On Tuesday evening, Cyrenians hosted a reception at HMP Addiewell to celebrate artwork created by prisoners and visitors as part of this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. One of the first SMHAF events to take place in a prison, the exhibition will be available for visitors to the prison to view and engage with throughout May. 

The exhibition was developed around the theme of Connected. Over the last few months, staff from the visitor centre at HMP Addiewell have worked with adults and children on a range of creative activities, aiming to bring families closer together at a time when relationships can be fraught and stressful. 

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By focusing on the theme of “staying connected”, they have explored what that means to them. How can we stay connected? Why is it important? This was a real partnership event, taking a collaborative approach involving staff at the visitor centre, internal organisations and some of the residents themselves, who submitted poetry and art, and weren’t phased when asked to build a postbox. 

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Other artwork that has been produced includes a tree with family handprints, showing that we are all rooted together no matter where we are, an anchor representing the grounding of a family during the rough times, writing from residents within HMP Addiewell, hearts with personal messages to loved ones, and arts and crafts completed by the children who attend.

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The exhibition is not open to the public, but we hope you enjoy looking at the images and that it inspires further creative work in prisons and other settings as part of the festival. 

To find out more about the work Cyrenians do, please visit their website. There are a range of exhibitions taking place in gallery and community settings throughout Edinburgh & Lothian and across Scotland. For full listings, click here