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Unlocked is an intensive creative literacy program developed by Red Room Poetry in collaboration with poets, musicians, artists and educational staff from NSW Correctional Centres. The program unlocks the potential of inmates through the reflective and healing power of poetry, encouraging self-expression and the sharing of stories to reconnect.

Since 2010, we have delivered 21 Unlocked programs in Correctional and Diversionary Centres across NSW with over 250 participants. The innovative poetry workshops focus on creative writing and expression through poetry, visual arts, music composition, recording, performing and publishing of poetry in meaningful ways. 


Youth Unlocked 

Youth Unlocked collaborates with students, teachers and educational communities in Behavioural Intervention Centres and Juvenile Justice Centres to deepen encounters with poetry, encouraging self-expression that helps young people share their stories through rap, hip hop and poetry to reconnect with families and communities.


Positive impact

'Seeing the residents engage in the programs is great; they all usually stand back, for feelings of shame, but when one is engaged, it just flows on. It was great to see them volunteer for dancing; as this requires confidence in themselves and also feeling safe to step out and do this. As for the poems, they were also great, as it comes from what they’ve been through themselves, and it’s their interpretation of their lives.'

~ Michael C, Balund-a Program Support, Corrective Services NSW

'This creative education program works to enhance literacy and expression in its many forms. Through conversations with staff, facilitators and the participating residents in the weeks following, it has been noted that as a result of the Unlocked Poetry Project the residents engage with increased self-confidence, increased self-worth, improved communication skills and a revived passion towards the Arts as an outlet for dealing with emotion. We look forward to future visits … adding to the holistic approach to breaking the cycle of offending.'

~ Rachel Soliman, Operations Manager, Balund-a 

There are three things that I love: Poetry, music and art. So this saves me.

~ Andrew, Balund-a participant


Read the Unlocked Creative Literacy Program Report

Support Unlocked

Unlocked is made possible with support from the Oranges & Sardines Foundation.