Since May 2013 some of us have been working with prisoners at Erlestoke helping them to produce written material that is to be used at an Exhibition in Poole Museum in July on the Swash Channel Wreck – a vessel sunk just outside Poole in the 17th century. This is run by Bournemouth University, who put on a two day educational project on the Bournemouth seafront in June to show what marine archaeology was all about.
It was a shame that despite the fact that ‘our’ prisoners had produced scripts for an audio play (which was supposedly being recorded within the prison but has yet to be heard), made two amazing models of 17th century ships from matchsticks, done two paintings and produced a replica of a boardgame of the period very little was shown at this event. The rehabilitation charity we have been working with were insistent that the arrangements for getting material to Bournemouth was not our responsibility, and turned down our offers to take the stuff from A to B.
Other participants had interesting exhibits and games such as this one where Mike Williams used a cunning little remote controlled diving vessel to grab underwater goodies.
The table allocated to the charity that is running our project only showed one very good painting, one monologue printed out on A4 paper with no credit to the author and a poem that had at least been mounted. There was no information displayed about how these items came about and no one from the charity was there to man the stand. We are not sure of the copyright implications of publishing the rest of the written material produced by the prisoners here and would need to ask their permission. If we can clarify that we will share it, as it is something they can be proud of.
We can only hope that the other material, including the recorded dialogue that brings the sinking of the ship to life, and a moving piece in the voice of the captain watching his vessel go down before he drowns plus the models and the second painting are delivered to Poole in time for the Swash Channel Wreck exhibition. We also hope that the prisoners receive the feedback from the University giving recognition of the effort they have put into this project.
Paola Palma, leader of the Swash Channel Wreck project at Bournemouth University sought the participation of prisoners, and has been hugely supportive of the work done.
Here are the Writers’ Group contingent; Roz Ambler, Mike Williams, Paola Palma of Bournemouth University and Liz Light, with the prisoners’ work.
To cheer ourselves up, we went and had a fine fish and chip lunch overlooking the beach, as we were very disappointed that all that effort by the prisoners had not been given this opportunity for an airing.