs that reflect their time within the establishment so far.
Through a series of sessions with BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Television students, the learners spent time developing a range of photographic and film-making techniques and have collated their efforts into a short film and photography exhibition.
The results went on display at a celebration event.
The film features several learners talking about adjusting to life in prison and offers an introduction on the learning opportunities within the establishment. The photography is based on the theme of possessions and features images of objects that hold personal significance to them.
The project was facilitated in the establishment’ learning centre which is part of the Offender Outcomes area and facilitated by staff from Fife College, supported by Mary-Ann Kennedy, photography lecturer, and Kirsten Macleod, film and TV lecturer, both of Edinburgh Napier.
Lindsay Morgan, placement co-ordinator within Edinburgh Napier’s School of Arts and Creative Industries, who was involved with the Polmont project, said: “We already has a very successful partnership with the Scottish Prison Service and Fife College through the Prison Literacy Placement Programme. It has been very rewarding to build on this link and involve students from our television and photography courses in a project which has been incredibly rewarding for all participants. Both the student teachers and young learners at Polmont should feel very proud.”
Kirsten Macleod, lecturer in Television & Film at Edinburgh Napier, said: “We were very pleased to be able to incorporate this project into BA TV’s fourth year Community Media module.
“The students have gained valuable experience working with the young learners in Polmont.
“I was really impressed with the maturity and professional approach of all the students.”
Jade Cofor, third-year photography student at Napier, said: “I think it is important for young people from all backgrounds of life to be given an equal chance to both an academic and creative education.
“Volunteering was an invaluable experience that not only gave me the opportunity to challenge my own ability to introduce and teach the basic skills of photography to others, but gave the young learners a creative outlet to give the learners the opportunity to learn something new.”