‘Following recent increases in non-statutory homelessness and rough sleeping, the spaces and places of homelessness are a matter of growing academic and policy concern. Imagined as dangerous, marginal and ‘other’, the governance of these spaces has traditionally been largely punitive; a consequence of the predominant conception of homelessness as ‘individual failing’. In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, this approach has been challenged by the concept of ‘spaces of care’, with the management of homelessness characterised by high levels of provision and co-ordination. It is a concept still in its infancy, however, and one increasingly challenged by the effects of welfare reform and austerity. This makes engagement with the shifting spaces and places of homelessness crucial.’
The focus of the project, ‘imaging Homelessness in a City of Care’, was the development of a participant-led exhibition, constituted from 3 elements: firstly, a series of annotated maps tracing the life-histories of 30 homeless people; secondly, a ‘composite’ map – produced by Lovely Jojo – incorporating all 30 of the participants’ life-histories; and thirdly, a collection of photographic images assembled by a smaller group of homeless people.
The aims of the exhibition are two-fold: to shine further light on routes into homelessness, the spaces and places of homelessness and the experiences of the homeless people therein; and to give a greater voice to a homeless population still largely marginalised from mainstream decision-making processes.
Following the launch event at Newcastle City Library (Monday 3rd November), the exhibition will tour throughout the city’s hostels, day centres and public spaces (including Elliott House, Tyneside Foyer, Crisis Skylight, Ron Eager and Byker Bridge) and be subjected to scrutiny by policy leaders, commissioners, practitioners, the general public and academics.
The exhibition is accompanied by this dedicated blog, which showcases all of the exhibition outputs. It is also a forum for written reflections on the project process and outcomes, which will be gratefully received.
A series of limited-edition prints produced by Lovely JoJo will be auctioned at Northumbria University’s Fine Art Show in early Summer 2015, with proceeds going to local homelessness projects.
Adele Irving (Research Fellow) and Oliver Moss (Senior Research Fellow) – both Department of Social Sciences and Languages, Northumbria University – would like to thank all of the participants who contributed their thoughts and reflections to the project and to all of the partner agencies who supported the project. We would like to give particular thanks to:
- Neil Baird, Garry Bryson, David McCormack, Jane Smith and Matty – Changing Lives
- Rob Bailey – Tyne Housing Association
- Ben Dickinson – Tyneside Foyer, Home Group
- Louise Wennington – Crisis Skylight
- Herbie Cooper – Young People’s Service, Your Homes Newcastle
We would also like to give special thanks to Lovely Jojo (www.lovelyjojos.com) for the outstanding ‘Spaces of Homelessness’ map which she produced for the exhibition. We believe the map to be highly powerful and effective in giving voice to people who have experienced homelessness.
For further information about the project, please contact Adele Irving (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Oliver Moss (O.email@example.com).