Community justice exhibition opens at University of Stirling

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Sculpture by Pathfoot Building

A new photography exhibition aiming to raise awareness of the positive impact of the community justice system in Scotland has opened at the University of Stirling.

‘Second Chancers’ tells the individual stories of 18 people and their experiences of being subject to a community sentence. Through their photographs and audio recordings, the exhibition will detail their unique journeys and the benefit the community justice system had on their lives and communities.


The free exhibition - which is based at the Pathfoot and Cottrell Buildings - will also include the reflections of some of the professionals involved, including a GP, head teacher, police officer, addictions mentor, youth support worker and sheriff.

Sentences served in the community have been found to be more effective than sentences served in prison, yet nearly two thirds of Scots don’t know what community justice is. The exhibition aims to promote community justice as an effective sentencing option to reduce offending, cut the number of victims and improve lives.

Sarah Bromage, Deputy Curator of the Art Collection at the University, said: “This is an important exhibition which will raise awareness of community justice to our audience of staff, students and local community. 

“The exhibition provides the opportunity for visitors to hear the voices and to see the faces of those who work in or have experience of community justice.  Through the exhibition they can connect with the personal stories of people that they might not otherwise come into contact with, which is a powerful experience”

Malky - a white male with light coloured hair wearing a blue shirt and quote, is standing in a doorway
Features in the exhibition 'Second Chancers'
I’m glad the exhibition is on show at an educational site and allows people to open up their minds and see things differently. It shows there are reasons behind why people commit crimes and I think it will help people see the whole person rather than the crime. I hope it reaches as many people as possible.

‘Second Chancers’ is part of the Art Collection’s year of health and wellbeing, which will see it host a series of public engagement events designed to encourage people to engage with the topic. 

The first event will be an online discussion featuring Stirling alumnus, Graeme Armstrong, the award-winning author behind The Times best-seller ‘The Young Team’, who will be interviewed by Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive of Community Justice Scotland. Free to attend, the event on 11 November will see them discuss current social justice issues and the organisation’s ambitions for the future.

Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive of Community Justice Scotland, said: “The real life stories shared in our Second Chancers exhibition reveal how sentences in the community are making a big difference to many lives and keeping people safe.

“We need to keep the focus on what works and follow the evidence to what helps stop people committing crimes. The exhibition is a snapshot of the journeys of some individuals touched by the justice system and also those working to support them so we have fewer victims and a safer Scotland.”

Real voices

Niall Hamilton-Smith, programme director for the MSc in Criminology at the University, said: “The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to harness the expertise of our curatorial staff and make use of our exhibition spaces to really enhance our educational mission.

“Putting real voices and experiences front and centre of what we are teaching adds invaluable complexity, but also critically inserts humanity into our considerations of justice.”

‘Second Chancers’ is open to the public and free to attend until July 2022. It is delivered in conjunction with Community Justice Scotland, Stirling Community Justice Partnership, Stirling Community Planning Partnership and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University.

Book tickets

Tickets for the discussion between Graeme Armstrong and Karyn McCluskey can be booked via EventBrite.