Makeright is a collection of anti-theft bags designed by inmates from HMP Thameside, London and produced by inmates from HMP Kilmarnock, near Glasgow. The collection takes its name from the Makeright Design Academy, a design education initiative led by the Design Against Crime Research Centre at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
Over 90 inmates primarily in HMP Thameside, London, and also HMP Doncaster as well as 25 in Sabarmati Central Jail, Ahmedabad have gained valuable skills and qualifications while developing this range of anti-theft bags between 2015-2017, as part of ‘purposeful learning’ in prison. Over 50 UAL (also from other colleges including Goldsmiths, RCA and Sheffield Hallam) graduate and student volunteers have participated in this project and have mentored UK inmates.
The first range of 5 Makeright bags from HMP Thameside were made up in lorry tarpualin provided by Abel & Cole, and there are plans to produce further designs. The first bags have been sold by Sue Ryder, the national healthcare charity. Eventually, the Makeright range will be available via Abel & Cole in Autumn 2018 and later via a web portal that allows socially engaged production of the bag designs by our global partners. So far, the quantities of bags produced are small as the team have been trying to improve the production quality. From Spring 2018 the public will be able to buy the bags direct from the Abel & Cole website.
To date Makeright has received a number of awards, having won the 2016 British Council INDIA-UK Excellence Award under ‘Innovative Partnerships’ for Collaborations in Higher Education, the 2016 Sublime Magazine Best Design Initiative, and as runner up in the recent 2017 NICE Award (Network for Innovations in Culture and Creativity in Europe).
In 2018-19 our ambition is to scale this project to other UK prisons who have expressed an interest in working with Makeright, and to explore the potential to sustain Makeright as a social enterprise or charity, that can return any profits to help returning citizens set up businesses and make good.