Making Together at Castle Huntly – Part Two

William / 09 May 2023

Since 2021, we’ve been running weekly songwriting sessions at HMP Castle Huntly as part of the wider ‘Unbound Making Together’ project.  

Through this strand of the project, people preparing to return home from prison are connected with a supportive, welcoming community while artistic ideas are shared and exchanged from afar. It’s just one of the ways Unbound goes ‘beyond’ our space in the Gallowgate!  

William has been part of the team for almost a year, sharing his expertise and supporting others to create songs of their own. Here he shares some reflections from his recent return to the Castle for another block of songwriting sessions… 

“Most of the group at the castle were new to me as it had been months since my last visit. People get released – we thought about asking the prison not to release people but that didn’t seem wise… 

Anyhoo, the ice was broken when Louis asked me to sing my new song for the guys. I was a wreck but did it anyway and the group seemed to appreciate the courage. 

I get so much out of these visits. It’s not always easy for me, I feel a bit overwhelmed going back into prisons as I was in and out them so many times but I love it nonetheless. 

People sang who had never sang before – really great to see that and the talent. The guitar playing is fantastic with these guys. One guy writes raps like nobody’s business and can sing too. So many stories I could tell just about the small interactions with people that mean so much to me. Little snapshots that reveal a lot.”

Louis also mentioned my piece getting published in my wee local community center’s book. It was just a Facebook post I had posted initially, then shared it with the writing group at the community center. Louis thought it was a good idea to share with the group that it’s possible to write and share stuff, it doesn’t have to be a big deal, just write and see what happens. 

These sessions take prisoners beyond prison. That’s not an easy thing to do. There’s almost always a knot in the stomach, a preoccupation with being a prisoner but with music and songwriting they get a break from that.  

That is a very powerful meaning of ‘Beyond’. When you lose yourself in music or songwriting it helps in so many ways.  


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