A Banksia Hill Detention Centre workshop has undergone a transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic becoming a purpose-built recording studio for young detainees learning through music.
The refurbished space is the new hub for Banksia Beats, a music education program that teaches detainees to play instruments, write music and lyrics, and record and produce their own songs.
From rap to rock and roll, the program uses relatable music styles to engage young people who had previously lacked interest in education and had withdrawn from active learning.
Under the initiative, detainees tune into their creativity while improving literacy, building confidence and increasing their interpersonal skills.
The program has resulted in many detainees being more willing and motivated to engage in school work with their regular classroom teacher.
Banksia Beats officially opened today to coincide with the launch of an album produced by detainees as part of the Hip Hop 101 program run by Perth rap artist and MC Optamus from the Australian hip-hop group Downsyde.
In addition to the new studio, the Banksia Hill Detention Centre now has a fulltime music teacher to complement the education program.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“Banksia Hill has come so far in the past three years, and this initiative is another fantastic opportunity to help the young people turn their lives around.
“The young people tune into the program for the music, but they are also improving their self-confidence and willingness to learn new things.
“I want to congratulate the education staff and service providers at Banksia Hill for their dedication and for finding creative ways to teach the young people in their care.”