On the darkest night you are my light
Hold to pull me up, you are my world, my everything
Because of you I can be a better man
~ from 'Because of Her I Can' by Adam, Balund-a
Unlocked is an intensive creative literacy program developed by Red Room Poetry in collaboration with poets, musicians, artists and educational staff from NSW Correctional Centres. The program unlocks the potential of inmates through the reflective and healing power of poetry, encouraging self-expression and the sharing of stories to reconnect.
Since 2010, we have delivered 21 Unlocked programs in Correctional and Diversionary Centres across NSW with over 250 participants. The innovative poetry workshops focus on creative writing and expression through poetry, visual arts, music composition, recording, performing and publishing of poetry in meaningful ways.
Youth Unlocked collaborates with students, teachers and educational communities in Behavioural Intervention Centres and Juvenile Justice Centres to deepen encounters with poetry, encouraging self-expression that helps young people share their stories through rap, hip hop and poetry to reconnect with families and communities.
'Seeing the residents engage in the programs is great; they all usually stand back, for feelings of shame, but when one is engaged, it just flows on. It was great to see them volunteer for dancing; as this requires confidence in themselves and also feeling safe to step out and do this. As for the poems, they were also great, as it comes from what they’ve been through themselves, and it’s their interpretation of their lives.'
~ Michael C, Balund-a Program Support, Corrective Services NSW
'This creative education program works to enhance literacy and expression in its many forms. Through conversations with staff, facilitators and the participating residents in the weeks following, it has been noted that as a result of the Unlocked Poetry Project the residents engage with increased self-confidence, increased self-worth, improved communication skills and a revived passion towards the Arts as an outlet for dealing with emotion. We look forward to future visits … adding to the holistic approach to breaking the cycle of offending.'
~ Rachel Soliman, Operations Manager, Balund-a
There are three things that I love: Poetry, music and art. So this saves me.
~ Andrew, Balund-a participant
Unlocked is made possible with support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation.
- Red Room Library
- John Morony 2010
- Dillwynia Correction Centre 2010
- Dawn de Loas Correctional Centre 2011
- Mannus Correctional Centre 2011
- Dillwynia Correction Centre 2012
- South Coast Correctional Centre 2012
- Balund-a 2012
- The Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Centre 2013
- John Morony 2013
- Oolong House 2014
- South Coast Correctional Centre 2014
- Mid North Coast Correctional Centre 2014
- Dillwynia Correction Centre 2014
- The Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Centre 2015
- John Morony 2015
- Silverwater Women's 2016
- Balund-a 2016 (NAIDOC Week)
- South Coast Correctional Centre 2016
- Balund-a 2017
- Balund-a 2018
Ali Cobby Eckermann, Dawn De Loas Poets, Johanna Featherstone, Lionel Fogarty, Joe Geia, Philip Hammial, Gareth Jenkins, Gayle Kennedy, CDTCC Poets, Dillwynia Poets, John Morony Poets, MNCCC Poets, SCCC Poets, Silverwater Poets, SOLO, MC Trey, Lindsay Tuggle, Rob Wilson
Visit our online store to purchase publications and materials from this project. Red Room Poetry is a not-for-profit organisation. All funds raised support the ongoing work of Red Room Poetry.