Trauma is becoming more widely understood and acknowledged as being impactful within carceral settings. This chapter explores the trauma-informed framework of community music practice used in singing and songwriting sessions for women in a maximum-security prison in the UK. The York St. John University (YSJU) Prison Partnership Project enables creative collaboration and negotiated learning, with a focus on artistic equality between the facilitators and participants. The YSJU Prison Partnership team delivers sessions using a trauma-informed framework of practice based on the Five Values of Trauma-Informed Care: safety, trust, choice, collaboration, and empowerment.
Considering each value in turn, this chapter outlines approaches to practice that connect the women with themselves, the facilitators, and each other through song. The therapeutic processes of music-making are explored, and whilst acknowledging that these sessions are not therapy, the weekly pedagogy is designed with the understanding that working with singing and songwriting can be positively impactful as a tool in trauma recovery. Conclusions suggest that against the backdrop of incarceration, creative vocal exploration can offer a vital layer of support within the negotiated practice of the creative community.