Reintegration, hospitality and hostility: Songwriting and song-sharing in criminal justice
  • Room 210, Rolle Building, University of Plymouth

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Distant Voices is an ongoing, interdisciplinary collaborative action research project, drawing on criminology, community development, politics, practice-led research and songwriting to explore crime, punishment and reintegration through creative conversations that aim to challenge and unsettle understandings of and approaches to rehabilitation and reintegration. 

In this paper, we discuss some of the thinking behind the project and we reflect on our experiences to date as a community of enquiry. Specifically, we explore the extent to which certain practices of hospitality that we have experienced in processes of collaborative songwriting and song-sharing might mediate and resist the ‘hostile environment’ that faces people leaving prison in many contemporary societies. Drawing on our experience, we argue that hospitality is often disruptive; that creating and sustaining hospitable environments is extremely challenging; and that to do so requires careful thought and planning, including in relation to problems created by the power dynamics intrinsic to criminal justice. 

This free event is open to all. Please register your place via the Eventbrite link above or contact for further information.

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Biography: Professor Fergus McNeill

Fergus McNeill is Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow where he works in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and in Sociology. Prior to becoming an academic in 1998, Fergus worked for a decade in residential drug rehabilitation and as a criminal justice social worker. His many research projects and publications have examined institutions, cultures and practices of punishment and rehabilitation and their alternatives. 

Currently, Fergus is working on ‘Distant Voices: Coming Home’ which is a major, multi-partner three-year Economic and Social Research Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council project exploring re-integration after punishment through creative practices and research methods. 

His most recent books include Reimagining Rehabilitation: Beyond the Individual (with Lol Burke and Steve Collett) and Pervasive Punishment: Making sense of mass supervision.

Biography: Alison Urie

Alison Urie is a community development and third sector leader who has led the development of the Glasgow-based creative arts community organisation Vox Liminis. 

Vox Liminis is creating spaces where differently situated people affected by the criminal justice system communicate, connect and grow in new ways, experimenting with the role of the arts in how justice might be reimagined. 

Prior to this Alison led the first ten years of youth community organisation Hot Chocolate Trust, building creative community development work in Dundee. Her academic background is in medicine, community learning and development and theology. 

@alisonurie @VoxLiminis

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