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Brenda Birungi is also known as Lady Unchained.

She is a –
Poet, Performer, Broadcaster, Mentor, Artist Manager, TedXLondon Speaker, Host for National Prison Radio, Facilitator, Curator, Chair for the NCJAA Anne Peaker Lecture 2020 and Advocate for Life After prison.

“My life ended and began with a prison sentence, those metal doors awoke the faith in me”

Lady Unchained

Brenda’s mission is to prove that there is life after prison. She is the Founder and Creative Director of Unchained Poetry, an artistic platform for artists with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System. She hosts Unchained Nights in partnership with Artsadmin at Toynbee Studios, a night of inspirational storytelling through poetry and music. 

Brenda runs poetry workshops in prisons and in the community in Women Centres such as Pecan as part of Southwark Women’s hub to help women find their creative voice. She is now a member of the NCJAA Steering group.  

Brenda was a nominee for the New Voice Award 2020 by Audio Production Awards and Runner Up for CJA Awards 2020- Outstanding Documentary, winner of The Insight awards 2021 for Insight through Journalism. She received a Bronze award for her show Free Flow on National Prison Radio at the ARIAS Awards 2021 and she continues to challenge the ex-offender label through creativity. 

Lady Unchained also curated the Soul Journey To Truth Exhibition at HOME gallery in Manchester in partnership with Koestler Art and Ripples of Hope Festival highlighting creativity within the criminal justice system in the North West.

“Prison opened my eyes to a new community of people I thought I could never relate to. I have gone from being the girl next door to an inmate, then a poet, award-winning broadcaster and now an author. These are all things I would never have believed I’d be able to do.”

– Lady Unchained in The Guardian, October 2022

Date Title Venue City
8 October 2022 Buddleia: The Unchained Story SMEEL Ljubljana
18 November 2021 Unchained Nights Toynbee Studios
28 January 2021 The Forgotten People: Lady Unchained and Tracy Kiryango in conversation
18 January – 18 February 2021 The Forgotten People
28 March 2019 Unchained Nights #3 Toynbee Studios
27 September 2018 Unchained Nights #2 Toynbee Studios
3 May 2018 Unchained Nights Toynbee Studios
Woman stands before a microphone
Brenda (Lady Unchained) at an Unchained Nights event at Toynbee Studios. Photo by Greg Goodale