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Women in Prison New Beginnings Art Awards September 2020 - exhibition runs until #Nov29th
Mary Chater
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Women in Prison New Beginnings Art Awards September 2020 - exhibition runs until #Nov29th

#TheLightBox #WomensSupportCentreWoking present their #10th New Beginnings Art Awards

The New Beginnings Art Awards is an annual art competition for women. The competition is open to
both women in the community, and those in any of the three women’s prisons in Surrey: HMP Send, HMP
Bronzefield and HMP Downview. This year’s theme is ‘Looking Through a Different Lens’.
The Art Awards specifically focus on engaging with women who are at risk of being, or who are,
involved with the Criminal Justice System. The Awards give women the opportunity to achieve and
develop the skills needed to think about leading a life based on positive decision making.
The project is aimed at encouraging and motivating women to engage in honest and reflective
communication, and expression of feelings via the pieces they create. It also inspires a commitment
to complete the piece and awards a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Furthermore, it gives
women the opportunity to showcase their talent and receive feedback from both the community and the
judges.
In previous years, women have come together in the Art Workshops and have connected through a
supportive and nurturing environment. Often this leads to being able to access other vitally needed
services, once the process of understanding barriers to engagement has begun.
Due to Covid-19 the workshops have been run differently this year, but have still been active and
inspirational. All workshops have been virtual and focused on finding ways to express the ongoing
struggles and challenges faced by women from a completely different view point. A participant
commented that ‘the change in the world has forced us to look at ourselves and others from a different
perspective’ and what a positive journey this has been.
The group sessions became inspiring and a source of hope and connection. It evidenced the faith and
drive that is still alive in the women that receive support from the WSC, despite Covid-19 and isolation.
One women said after a workshop:
“The art awards has given me a sense of achievement, despite everything that has happened in 2020, I
have learnt that I am much more capable than I thought I was.”
The Art Awards has two categories: Visual Art and Creative Writing.
The Art Awards Scheme is supported by The Lightbox, Women in Prison and Woking Borough Council.
Some works in the exhibition are for sale, with proceeds split between the artist and the Women’s
Support Centre.
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