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An Ethnographic Exploration of Participant and Practitioner Perceptions of a Shakespeare-focussed Prison Education Programme

Nicklin, Laura Louise (2019) An Ethnographic Exploration of Participant and Practitioner Perceptions of a Shakespeare-focussed Prison Education Programme. PhD thesis, University of York.

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For over two decades, there has been a progressive emergence of Shakespeare-focussed programmes for use with prisoners in the USA. Prison-based criminal retribution, though controversial, remains prevalent. Despite this, evidence demonstrates that educational sentences have greater impact on reducing recidivism. This research considers a multi-sited Shakespeare-focussed rehabilitation programme deemed successful enough to practise for over two decades. Current UK statistics show that 45% of adults reoffend within five years of release and over 30% reoffend within six months (Ministry of Justice, 2015). In the USA, probability of reoffending is higher, at 70% (US National Institute of Justice, 2017). Yet there are Shakespeare-focussed education programmes that are a supplement to incarceration, that maintain a falling reoffending rate. Though this is an important measure of the success of these programmes, my research draws on the experiences of those engaging in a long-serving multi-sited Shakespeare programme, exploring the specifics of this programme, including practices, intentions and functions. This multi-sited ethnographically informed research asks: 1) What were the specific programme practices and how were they delivered? 2) What were practitioner and participant perceptions of the specific use of Shakespeare? 3) What were the perceived and intended programme outcomes reported by and for practitioners and participants? This research considers practices undertaken, identifying intended and experienced outcomes from the perspectives of participants, practitioners and the researcher’s experiences. Key findings identify individualised impacts that have been drawn from participation surrounding personal and community development and, crucially, the rehumanisation of prisoners through engagement in this programme. This includes outcomes relating to the impact of specifically using, reading, performing and interpreting Shakespeare, individual learning, skills-acquisition, development and expression. Further it considers the wider impact that participation has had on individuals and communities, behind and beyond prison bars, particularly surrounding rehumanisation of prisoners to their communities, wider society and themselves.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Depositing User: Dr Laura Louise Nicklin
Date Deposited: 22 May 2020 15:36
Last Modified: 22 May 2020 15:36
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25991

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