Research project : Initiation

Evaluating the Cultural

Experience in Prison

Cultural economy, heritage & tourism
Health & well-living

The “Evaluating the cultural experience in prison” project aims to better understand and change the cultural experience of incarcerated individuals in order to provide elements of response to a political issue.


To this end, the project is based on an interdisciplinary and experimental approach between information and communication sciences and design. It will make it possible to develop methods and tools for designing and evaluating the cultural experience in prison and to produce recommendations on public policies.



This project is co-funded by the Région Pays de la Loire (West Creative Industries), Audencia and the École de Design Nantes Atlantique.



Today, while cultural projects in prisons constitute an important object of public policy at the crossroads of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Ministry of Justice, the latter is committed to them without benefiting from an understanding of the contributions of artistic and cultural projects for the organizations and individuals alike. Indeed, the inter-ministerial conventions stipulate that such actions must be subject to an evaluation. However, this evaluation actually takes the form of the testimonials given by the cultural mediators. Projects are funded out of conviction and commitment, without any real capitalization on previous experiences and always with doubts about their effectiveness.


It is this social and political issue that the project “Evaluating the cultural experience in prison” aims to explore through testing, in addition to contributing to the evolution of the cultural experience for incarcerated individuals.




This project is based on an interdisciplinary and experimental approach. Researchers in information and communication sciences (at the crossroads of sociology, ethnology, history, political science, etc.) and design are joining forces to go beyond the aporias of research on the subject. Testing supported by methods specific to design and sociological intervention will thus be mobilized to accompany the different stakeholders (institutional actors, cultural and prison professionals, artists, inmates, etc.) in a process of reflection on the cultural experience in prison and the possibilities of evaluating this experience.


The design methods will be central: they must allow for a reflection on the evaluation by co-participation, a reflection that emerges from the meetings between the actors of the cultural action in prison. They will be developed in the form of workshops and a research residency.



Duration : one year, from 01/01/2020 to 31/12/2020.



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