In May 2017 we were announced as one of 10 winners of the Outreach and Engagement Fund established by the Royal Astronomical Society to celebrate their bicentenary and to support astronomy and geophysics projects for diverse sections of the community.
We have since been developing the project with the 5 year grant which aims to engage prisoners in astronomy and other STEM subjects, giving us the opportunity to stimulate new ideas and approaches to prison education and introduce new training and education initiatives in prison to our trainees.
The aim of the project is to stimulate interest in astronomy, whilst helping prisoners “See Beyond Prison Walls” and their current circumstances. This means we can facilitate experiences, with the help of the RAS fellows, that encourage prisoners to think about their place in the universe helping them re-evaluate their priorities and alter their mindset. Aspects of mindfulness underpin the project activities, and participants learn to think differently about life.
The project began its research and development phase in May 2017 in HMP Brixton. Following a successful pilot the programme has continued in Brixton where a number of fascinating astronomical workshops have been run and expanded into HMP East Sutton Park.
‘It’s brilliant that Bounce Back recently got one of the RAS 200 award! I can’t wait to be involved.’ RAS Fellow
Beyond Prison Walls is an innovative project that will offer us the opportunity to break boundaries in prison education.