Initially, the women at the prison met with us each Friday afternoon from August-November, 2018. Meetings included singing, story sharing and a snack, followed by the creation and composing of lullabies. The women created lullabies for family members, lullabies to honour someone who had died, lullabies for children born and unborn, or lullabies for a parent or grandparent. On our final Friday together, the lullabies were performed by the women in a concert for people from supporting agencies, representatives from NL Corrections Services and guards, and staff from the prison.
The project was received positively and the concert was an emotional demonstration of beauty, compassion and creativity. The Lullaby Project-NL has since continued in 2019 at Just Us Women's Centre, St. John's. Participants included women at the centre who are marginalized or are in process of re-entering the community after time in Clarenville.
The Lullaby Project-NL provides an opportunity to create spaces for positive human interaction and healing through song-creation and sharing of life stories with others. Lullaby Project-NL partnerships contribute to a positive holistic maternal-child healthcare vision and process of healing and well-being for all who are caregivers of children--in all circumstances in life.
In March of 2020 we returned to Clarenville, however the COVID-10 Pandemic interrupted our time there and we have not yet been able to return. Despite the pandemic, we have been able to offer a program through Iris Kirby House in St. John’s, which is a shelter and safe haven for women and children who are experiencing domestic violence. The similar facility, O'Shaugnessy House in Carbonear, made the Lullaby Project-NL very welcome in the Fall of 2020. Check back here soon to hear some of the songs created by the women in Carbonear!
The Lullaby Project-NL has already opened opportunities for creative expression, developing musical skills and capacities for social and community interaction. As facilitators, we are deepening our awareness of the importance of relational, and sustained engagement. We are fully aware of the research potential within The Lullaby Project-NL work. Resulting knowledge will contribute to an international conversation that promotes creative activity as part of a holistic and nurturing environment.
Who are we?
Jan and David Buley are professors in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. David leads classes in music education and Jan explores literacy and drama in education. We were offered a start-up grant of $1000 through the Office of Public Engagement at Memorial University and that money has been applied to the funding of writing and art supplies as well as weekly nutrition break snacks.
Amy Sheppard, a Social Worker from Stella's Circle has also been with us each week assisting with the facilitation of this project.
The primary goals of the Lullaby Project partnership at the Clarenville Correctional Centre for Women are:
•to bolster the self-confidence of those involved in the program and see themselves as creative and capable
•to establish and nurture growing partnerships with individuals and organizations who may wish to contribute to a growing conversation around the importance for encouraging creative abilities through holistic arts-based approaches to promote the well-being of all
•to nurture the capacity of the participants to model and be loving and caring caregivers, grandparents, citizens
•to encourage or initiate caregiver-child attachment and bonding for pregnant women, new moms, grandparents and family members facing challenging emotional and social circumstances in their lives