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A Different Point of View

Have you ever given much thought to the women that find themselves behind bars? What did they do? How did their lives lead to incarceration?

These are all questions that piqued the interest of StoryProjects Creative Director Johanna Bell on female prisoners in the Darwin Correctional Centre (DCC).

“Before I started on this project, I didn't even know there were women in the Darwin Correctional Centre. Of the 1048 people there, only 80 are women! And because they’re incarcerated in a men’s prison, it’s difficult for them to be seen or heard,” she says.

This curiosity and discovery of information lead to Birds Eye View – a fully immersive part walking tour, part audio essay in last year’s Darwin Festival. Ticketholders donned headphones as they walked the grounds of Fannie Bay Gaol alongside the women of Sector Four, hearing their moving tales.

The event sold out, and the project has only grown from there.

To commemorate International Women’s Day, StoryProjects is set to release the first ever podcast from women in prison. Presented in 10 episodes, Birds Eye View is the result of two-years of storytelling involving more than 70 women.

The podcast takes you on a sometimes funny, sometimes dark, but always fascinating journey into the world of life behind bars. Themes range from survival strategies, sharing a cell with family members, how revenge can shape a life and the revelation that prisoners are put to work by big business.

But for Johanna, it was more about the daily struggles of the women themselves.

“This project is about shining a light on the lives of women in prison, humanising their experience and challenging the single – and overly-used – narrative that they’re beyond repair.”

Set to the soundtrack of over a dozen NT female artists including Caiti Baker, Emily Wurramara, Eleanor Dixon and Shellie Morris, the podcast also includes an in-prison interview with ARIA-award winner Courtney Barnett.

So tune in on International Women’s Day for the first five episodes of what promises to be an intriguing series, where scars and regret overlap with hope, horoscopes and beauty hacks.

Birds Eye View Podcast

Photo: Jett Street

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