Mike Moloney's rates

What Can We Do, Trasgressione Group?

What do you do now?

Let me say what I saw.
You run a Therapy group that allows prisoner’s personal work to be shared and discussed with invited guests.
Your work at this stage/point of its life is what I would call ‘cries from the heart’ not art.
[I do not lessen or negate the power and emotion of the work. All that I have read from the group or been asked to read has been about loss, missing, roles and change activated largely from remorse and regret. The wanting of time to repair.]
Periodically you take that sort of ‘witness’ opportunity to a performance showcase by ‘framing’ recent/current prisoner writings within a narrative of music, song from the writings of Fabrizio de Andre.
You publish on a website.

What do you want to do?

You want more money to run more sessions so that more people may benefit.
You want these writings [the knowledge that change is happening] to reach the right ears.

Who do you want to reach?

Magistrates/the Judiciary.
The general public.

How do you reach these groups?


Set up a newsletter that can be circulated or posted up around the prison and/or between prisons.
Education sources within the prison will have subjects and teachers of those subjects that deal with getting better at language, reading and writing.
Explore ways through this medium – this sort of collaboration with the works from transgressione group being a feature of this publication.
Outside sponsors/patrons need to be spiritual and financial.
An Italian writer/s of some note is/are required to ‘recognise’ the validity of the work as art not just ‘cries from the heart’ and therefore labelled ‘prison issue’.
Lombadia as a region must have groups who recognise what you are doing is vital/good/worthwhile/excellent/etc they may not be able to finance you but their words can validate your work.
University undergraduates in Journalism may well decide that this might be a good Masters project. They convince their Professors/tutors of this and more knowledge of your work is made available to influential people.


Families need to hear these cries from the heart more than any other group.
These families will also include the families of the victims who will hear these messages of longing and sadness.
These messages need to be collected and published in a variety of forms to validate the process the prisoners are going through. [This works with the psychological level as well as the artistic level]
Anthologies – collections of poetry or prose or playwriting or an anthology that is a collaboration of all three can be edited carefully showing the balance of style and substance as well as acknowledging the issue that a ‘publication’ will be available to all the public and be prepared for the noise that this will create.
This process needs to be tested at Italian Prison Service level because there are possible repercussions – media sensationalising a specific case because of an inclusion in an anthology.
Once the theme or list of contributors has been selected then illustrations could be included from prisoner/artists.
[Collaborations between different prisons and different countries could be done – it takes nothing for an email attachment containing the selected work to arrive in Belfast or Mountjoy or anywhere from Milan for a prisoner/artist from here to provide some illustrations using the work as the muse]
The work needs an International Book Number [ISBN].

All prisoners get visits from families.
At a seasonal time of the year or a special time – why doesn’t the prison allow the group to have an event for this?
Families could visit and the men from the group could read to them, members of the music group could sing to them.
This is not a big production at first. It’s small, it then gathers space and can be ‘worked’ up to what is possible.
Write to me if you need more inspiration in this regard.

Magistrates/the Judiciary

As I said in San Vittore, this group is very hard to reach and so the creativity comes from how to package the product.
For this your group needs support.
Some ‘literary’ types will read the anthology. Others need to see the ‘wounds’ – the process and then assess the success or failure on what they consider to be the ‘hard labour’ involved.
Other art forms or ways of carrying the message have to be found.

Here it is useful to say again that you will need to record the process of what you do.
You need to assemble the friends of Transgressione.net.
This group should also include working ‘artists’ – such as theatre designers and architects and simpatico editors.
List all those people that have been a part of the process.
Find out where are they are now.
Work out who can help now and who can help later.
In San Vittore’s group Ivan said he wanted his Magistrate to know.
Find out who is his Magistrate and get a profile on him/her as a type of person to tell about Ivan’s work.
University students come to you for their doctorial theses – universities should be interested in a variety of ways in what you do.
Universities have research departments and video resources.

The General Public

Always this will create ‘issues’ for everyone involved.
Even Prison Arts Foundation does not stick its head above the parapet without good reason. [It’s likely to get shot off] We just get on with the work that we do.
My thoughts here would be to interest the Italian Prison Service in some form of exercise in showing good work that does happen inside. When you look hard enough there will be work that does fit this criterion. There will be Officers who do good work and Programmes of work such as Anger Management, Drug Addiction, Domestic Violence, Parent and Child programmes and even Education and Rehabilitation programmes that can be looked at to add a Transgressione group to as a way that prison is actively working at people coming out not just as a minder for them during a sentence, however long.
Modern Prisons in Europe do not have death penalties so in effect everyone is going to come out sooner or later. There must be some focus on work to prepare those that are coming out for that occasion.

How do we do this?

Some one, not actively involved in the work inside but knows of the work inside must be prepared to take on the establishment in Lombardy of a ‘Prison Arts Foundation’. [11 years of work in Northern Ireland shows it works, the influence of Michael Hadjidemetriou from the Cypriot Prison Department can show that it should be done and Anne Costello of EPEA, the Italian branch of EPEA, Mathew from Escape Artists, Bridget from Anne Peaker Centre and many others lend weight to the argument]

Who are the interested parties…

The Italian Prison Service, an Italian Probation Service, the Italian Arts Council – these are major stakeholders.
A significant element in convincing people is telling them that this is happening in different ways in different countries of the European Union.
The European Union is big on its Human Rights, Citizenship and Prisoners, who are the Lombardy Members of the European Parliament?
An Alan Clarke, who has links already to what’s going on can give weight to this argument.
Involvement in already constituted groups or programmes such as Will2Dream and the PanProject in an associated way can lever influence. Joining into EVA and Moveable Barres can also contribute to this influence.

What you can do.

Collaborate with Alesandro of the music in San Vittore.
He has found a way out of the prison for prisoner’s work.
Show Italy that these men are not ‘one trick ponies’ – what other things do they do in prison to prepare themselves for the leaving. This group focuses on offending behaviour and the move away from it – a change. Alongside this new found way to express themselves you must explore other ways and other aspects of their lives, as well as teach them other ways of expressing it, so that the energy of change becomes the catalyst to explore other sides of themselves.
Gather a powerful lobby group – all those that have seen and been a part of this group and explore the ways out of the prison for a prisoner to become a man.

Be aware though that what you have at the moment is work that is ‘prison issue’ and celebrates only a change from bad to good - the job of a psychologist is done; art will use all of these emotions, all these energies of change; art is an end point, a product or an item that is made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind or spirit.
Mike Moloney,
Prison Arts Foundation
Unit 3, Northern Whig Building
2-10 Bridge Street
Belfast BT1 1LU
Co Antrim
Northern Ireland

Tel./Fax +442890247872
eAddress: moc.noitadnuofstranosirp|eciffo#moc.noitadnuofstranosirp|eciffo
Web: www.prisonartsfoundation.com

For the Will2Dream Group

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License