The connecting power of music for prisoners from various nationalities, ethnic and religious backgrounds

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


Belgium has a considerable number of foreign nationals among their prison population. In 2018, 44.6% of the prisoners had a foreign nationality, which outnumbers the European average of 22.1%. Previous research demonstrates that although foreign national prisoners have the same participation rights as national prisoners, in practice they have less opportunities to participate in prison activities (e.g. (socio-) cultural activities, education, and vocational training), partly due to language barriers. One goal of the FIP2-project (Foreigners’ Involvement and Participation in Prison) is to investigate which prison activities are available to and accessible by foreign national prisoners. 17 individual interviews have been conducted with activity coordinators of all Flemish and Brussels prisons. In addition, 51 foreign national prisoners out of four prisons across Flanders have been interviewed. The findings of the thematic analysis suggest that making music functions as a medium to increase foreign national prisoners’ participation possibilities in prison. Music has the potential to connect prisoners with various nationalities, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Different music projects have been developed and implemented in prisons to realize this, from organising a multicultural week with music workshops from different parts of the world, to setting up a singing atelier with an exclusive Gregorian repertoire.
Periode26 jan 2021
Evenementstitel5th international SIMM-posium on Social Impact of Music Making
LocatieBrussels, Belgium