Art by Prisoners exhibition posterThe Design and Make pilot was an action research project conducted in the Living Skills Unit of the Adelaide Women’s Prison (AWP) in 2018/2019, funded by the South Australian Department for Correctional Services. It involved designers, artists and other experts through the University of South Australia’s Match Studio who worked with women at the AWP. Enabled by staff within the Life Skills Unit at AWP, Match Studio applied design thinking processes to work with a group of women to develop a product prototype that can be produced in prison and sold to the public.

This project piloted one of the recommendations within Match Studio’s Inside-Out proposal (2017), by integrating the opportunity for prison industry workers to contribute to the design of the products they produce thus, extending existing prison industries and skills development programs across South Australia’s prisons.

The Design and Make pilot project successfully achieved the four specific outcomes identified in the original grant application to the Department for Correctional Services, which were:

  • Develop and enhance the entrepreneurial skills and pro-social networks of program participants.
  • Co-design a product/s with program participants and create a prototype that could be taken to market.
  • Develop a brand concept for prison-made products that can be sold to the public.
  • Create an evidence base to guide future Design and Make projects that could also be replicated in other DCS sites.

The pilot applied participatory action research, intended to inform and document a replicable and sustainable model of operational procedures, workshop activities and resources and evidence gathering, to support the development and deployment of a Design and Make inspired brand, and workshop program model, across multiple DCS prisons.