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STIR: Creative Works by Prisoners in Scotland

03 October 2016

Using the arts for learning, self-motivation and rehabilitation. STIR is an arts magazine produced by prisoners for prisoners in Scotland.



Eddie, member of STIR editorial board, tells us about his experience... 

‘My Name is Eddie and I’ve been at Shotts prison for 3 years. For all this time, I have been part of the editorial group for STIR arts magazine, which was created for prisoners to express themselves through art and creative writing. Before becoming part of the STIR group, I was never interested in any form of creativity. But now, I can’t get enough of it... This has helped me to deal a lot better with my sentence… I am more confident in my future after leaving prison.’        Eddie - HMP Shotts


Iñigo Garrido, College Lecturer and STIR Co-ordinator, tells us some more about the project...

The aim is to use the arts to trigger an intrinsic motivation in people and generate self-conversations on a profound level. This transforms lives. In the prison setting, it also provides imprisoned people with a new positive identity, which could be critical to making better choices while on release.

The intention when STIR was started in 2012, was to create a high quality arts magazine, which would publish prisoner writing and art, as a tool for learning, self-motivation and rehabilitation.


Verdent Valley by Paul 

The magazine is entirely edited, designed and produced by a group of imprisoned people in the most secure establishment in Scotland, HMP Shotts. However, the artwork is created by prisoners in seven different establishments, all with learning centres run by New College Lanarkshire; HMP Barlinnie, HMP and YOI Cornton Vale, HMP Dumfries, HMP Glenochil, HMP Greenock, HMP Low Moss and HMP Shotts.

We receive around 350 artwork submissions for each issue and publish three magazines per year. We are currently on the 14th edition and have received close to 4,000 submissions to date.


I Then Understood the Nature of the Situation and my Fear Subside by Craig 


STIR has grown to become one of the most successful on-going art prison projects in Scotland, has received four major awards, and has gained the praise of many bodies in the criminal justice system and beyond the prison walls.

You can see the creative works of the prisoners in Scotland for yourself here: STIR online

Iñigo Garrido/ College Lecturer and STIR Co-ordinator / New College Lanarkshire