‘Bird’: What does it mean to do time?

Featured image courtesy of Victor Baumann. To see more of Victor’s works, you can follow him on:  

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Wednesday the 6th March 2019. The venue: We Work in Hoxton, London. The event: hosted by Bird Podcast. The evening, along with raising funds for the amazing Clean Sheet UK (Click on link to see Clean Sheets video), was centred around ‘Rehabilitation’. Guests speakers – of which I was one – revealed our own personal journeys beyond the prison gates. We shared some fascinating stories of the challenges we faced and conquered along the way, to help answer the question: Can there truly be life after prison?



The night was an incredible success, not only for me personally, but also for the wonderful pair that is Nina and Kate (N&K), who are the brains and the beauties behind the Bird Podcast. I was fortunate to work on the very first podcast with N&K. It was around this time last year, a very deep subject where we discussed issues around mental health, suicide and self-harm in our prisons. You can listen to the show by clicking on the following link:

Mental Health Behind Bars | Will Lessons Be Learnt?




The evening opened with N&K introducing the event, and what the evening would entail, before introducing the first guest speaker of the night up to the stage. Yours truly. After a few technical issues, that shows Microsoft Works is only a name and not a description. As readers of my blog already know my story, I’ll just say that my section went extremely well, I’d like to think a picture paints a thousand words:


Up next we had:



Dr Sarah Lewis is an independent penal reformer and director of Penal Reform Solutions. Dr Lewis has worked and researched in probation and prison environments over the past 10 years and specialises in:

  • Working relationships within practice.

  • Quality practice 

  • Rehabilitative work

  • Growth-focused correctional practice

Sarah, discussed her and her teams work in HMP Guys Marsh, The Growth project. It is a research-informed project, which facilitates the development of a rehabilitative culture, through an all-prison approach.  It aims to use research to highlight positive practices that support growth with the ultimate goal of co-creating a rehabilitative environment, which promotes organisational and individual change. For more on The Growth Project and Sarah’s excellent work, click on the following link:


Penal Reform Solutions



We then had a mid-way break with N&K reminding everyone of the raffle that was running alongside the event, in order to raise funds for Clean Sheet UK and the opportunity for a well needed drink, with some amazing food brought to you by Cater it Up!



Cater It Up!

Following the break, unfortunately in one aspect, however, fortunate for you who are reading this, as Kendra Houseman who created Out of the Shadows: a Training and consultancy service, specialising in Gangs and Child Sexual Exploitation – was unable to make the event and instead, just like the oscars, sent in a video which I am able to share with you here.


For more information on Kendra and the amazing work that she and the team at Out of the shadows do then please follow the link to read more:

Out of the shadows


Out of the shadows


Last and by no means least of the guest speakers was someone that I am proud and honoured to call a close friend, the one, the only, the incredible, Brenda AKA Unchained Poetry.

I could sing Brenda’s praises from the rooftops and until I am blue in the face. So, check out the following video and when that has stoked your interest to want to know more, I have included Unchained Poetry’s link after.

Check out the opening poem at #UnchainedNights back in May 2018


The next event is on the 28th March, have you got your ticket yet???

Get your tickets hereπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΎ

Unchained Poetry Tickets

Following Brenda’s amazing section, Brenda, Sarah and me were presented with a small gift of appreciation from N&K:


We then, with N&K as the question masters, were asked questions, that the audience, whilst also purchasing the raffle tickets, raising funds for Clean Sheet UK, had written down and placed in a collection box.



The evening was then brought to a close with the announcement of the winners of the raffle, and a thank you to my fellow guest speakers, the audience and myself on a very successful debut event. Nina and Kate, this is now my opportunity of saying a massive thank you for the invite to, not only speak at your event, but to have done so in the company of Sarah, Kendra and of course Brenda AKA Unchained Poetry.

Bird Podcast






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