About Distant Voices

In a system that often thinks about things – and people - in black and white terms, Distant Voices explores what happens when we share human stories, ideas and emotions; we try to add colour back into the discussion. The project began as a collaboration between Vox Liminis and the SCCJR, and has extended to now include three Scottish universities. We team up some of Scotland’s best songwriters with people who’ve experienced the criminal justice system from lots of different angles.

Together we write and record songs that express and challenge the ways we think and feel about crime, punishment and reintegration. From academic conferences around the world, to radio play and music festivals, these songs have become a means to support change, and open up dialogue.

People who have joined forces in Vox Sessions include:

  • People in prison
  • People who have served community sentences
  • Prison officers and governors
  • Social workers and probation officers
  • Victims of crime
  • Families affected by imprisonment
  • Academics and students

 ‘Distant Voices: Coming Home’

The most recent chapter of Distant Voices is concerned with the issues people face when they come out of prison, or complete a community sentence. From the practical difficulties of getting a job and finding (or maintaining) somewhere to live, to the challenges of stigma and prejudice, and of re-joining a family and rebuilding a life, the road home has many obstacles along the way.

What does reintegration look like?

How are we all involved, for better or worse?

What role can music and art play, both in supporting individuals and in shaping wider public conversations on these issues?

Creative Practice as Research

Our approach to writing and sharing songs has now evolved to incorporate a collaborative action research project. Distant Voices is now funded by the Economic and Social Research ouncil and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (under grant reference ES/P002536/1), along with Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Prison Service. It brings together academics from the University of Glasgow, University of West of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh, alongside a wider team of co-researchers with many different kinds of expertise on reintegration – whether academic, personal or professional.

Research Partners:

Funders and Partners: