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On the darkest night you are my light
In the lowest time of my life you are my strength
When I fall and stumble you are there to pick me up
When I’m drowning in pain you are my rock that I
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 2018


Unlocked is an innovative creative literacy program developed and run by Red Room Poetry in collaboration with poets, musicians and 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 that helps people write and share their stories to reconnect with their families and communities.

Since 2010, Unlocked has worked with over 250 inmates. The poetry and creative workshops cover writing, editing, visual art, music composition, recording, performing and publishing of their work in meaningful ways.

Seeing the residents engage in the programs is great; they all usually stand back, for feelings of shame, ….as for the poems, they were as it comes from what they’ve been through themselves & it’s their interpretation of their lives. ~ Michael C, Balund-a Program Support, Corrective Services NSW


Read the Unlocked Report


Unlocked 2018

This August, Red Room Poetry returned to Balund-a for another installment of Unlocked. Participants at Balund-a Diversionary Program (Tabulam) created poetry, music and art guided by Murri poet Lionel Fogarty and musician Joe Geia with support from Elder and language custodian Lewis Walker. After three days of workshops, local community and families joined in  on the fourth day for celebration and performance of poetic, musical and artistic achievements of the participants.


Positive impact

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 & Richard Heycock

There are three things that I love: Poetry, music and art so this saves me. ~ Andrew, Balund-a participant


Support Unlocked

Buy an anthology

Make a donation Donations of $2 or more to The Red Room Company in Australia are tax deductible for Australian tax-payers.


Unlocked is possible through support from Create NSW, Australia Council for the Arts and Geoff Ainsworth AM and Johanna Featherstone.