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Kirstin is currently working on a number of research projects including, ‘Examining the health and well-being of older people with cognitive frailty and dementia in prison’, funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust; ‘Stories of Social Justice in a time of State Building’, funded by the British Academy and ‘Communication through music: Mothers and babies in prison’, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, her thesis Music Education and Experience in Scottish Prisons contributes to the developing research on the benefits of arts provision for people in custody and provides a baseline for further work on music education in Scottish prisons.

Kirstin taught music at Polmont Young Offenders Institution in Scotland, designed a workbook on teaching music in prisons as part of a Knowledge Transfer grant from the University of Edinburgh and was the lead researcher on the national project Inspiring Change in 2010. She has worked as a researcher with the Scottish Prison Service, the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development and the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Relevant Publications

Anderson, K. and Lamela, I. (forthcoming) ‘Connection through music for mothers and young children in prison’, in Barrett, M. and Welch, G., (eds) Oxford Handbook of Early Childhood Music Learning and Development. Oxford University Press.

Anderson, K. (2021) ‘Creative Conversations with Justice and Arts Scotland’ in Willingham, L. (ed.) Community Music at the Boundaries. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 402-408.

Anderson, K. and Willingham, L. (2020) Environment, intention and intergenerational music making: Facilitating participatory music making in diverse contexts of community music. International Journal of Community Music. 13(2), pp.1-13.

Anderson, K. (2018) ‘Social Justice in civil courts for whom? Women, domestic abuse and agency’, Early Career Academics Network Bulletin, 40, December [Online], Available at: https://howardleague.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/conference-ECAN-bulletin-December-2018.pdf Accessed on: 21 October 2022.

Anderson, K. (2016) 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. (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



Edinburgh Napier University

Research Themes

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions


A Review of Interventions, Innovation, and the Impact of Covid-19 in the Scottish Prison System within a Comparative Analytical Framework

This is the final report from the project ‘A Review of Interventions, Innovation, and the Impact of Covid-19 in the […]

No Projects Available

3rd May 2023

Covid-19 in Scottish Prisons and Globally

Abolition Library

11th July 2023

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