As well as having our own robust monitoring systems in place, we believe that it’s greatly important to learn from external evaluation of our work whenever possible.

“An Evaluation of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Sounding Out Programme 2016-2018” Dr Rachel Massie, Andrew Jolly and Professor Laura Caulfield, Institute for Community Research & Development, University of Wolverhampton, 2019

Read An Evaluation of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Sounding Out Programme 2016-2018

Summary: An evaluation of the ex-prisoner programme Sounding Out, focusing on participants engaging in the programme between 2016 and 2018.

Key findings: “Involvement in a carefully designed programme of music creation, skills development and work placements can have a significant impact on the rehabilitation and re-integration of people seeking resettlement from prison. Consistent with a, now extensive, body of authoritative research, Sounding Out demonstrated benefits in:

  1. the development of personal and social skills associated with desistance from crime
  2. identifying focus and direction towards employment and away from reoffending
  3. building practical skills, improved musical ability, patience to work with others, and empathy through team working.

Sounding Out has benefits for an individual’s readiness for continued involvement in music. There are also benefits for the professional musicians involved and for prison and probation staff.”

Beats and Bars evaluation, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge“Beats and Bars: Music in Prisons, An Evaluation” A. Cox and L. Gelsthorpe, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, 2008

Read Beats and Bars evaluation, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

Summary: An extensive evaluation of our work over 8 projects, with a sample size of 71 participants. Key findings included a reduction in adjudications both during and after the project, an increase in confidence to participate in other educational programmes as well as confirmation that Music in Prisons projects can play a role in fulfilling the NOMS ‘Seven Pathways to Reducing Re-offending’.

“The men’s experiences of the project, particularly their feelings of encouragement to try things without judgement and to work together on a venture, clearly facilitated the development of their individual competencies and self-esteem. The individual competencies that men gained through the project may have implications not only for behaviour in prisons in the short term, but perhaps also for foundational aspects of selfhood and human capital (the capacity to co-operate, relate to others, negotiate and share, for example). These things can lead to improved outcomes once someone has been released from prison – for example, in terms of establishing relationships, confidence in one’s self, and abilities – all of which contribute to the development of social capital (opportunities, connections, and new horizons).” Beats and Bars: Music in Prisons, An Evaluation

Sounding Out evaluation An Evaluation of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Sounding Out Programme” J. Cartwight, 2013

Read Sounding Out Evaluation, J.Cartwright 2013

Summary: An evaluation of the first phase of the Sounding Out ex-prisoner programme, tracking participants over a nine-month period. Key findings include a Social Return on Investment calculation of £4.85 for every £1 invested in the programme.

“The research shows that Sounding Out was successful in offering a programme of multi-dimensional support to participants. This took the form of financial support, making new friends and contacts, on-going help to access other training and performing opportunities, a lift in motivation, hope and self-esteem, a clear sense of achievement and a positive use of time.  It was found that being paid appropriately for their time and commitment acted as an incentive not to re-offend and a support in the face of financial hardship. Additionally, being paid engendered a sense of professionalism and pride. Taking part also contributed to re-building positive family relationships and being seen in a more positive light by others.”An Evaluation of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Sounding Out Programme

“The Lullaby Project: Areas of Change and Mechanisms of Impact” Sara Ascenso, 2017

In summer 2017 the Irene Taylor Trust piloted Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute’s Lullaby Project for the first time in the UK. We partnered with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Resound to deliver two projects, one with refugee and migrant mothers from Praxis Community Projects, the other with fathers from a London prison.

Researcher Sara Ascenso has created the following report assessing the impact of these UK pilots, concluding that “the Lullaby Project model stands as a highly relevant initiative towards meeting the needs of both participant groups and the musicians, and the results make a strong case for its implementation in the UK.”

The full report is available to read here: The Lullaby Project_Areas of change and mechanisms of impact _Research by Sara Ascenso

Re-imagining Futures evaluation“Re-imagining futures: Exploring arts interventions and the process of desistance” C. Bilby, Northumbria University, L. Caulfield, Bath Spa University, L. Ridley, Northumbria University, 2013

Read the evaluation here.

Summary: A Music in Prisons project was one of four arts interventions explored by this Arts Alliance commissioned research into the impact of the arts on the process of desistance from offending.  Key findings include that participation in arts activities enable individuals to begin to redefine themselves; that arts projects facilitate high levels of engagement and that engagement in arts projects has also been shown to lead to greater participation in education and work-related activities. Findings also suggest arts projects can have a positive impact on how people manage themselves during their sentence, particularly on their ability to cooperate with others – including other participants and staff. This correlates with increased self-control and better problem-solving skills. Engagement with arts projects facilitates increased compliance with criminal justice orders and regimes. Arts projects were also found to be responsive to participants’ individual needs. It was also found that the status of arts practitioners as professional artists was highly significant in the success of projects and their impact on participants.

“In the 12 years I’ve been here, they’re the most professional and worthwhile music project. [MiP] are positive role models. They are clear about achievements. Quick to engage the prisoners. They broaden the prisoners’ experience of music. They bring different music backgrounds to the prisoners, so it’s not just rap that glorifies crime, you know. They set the expectations of the groups.” (Learning and skills manager) Re-imagining Futures

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