The Verne

Detainee Art

Detainee artwork
Detainee painting
Detainee playing music

Art and music are powerful tools to tell the stories of asylum seekers and refugees. Detainees at The Verne immigration removal centre in Dorset produced their own artwork and music inspired by lyrics from The Long Road.

The work of the detainees expresses sentiment about home and the difficulties of life in detention, including the prospect of indefinite detention – not knowing when you will be released.

The most common category of immigration detainees are people who have sought asylum in the UK at some point.1 Being at an immigration removal centre can be a particularly distressing part of the asylum process, people are often separated from their families and being detained can bring back upsetting memories experienced in countries of origin.

Art and music are known therapeutic ways of supporting people to process the trauma they have been through as a result of conflict and war. The staff in the education centre at The Verne provide a programme of training workshops and activities, including art and music workshops, that give detainees a valuable outlet for expression during their time in detention.

The British Red Cross provides international family tracing at The Verne and works with detainees to provide humanitarian assistance including psychosocial support, mobility aids and other practical support such as warm, weather-proof clothing for those who are destitute when they are released.

Track Title Player
1 The Long and Winding Road
2 The Way of Life

1Immigration Detention in the UK, The Migration Observatory, STEPHANIE J. SILVERMAN RUCHI HAJELA