The Pathways Centre is an outreach initiative of the CDETB’s Education Service to Prisons and is funded by the European Social Fund. The aim of the Pathways Centre is to facilitate the re-integration of former prisoners.
Catherine Ann began her weekly creative workshops with a group from the Pathways Centre in September 2019. In December of that year, the group gave a lively performance of their writings at Poetry Ireland for family, friends and prison staff, with Catherine Ann producing a broadsheet of their work as a souvenir of the occasion.
Covid-19 restrictions saw the workshops move online in April 2020, after an initial closure of Pathways for four weeks. During these weeks, Catherine Ann regularly emailed a two page worksheet to her Pathways contacts and also did a short ‘phone text’ version to send to anyone who did not have email. Pathways then reopened as a ‘nerve centre’ for online classes and Catherine Ann has returned to Zoom workshops every Thursday.
Poetry Ireland is aware that the Pathways Centre and its clients, as well as the prisons themselves, have been disproportionately affected by pandemic-related lockdowns and closures. For this reason, Catherine Ann is proactively working with the Centre to provide a series of video workshops on writing memoir which can be used in prisons.
Catherine Ann says: "I see my work with the Pathways group as giving prisoners who are transitioning back into the community a sense of hope and confidence in their own creativity and worth. These workshops have been a highlight of my residency to date."
Check out a testimonial below about the Poet in Residence's work with Pathways.