This year’s Project Rua was a creativity and wellbeing programme for women in Arohata Women's Prison. It started in August and ended in October, with 19 participants from all units across Arohata Women’s Prison.
Our 2022 programme was pretty different from normal. Unfortunately, due to the prison being in lockdown, we couldn't come in and bring the majik with us! So it became an opportunity to try different ways to create art and practice self-expression.
The workbook was designed using original Home Ground content, in collaboration with 5Ever, a local publishing company. The workbooks were full of original, creative content that included arts-based education in creativity and wellbeing. We included multi-disciplinary work sheets and a range of visual aids to introduce Home Ground to the Arohata community.
Women had the opportunity to complete different tasks then post them to our PO Box address. We responded via email with feedback, suggestions for creative development, and extension worksheets. Along the way, participants learnt about themselves and their creative process.
"The book Home Ground has created is full of colour, and inspiration, and hope. The quality of the book itself is beautiful, which makes you want to put quality work in it. The workbook is far more than just an activity book, it is more like your own customised journal. The activities are unique and unexpected".
Remote delivery of the programme made it much harder to monitor participation! But we had enthusiastic feedback from staff, other community providers and wāhine about high engagement with the use of the workbook. It was a full, vibrant, colourful workbook that was well received by everyone, and wāhine have a beautiful keepsake to remind them of their time and creative achievements with Home Ground.
Not only that, but we went ahead and delivered a creative initiative in a time when no one else was delivering inside Arohata. And our workbook became a tangible marketing tool for Home Ground in prison, engaging women for post-release programmes in the community.
“I can apply what I have learnt and gathered from the Home Ground book which I am really excited about, creative healing.”
We’ll definitely use the workbooks in future programmes – look forward to new editions of the workbook next year!