Projects / Music in Detention

Music in Detention

A national project that has been running since 2007, Music In Detention uses music to improve the emotional wellbeing of immigration detainees, to build wider understanding of detainees and to create lasting connections between them and people living near detention centres. Music is universal; it transcends language; it faces inward and outward, both a social activity and a direct line to our emotions; it is an ideal tool for the multi-lingual, isolating and highly charged setting of Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs).

The project is run by the charity Music In Detention, and Music for Change is one of the key delivery organisations. MID runs 200 participatory music workshops a year with detainees at 5 IRCs, which relieve stress and depression and help participants reclaim their identity and assert their autonomy. 

We also arrange a number of workshops each year within local communities close to IRCs, for people of all ages who are themselves experiencing exclusion and disadvantage. By creating a human connection with detainees, these workshops help people to understand the experiences of migration and detention, and reflect on their attitudes and assumptions. We have started to develop local partnerships which will sustain and extend this work, creating new musical connections between local people and detainees and embedding this connection into the work of local organisations

Music for Change have partnered with Music In Detention to set up Community Exchange projects with the following partners:

Dover IRC Community Exchange partners

  • St. Mary’s C of E Primary School
  • Dover Age Concern Riverside Centre
  • PACE Youth group & YMCA Teen Cafe
  • Walmer Centre
  • Archer’s Court Maths & Computing College 
  • Priory Fields Primary School

Colnbrook IRC Community Exchange partners

  • Brunel University students
  • Harlington Community School

Campsfield House IRC Community Exchange partners

  • Restore, Oxford

Music In Detention’s Community Exchanges aim to work with participants to create original compositions and produce a CD for distribution to all participants, both in the community and the IRC. These projects reduce detainees’ isolation; open up the closed institution; increase knowledge and awareness; contribute to community cohesion and provide all participants with a rich and stimulating cultural experience.

MID receive funding from a variety of sources including Youth Music, Tudor Trust, Esmée Fairbairn and Children in Need.

Music for Change are very grateful to the Baring Foundation for providing three year core funding (2007-2010) to support the development of our work with newly arrived refugee asylum seeker and migrant communities.

Helen Tetlow Memorial Fund impact assessment report