Dr Kirstin Anderson

Research Programme Designer, Scottish Prison Service


Kirstin is a research programme designer at the Scottish Prison Service College, where she develops learning materials and delivers courses for staff working with women and young people in custody. She is interested in the role of arts in prisons and professional development for prison staff. Kirstin’s most recent work with the SCCJR, in collaboration with the Scottish Prison Service, took place in 2014 to explore the role of prison in supporting prisoners to desist from crime and address what this means in real terms for the prison regime, prison officer roles and working practices in the Scottish Prison Service.

Kirstin has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis, Music Education and Experience in Scottish Prisons, contributes to the developing research on the benefits of arts provision in prisons and for prisoners. She has taught courses in Music and in Philosophy in many prisons throughout Scotland since 2008 including HMPYOI Polmont, HMP Barlinnie, HMP Low Moss and HMP Glenochil. Kirstin has presented at music, education and criminology conferences and events in Scotland, England, Cyprus, Canada, Northern Ireland and Norway. Her research is published in many journals including The International Journal of Community Music, The Prison Service Journal and the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice.

Relevant Publications

Anderson, K. (2015) Documenting arts practitioners’ practice in prisons: “What do you do in there?”, The Howard Journal, 54 (4) pp. 371-383, The Howard League and Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Anderson, K. (2015) Ex Nemo ad Aliquis: “From Nobody to Somebody” – Theatre Nemo’s Role in Scottish Prisons. [Online] Available at: http://theatrenemo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Ex-Nemo-ad-Aliquis_online-version.pdf

Anderson, K. (2014) Music in Scottish prisons: a new direction? Scottish Justice Matters, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Sparks, R. & Anderson, K. (2014) Inspiring Change: evaluating arts and justice initiatives Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Cohen, M. L., Duncan, S., & Anderson, K. (2012) Who needs music? Toward an overview of music programs in U.S. juvenile facilities. In D. Coffman (Ed.), Proceedings from the International Society of Music Education (ISME) 2012 Seminar of the Commission for Community Music Activity. International Society for Music Education

Tett, L., Anderson, K., McNeill, F., Overy, K., and Sparks, R. (2012) Learning, rehabilitation and the arts in prisons: a Scottish case study, Studies in the Education of Adults, 44 (2) pp. 171-185. National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

McNeill, F. Anderson, K., Colvin, S. Overy, K., Sparks, R. and Tett, L. (2011) ‘Kunstprojecten en What Works; een stimulans voor desistance?’ (Trans. ‘Inspiring Desistance? Arts projects and ‘what works?’) Justitiele verkenningen 37 (5): 80-101

Anderson, K. McNeill, F., Overy, K. and Tett, L. (2011). Young Offenders and the Arts: A review of three Inspiring Change arts projects at HM YOI Polmont, Scotland, Prison Service Journal, No. 197, pp. 47-52. HM Prison Service of England and Wales

Anderson, K., Colvin, S., McNeill, F., Nellis, M., Overy, K., Sparks, R. and Tett, L. (2011) Inspiring Change: Final Project Report of the Evaluation Team. [online] Available at: www.motherwell.co.uk/inspiringchange/research.aspx

Anderson, K. & Overy, K. (2010). Engaging Scottish Young Offenders in Education through Music and Art. International Journal of Community Music, 3 (2) pp. 47-64, Intellect Ltd

Anderson, K. (2009) Teaching Music in Prisons: Introductory information and ideas for musicians and teachers working in prisons, University of Edinburgh



Scottish Prison Service College
Newlands Road

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