Criminalised individuals remain one of the most vilified, marginalised and excluded social groups.
This is particularly felt and enacted on release from prison, yet limited attention is paid to the lived experience of the ‘pains of release’ and a neglect of narratives from former prisoners.
‘Finishing Time’ is a two-year project (2018-20) funded by a discretionary grant from the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF), that aims to explore the lived experience of resettlement into the community after punishment. To date, through a series of in-depth interviews ten men have mapped their resettlement journeys using images, photographs and timelines to help organise their memories and encourage a temporal sense of how their lives may have changed. These interviews produced pertinent themes, particularly for those more recently released who documented a sense of isolation and feelings of fear and shame.i-Poems created from the interview transcripts, give authenticity to the voices of those participating in the research constituting one element of the Voice Centred Relational Method (VCRM). Following this method, ‘i-poems’ are created from the ‘I’, ‘we’ and ‘you’ statements as they appear in the transcripts and become powerful personal statements of intent that prioritise the voice of the narrator. The power of the i-poem is intensified when it is the voice of the original speaker being recorded.
These audio files have been used to produce short films created with additional elements such as their timelines, photographs and some artistic videography interpretations. In an attempt to give voice to one of the most vilified and marginalised social groups, the research has become a process of making and unmaking, organising and arranging a kind of temporal bricolage that reveals alternative rehabilitative conceptualisations of wellbeing and meaning beyond the notion of released subjects as risky and potentially transgressive. Instead, there is vulnerability and resilience.
i-Poems ran for the duration of the ESRC Festival of Social Science and is accessible at: www.finishingtime.online