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holding hands education work has included the Arts Council-funded ‘Critical Time’ project, and prison project, including ‘Within and Without’ at Wayland HM Prison.

‘Critical Time’ featured a commission from Norfolk and Norwich Festival, composed by the octet’s co-leaders Chris Dowding and Rob Milne, with visuals made with a South Norfolk school group. The project explored themes of landscape, borders and climate change, and took the book ‘The Lost Children Archive’ by Valeria Luiselli as one starting point.

‘Within and Without’ was a week-long project at Wayland HM Prison, with the main aim of composing a new piece for the octet with the participants. This was expanded to a CD which all the participants received, including hip hop tracks, the octet piece and instrumentals, all exploring the participants’ experience in prison as the starting point.

holding hands are excited to lead further projects.

Feedback from ‘Within Without’:

"...the performance was probably one of the most rewarding activities I have been involved in during my 14 years working here! Amazing. The mesh between Jazz, Grime/Rap/Street music was unexpected but impressive to say the least." (Sarah Davies, Wayland HM Prison)

"Creativity is very important in life, you know what I’m saying, you need to.… it’s almost like problem-solving, creativity can help you solve problems, for example when you’ve got a problem, you’re creative when you’re writing bars and you’re stuck, when you get past that wall, you’ve already solved the problem just doing that in itself and you can obviously transfer those skills into other areas of life, you can be creative with how you deal with stress, know what I’m saying, how you deal with boredom, how you deal with addictions, how you deal with whatever, you can become creative with that, as I’ve said this is the best time I’ve had since I’ve been in jail for the last 14 months..." (Participant, Wayland HM Prison)

‘Critical Time’:

'Critical Time' film with recording of sold out premiere at Norfolk and Norwich Festival:


'Please contact us via the 'Contact' page on this website, or at:

Chris Dowding
07878 682933'