The transformative power of art in the prison system – Introducing the Erasmus + project “Arts of Freedom”

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We present the “Arts of Freedom” project, a two-year Erasmus + project started in September 2020.

The project is implemented by the Croatian Association of Fine Artists from Croatia in partnership with institutions: “European Prison Education Association” from Norway, “Uniwersytet Jagiellonski” from Poland, “Eszterhazy Karoly Chatolic University” from Hungary and “Changes & Chances” from the Netherlands, while associate partners are Spanish “Department of Justice of the Generalitat de Catalunya” and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia.

The project is inspired by some praiseworthy prison painting projects in the world, and is based on successfully implemented prison aestheticization projects in Croatia. Since 2017, organized by the Croatian Society of Fine Artists and with the support of the Ministry of Justice and Administration of the Republic of Croatia, forty artists, members of the Croatian Society of Fine Artists have painted a dozen penitentiaries and prisons throughout Croatia.

Given the outstanding results and acceptance of projects implementing art interventions in marginalized spaces, HDLU, led by project manager Dr. Art. Melinda Šefčić is starting the project “Arts of Freedom”, within which two educational books will be realized, which will be intended for the education of artists and employees of the prison system and the general public.

It is known that art has a transformative power and that it contributes to the creation of a new, more humane, supportive and nurturing environment as well as creating conditions for growth and development of awareness, responsibility, development of compassion in prison, skills development and more meaningful and productive life. The aim of this project is to take advantage of all the positive aspects of art and, despite the different rules and possibilities present in prison reality, to combine seemingly incompatible artistic freedom with the prison system.

The project is, among 38 applicants, one of seven accepted and funded by the Agency for Mobility and European Union Programs with 178.349,00 EUR, implemented under Erasmus + Key Activity 2: Strategic Partnerships in Adult Education.
As part of the project, a website was created, where you can find out more about this topic and the progress of the project.

For two years, the six partners will explore this area together through numerous activities and meetings and write two educational books. Foreign institutions, from various fields of activity, provide a detailed and broad insight into all aspects of this topic. Upon completion of the project, both educational books will be available to the public in Croatian, English, Dutch, Polish and Hungarian in printed and online format, which will significantly contribute to the development of similar projects across Europe.

This announcement was made with the financial support of the European Commission. Announcement expresses the exclusive views of its authors and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.