Carry on with the story

2,000 Euro Prize 2021

Country: Croatia

Region: Požega-Slavonia County

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Leisure education, Art, Detainee support

Project owner: Udruga Skribonauti

Responsible person: Luiza Bouharaoua, Paula Zore

Website: Weblink

Challenge

Carry on with the story (“Nastavi priču”) uses literature to address the marginalisation and exclusion faced by female prison inmates in Croatia. The programme provides access to culture and the arts to female inmates by providing writing workshops in prison. Carry on with the story fights prejudices by sharing the women’s stories through collaborative short stories.

Idea

Our programme provides tools and space for self-expression through art and culture. The programme provides outreach in prison and empowers female inmates. The inmates write prose fragments and short stories, which challenge prejudices and change the public perception of prisoners.

Actors

The programme works with female inmates, their mentors, and writers. Female inmates are authors and co-founders of the book club and creative writing workshops. Mentors work with prisoners; writers pen and publish short stories inspired by the inmates’ writings.

Impact

Carry on with the story connects female inmates with the world outside of prison. Public presentations of the book open honest and compassionate dialogue on prisons by shifting discussions in the public from the inmates’ criminal pasts to their stories and experiences.

Transfer

All aspects of the project can be applied to different social environments, contexts, and regions. Carry on with the story can also be applied to other marginalised communities. For instance, a Croatian psychiatric hospital has recently expressed interest in implementing this programme.

Appreciation of the Jury

Female prisoners receive little support and outreach from social initiatives in Croatia. Carry on with the Story addresses this specific group by engaging female inmates in a collaborative writing process. It is the unique combination of this creative method and its participants, which make the project socially innovative. Thanks to its success, the walls of the prison in Požega are breaking down. Female inmates, who are usually invisible to the public, are perceived differently. What has been hidden until now is revealed in the book presenting the women’s experiences. The online book clubs also build bridges between distant social worlds.