NXT creatives

Morten Skjærpe Knarrum

Kunst- og designhøgskolen i Bergen (KHiB)

Bak murene i Vik / Behind bars in Vik

Future detention policy in Norway intends to provide rehabilitation for inmates. Currently detention is foremost a punishment, but can also be an opportunity for inmates to develop the skills and values necessary to seek employment and become law-abiding citizens once they're released. All Norwegian inmates have mandatory work duties during detention, but these tasks – which may vary from scrubbing floors to making candles, bathtubs, or toys – have remained unchanged since the 1960s. If the duties of detained prisoners are intended to play a role in developing their skills and learning capacity, how can design benefit these inmates? Can the production of furniture in prisons stimulate dignity, perspective and pride among inmates? For the project Bak murene i Vik (Behind Bars in Vik) the artist Morten Skjærpe Knarrum designed furniture intended for production in prisons after holding a workshop with six inmates from Vik prison in Sogn. Using traditional techniques from cabinet-making, Knarrum's dining-room furniture designs are meant for an outside market. By reconnecting mandatory duties with real application, real use, his project aims to teach a profession and useful skills to inmates, improving their self-confidence and future prospects.