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Making the Quilt of Homelessness

One Festival of Homeless Arts and The Quilt of Homelessness.

Over the summer, Accumulate met up with David Tovey – an amazing ex-homeless artist who set up the One Festival of Homeless Arts. The One Festival celebrates, raises awareness and educates about the power of art to transform lives and also showcases the incredible art, talents and creativity of the homeless community. So, all in all – it’s a great thing and an event that Accumulate identified with and wanted to be part of.

One Festival of Homeless Arts Exhibition 2017

One Festival of Homeless Arts Exhibition 2017

The idea that we came up with for this year’s festival was to create a Quilt of Homelessness – a live art activity that would happen on the opening night of the festival. The Accumulate photographers would take instant photograph portraits of the festival visitors and then these would be sewn together to become The Quilt of Homelessness.

The Quilt of Homelessness seemed to be a really significant homeless art project to do as there are strong emotional connections with quilts representing a home or comfort as well as having family implications as, very often, quilts are family heirlooms which are passed down through the generations.

Eleven residents from Evolve Housing hostels took part in the Quilt of Homelessness project, chatting with the festival visitors and taking their portraits.

Taking the photographs for the Quilt of Homelessness

Taking the photographs for the Quilt of Homelessness

 

 

 

 

The joy of seeing the instant photographs for the Quilt of Homelessness develop

The joy of seeing the instant photographs for the Quilt of Homelessness develop

The photographing, making and displaying of the quilt was exciting, transformative and had its own energy of being created on the night, before becoming a thing of beauty to look at and admire.

The Quilt of Homelessness at the One Festival of Homeless Arts

The Quilt of Homelessness at the One Festival of Homeless Arts

Many thanks to Fujifilm Instax for sponsoring the film and also all our donors from our Quilt of Homelessness crowdfunding campaign for helping to make it happen.

The Quilt of Homelessness is on display at The Old Diorama Arts Centre, Regents Place, 201 Drummond St, London NW1 3FE until 31.10.17. After then it will be going into a private art collection.

Making the Quilt of Homelessness

Making the Quilt of Homelessness

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The Accumulate video and our Camera Amnesty campaign.

This video shows what Accumulate is all about.

Our latest exhibition, Made By Us,  showcased the photographs of 23  young homeless people and the launch at The Guardian was a huge success. This year, 6 people, who were on the Accumulate programme, will be starting at Ravensbourne college in September. Their lives are now on a new path and their futures look much brighter than they did a year ago. It really is amazing how much everyone has progressed on the project, learning new skills, building their confidence and realising their own potential and ability to progress their lives into a much more positive space.

One thing that the Accumulate participants speak about is how much they would like their own cameras so that they can take photographs in their own time. The lovely folk at Shutterhub heard about this, created the Camera Amnesty campaign and have reached out to the photography community to tell them about the project and ask them to donate their old cameras to Accumulate so that we can distribute them to our participants.

Result! Cameras are coming in and here’s a very happy Eric with his Camera Amnesty camera!

Eric with his Camera Amnesty camera

Eric with his Camera Amnesty camera

 

Made By Us Exhibition Invitation

Tick tock, the Accumulate Made By Us exhibition is nearly here!

This is it, the final countdown to what we have been working towards since January – the Accumulate photography exhibition opens at The Guardian space this Thursday, 11th May,  at 7pm. So that’s 15 photography workshops, 20 student helpers, 9 hostels, 2 tutors, 23 participants and lots of energy, enthusiasm, love and friendship that has gone into the Accumulate Made By Us exhibition.

Made By Us Exhibition Invitation

Made By Us Exhibition Invitation

The day before we open the exhibition we will also be awarding 3 scholarships for 3 lucky, and very talented, Accumulate participants to study, fully funded, on the Access to HE Diploma in Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne. It’s going to be one hell of an exhibition, and here is a sneak preview of some of the work that will be exhibited.

Jay Narayanan Portrait of Eric

Jay Narayanan Portrait of Eric

Kat Jagne: The Red head Scarf

Kat Jagne: The Red head Scarf

Thurshika Parthanan: Rose Tree

Thurshika Parthanan: Rose Tree

Geron, Claire, Deluxe, Sabela and Jay at the Accumul8 Shoreditch workshop.

Learning photography at Accumulate isn’t just about learning photography.

Accumulate is all about learning. learning new skills, learning about photography and for the young people involved, to learn more about themselves and their potential. One thing Accumulate also tries to do is to vary the learning styles we use as much as possible. So, even though, we are delivering photography workshops every week and the participants are learning to use DSLR cameras and how to take good photographs, the learning also comes from industry speakers, visiting galleries and exhibitions, doing activities and developing personal skills (such as communication, time management and self-discipline skills) in a comfortable and trusting environment.

This is all part of a journey that the participants go on. It is a journey of self -discovery, such as when the group did the portrait workshop at Photofusion and wrote letters to their future selfs. They decorated their portraits with stickers and jewels and shared their insights and letters with each other. It became a situation where people opened up and talked about their hopes for themselves.

Sharing and learning together at the Photofusion workshop.

Sharing and learning together at the Photofusion workshop.

Louis shares his letter to himself in 15 years time.

Louis shares his letter to himself in 15 years time.

A really popular, and very exciting, annual Accumulate photography workshop is the visit to London Fashion Week where the group photographs all the fashionistas who hang about outside the shows. This year, we held the “pre-workshop” at Somerset House and invited three fashion industry speakers to tell of their stories, their set-backs and achievements. One of the speakers was Tori Taiwo, a fashion designer and photographer, who had been previously homeless, and told the group that their situation should not be used to hold them back but can be turned into something positive. A really hard hitting, powerful and heart felt message for the Accumulate group, and Tori spent time speaking about how her own personal negative situation which became a force for eventual success. All it took her was self-belief, grit, determination and resilience. And those don’t cost anything.

Younnis shares his photograph with a fashionista at London Fashion Week.

Jay shares his photograph with a fashionista at London Fashion Week.

And so the Accumulate photography workshops have now come to an end for 2017 and the selection process starts for their exhibition.

The last workshop the group had was a street photography session which took place in Shoreditch. Shoreditch is all about of crazy graffiti, Hoxton hipsters and cool cafes, but this last Accumul8 workshop was actually about learning that everyone had been on an incredible life journey. They had become more confident, happy, made new friends and were enthusiastic and energised by their new skills. This is true for the Accumulate participants and also the Ravensbourne students. Just young people who enjoy learning, sharing and being with each other. Roll on the Accumulate exhibition!

Geron, Claire, Deluxe, Sabela and Jay at the Accumul8 Shoreditch workshop.

Geron, Claire, Deluxe, Sabela and Younis at the Accumulate Shoreditch workshop.

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The Accumul8 exhibition at The Guardian

July 14th was the opening night of the Accumul8 exhibition and what a night it was! The best bit was seeing the Accumul8 participants run into The Guardian exhibition space and literally whoop with excitement at seeing their work displayed in such a prestigious space. They were so proud of their work, so enthusiastic and excited to speak to all the visitors and even happier when they sold their photographs! It was a beautiful moment to see them being celebrated and rewarded for their talents and achievements and feeling so positive about themselves, their value and their potential.

This film was made by Simon Allinson, a Ravensbourne graduate, about the private view and you can hear Jamal and Isaac speak about what they got from attending Accumul8 and how they have benefitted. Pretty much sums it up!

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Preparing for the Accumul8 Photography Exhibition

This week was the start of the big journey towards the grand Accumul8 exhibition at The Guardian, opening on July

Starting the selection process

Starting the selection process

14th.

And what a week it was! We started and completed the selection process of the photographs that have made the grade and will be shown. We also were able to celebrate and congratulate all the young people who had participated in the Accumul8 project on their achievements so far.

We were really privileged to have Luke Dodd, curator of The Guardian space, and Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery, make the big decisions as to what will be shown and to also hear from the real professionals about why they were making specific choices and why certain images were worthy of being exhibited. Both Luke and Brett were really impressed by the work and Luke spent considerable time afterwards talking to the Accumul8 participants about their individual photographs, their talent and their potential to take their photography further.

Luke and Brett curating the images that will be shown at the Accumul8 exhibition

Luke and Brett curating the images that will be shown at the Accumul8 exhibition

This was very timely, as this year, for the first time, Accumul8 will be awarding one, very lucky, Accumul8 participant a scholarship to study on the Access to HE Diploma in Creative and Digital Media at Ravensbourne. The Accumul8 scholarship will cover their fees, plus there is also the possibility of having their laptop and camera paid for as well. Our thanks go to Burns Owen Partnership for supporting the Accumul8 Scholarship.
The goal is eventually, for the recipient of the Accumul8 scholarship to then become an Accumul8 workshop assistant and role model for future participants of the Accumul8 creativity project for young, homeless people. It’s a case of education changing lives, creating new futures and good, old reciprocity.

 

The Accumul8 group get to see what of their work has been chosen for the exhibition.

The Accumul8 group get to see which pieces of their work have been chosen for the exhibition.

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The Accumul8 group on top of Primrose Hill

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Countdown to the Accumul8 exhibition

selection2choosing photos for exhibitionThis week we started to select the photographs for the Accumul8 exhibition at The Guardian headquarters in King’s Cross. It was wonderful seeing the participants’ confidence grow as they realised that they had a collection of images that were worthy of being in a public exhibition and were making and understanding choices as to what is a great picture. ‪#‎OthellodeSouzaHartley‬ and ‪#‎SteveFranck‬ did a great job with the first edit, the next edit for the show will be with curators from ‪#‎TheGuardian‬ and ‪#‎ThePhotographersGallery‬.

Photos: Jamila gives her photo selection the thumbs-up!

Jamila gives her photo selection the thumbs-up!

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Time to reflect and time to plan

The Accumul8 exhibition opened this year’s Crouch End Festival. The exhibition had visits from schools, project funders, the mayor, local MP’s and councilors and also, most importantly, from people  that have supported the project over the past nine months, from set-up to delivery. The Accumul8 exhibition has been such a success that the dates are being extended and the exhibition will now continue until 6th July.

The exhibition looks professional, with 60 images taken by the residents over the duration of the photography workshops. All the images are framed and numbered and all convey a story of how a group of particular people see their world. What’s even more brilliant is that we have sold quite a few of the photographs. All the money will go to continuing the project and developing it further so that it constantly adds value to the residents’ lives.

And value is a key word. The Accumul8 exhibition is an endorsement of the value of young people, what they can achieve if they are valued and what and who we value in our society and community. Through the Accumul8 opportunity, these young, homeless people were given a voice – a voice that people wanted to listen to and learn from. They were given an opportunity to express themselves and work towards a shared goal, and they had become valued participants of a project that had a direction for them and valued them.

The outcome of this process was an exhibition of their photographs, with people wanting to talk to and engage with them. A disenfranchised group of vulnerable adults had now become the positive, celebrated centre of attention. They were now photographers with work in an exhibition, work that was being admired and that people wanted to purchase and wanted to talk to them about and find out more about them. A very different sensation to feeling “outside”, worthless, rejected and excluded from society and what it had to offer.

This, for me, was the biggest achievement of Accumul8 so far. Seeing and witnessing that transformation in people, their new experiences of pride and joy in themselves and their work and their newly found sense of self – value through being valued by others. It doesn’t take much to make that difference, but that difference makes such a difference and has made such an impact to their lives. Image