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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

Jamilla-selectes-her-photos

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