Music in Detention

Music In Detention deliver participatory arts workshops in a number of the UK’s 8 Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), encouraging and empowering detainees to make music and have their voice be heard beyond the walls of the IRC. We work directly with over 1,200 people each year. Our workshops use different musical and singer song writing techniques which can include setting up choirs and rap bands, creating musical fusions from all over the world, making multi user tapestries and stretching sound inside and outside centres.

Detainees are directly involved in co-creating the creative processes with Music In Detention artists; sometimes detainees are experienced musicians and artists, sometimes they are new to creative expression. Together lyrics and music are created, led and performed, often in the IRC courtyards. Sessions are recorded so that people can hear their music played back and their friends and family can listen to the music online. Sharing the music online also allows Music In Detention to present these unheard voices to the world outside.

Music In Detention also run workshops in communities near Immigration Removal Centres in all sorts of places – schools, community centres, homeless shelters – working with people of all ages who may themselves have experienced feeling excluded or otherwise disadvantaged. Communities near detention centres do not necessarily know much – if anything – about IRCs and why people are detained there. Music and the arts can draw together disparate communities helping to bring a deeper understanding and engagement between them. Music is a pathway to experience that is not exclusive, and Music In Detention considers that the linking of local communities with detainees opens up experiences and opportunities for both groups and individuals to think about their shared humanity, and the way they think about people who are perceived to be ‘different’.  We are very pleased to be a part of Who Are We? at Tate Exchange, to bring these voices from the IRC centres to a range of new listeners.