LandWorks

Land art sculpture cob wall cobbing
Land art sculpture landworks cob wall evening

Between August 2015 - May 2016, 41 participants helped create the LandWorks TimeLine,
including: people serving prison sentences, Plymouth University art students and academics,
volunteers, staff, and visitors.

LandWorks is an independent charity providing a supported route back into the community for
current and ex-prisoners.

Aims
1. Collaborating with participants to create an artwork to be proud of, for which they could take
ownership.
2. A chance to learn new skills and to meet a variety of people (craftsmen, students, artists, local
business owners).
3. At the same time, we wanted to create a space which brought LandWorks supporters closer to
the project, providing an insight into what happens on site in Dartington.

Funded by
Arts Council EnglandPlymouth Fund (Plymouth University)
LandWorks

Location
LandWorks, Quarry Field, Dartington, Devon TQ9 6EA

Description of the arts activity

Participants hand-crafted a permanent land art sculpture, consisting of a cob wall, timber frame and meadow roof, with a ceramic tile timeline.  Hand-sculpting the cob wall, working 1-1 facing each other on opposite sides, with hands occupied making, allowed a different level of conversation to occur. From guilt, crime, denial, hate, anger, to questioning, reckoning, family, love, and acceptance.  Each participant made and painted a ceramic tile, thereby placing their name on the wall
permanently, creating a sense of belonging, and a place to return to with friends and family.  Previous trainees who had attended at LandWorks came back to make their tiles too, alongside staff and volunteers.  Participants were involved through all stages, from the initial concept, to discussion groups and modifications throughout the project, to hands-on building and sculpting.

Details of the project participants

10 Artists
41 Participants (current and ex-offenders, art students, volunteers, staff, and visitors.
276 Audience (Live)
50,000 (minimum) Audience (broadcast, online, in writing)
LandWorks was established in 2013, and had already established an outdoor working scheme
whereby on average 8-9 offenders and ex-offenders are on placement at any time, usually for 6
months.
LandWorks keeps in touch with past participants for at least 18 months, all have returned with
family and friends to show past accomplishments.

Project management

Sarah Jane Hodge: Lead Artist and Art Coordinator - responsible for delivery of art projects on time and to budget.
Chris Parsons: LandWorks Manager -Provides site to create and display work, manages current and ex-offenders
when on site.
Dr Sarah Bennett: Associate Professor in Fine Art and Associate Head of School Art and Media, Plymouth University -
Mentor to Sarah Jane Hodge, providing application and planning advice. Providing crit and evaluation after project completion.
LandWorks Trustees: Provide an independent review and guidance for the project
All participants choose to what level they are involved, all are encouraged to have a go. The
project is fully funded, therefore no cost to participants.

Evaluation methods and findings

The LandWorks project is evaluated by Dr Joyce Halliday, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Social Policy and Sociology, Plymouth University, measured from (1) ex-offender (trainee) and (2) local community perspectives (including artists engaged on the project).

Measures of success of (1) include:
Re-offending rates;
Employability;
Improvement in life and social skills;
Trainee perception of ‘self-worth’, ‘stability’ and ‘feeling settled’.

Measures of success of (2) include:
- Perceptions of the local community/visitors towards ex-offenders/the project;
Measures of the effectiveness of partnership arrangements, and engagement with stakeholders,
staff and
volunteers (including the strength of community connections).
Findings from Plymouth University are still being collated as part of the wider project.
However, feedback taken via an anonymous questionnaire completed by 8 participants:
100% felt the local community would be brought closer to LandWorks as a result of
the structure.
100% were introduced to a new craft or skill
75% thought their involvement with the project allowed them to talk about and/or
reflect on their situation
100% said their involvement with the project had allowed them to talk about and/or
reflect on the publics perception of people in prison
We allowed space for extra comments:
“I have gained a feeling of self-worth again and believe that the future holds great things
for me”
“It will be a landmark for LandWorks – it’s an impressive structure”
“Big experience day, well enjoyed and many more to come. Taken pride of what I’ve done
today – it’s amazing!”
“[It’s given me] a time to think, a time to laugh, and a sense of achievement”
- LandWorks trainees

Through this project we have gathered evidence that art improves wellbeing, but there are
ways in which we can improve. This project has provided a means for trainees to imagine
things as they might be - powerful when in a prison cell for 23 hours per day with little
hope. However we can investigate helping trainees to have complete ownership of their
artworks: developing problem-solving skills by evolving a creative concept into a visual
piece of art, considering materials, the intended message, and audience interpretation.
We need funding for the next 2 year art project: LandWorks ArtWorks. LandWorks needs
continued funding for Sarah Jane Hodge to help trainees become maker/researchers,
and develop their own ideas into artworks with complete ownership of work,
culminating in an exhibition at the end of the two years.

This would allow investigation into the link between art, wellbeing, and reductions in reoffending

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England