Drawing a Line: Co-created Artefacts as Symbols of Solidarity in Restorative Justice

Timeframe: 2017-2020

In this doctoral research I investigating the role of co-creation, gifting and symbolisation within Restorative Justice (RJ) processes, using case studies, interviews and workshops. The co-created artefact is formed out of a working relationship between a maker and a person responsible (offender) for causing harm and/or the person harmed (victim). On completion, the artefact is gifted (with appropriate consents and risk assessments) to the other person involved in the situation of harm, as part of a RJ process. Meredith Rossner analyses the RJ conference (formal facilitated meeting of all parties involved and affected) in terms of Interaction Ritual (Rossner, 2013; Collins, 2004). Rossner found that ‘successful’ restorative conferences require an ‘emotional turning point’ and solidarities to be expressed between participants. A symbol of these solidarities needs to be formed as a reminder of the positive emotional energy generated by the conference if longer term behaviour change is to be instigated. My research focuses on these moments of solidarity and the potential for the co-created artefact to become a symbol for them after the RJ process, with possible links to desistance.