Music in Detention

Using music to improve wellbeing in Immigration Removal Centres

The Verne is a formidable Victorian military fortress on the island of Portland, of the Dorset coast. For many years a prison, it’s now one of the UK’s 10 Immigration Removal Centres. The men held there don’t know how long their detention will last or what their future holds, and this uncertainty is perhaps the greatest of the stresses they have to bear.

Meanwhile, just down the hill is a small housing estate where people have difficulties of their own and services for young people are badly needed.

The WOMAD Foundation has supported Music in Detention to bring UK-based musicians from Zimbabwean and Indian backgrounds into the detention centre and the local community, using music-making to improve wellbeing among both these groups, and understanding between them.

Working separately with the detainees and young people, they helped them create songs and music that would speak to themselves and each other. Rhythms, melodies and ideas from around the world found a home in the local community.