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Accumulate Summer 2018

Wow what a Summer we have had! As Autumn approaches it’s great to reflect on what has been a really exciting time for our project with so much more to come!

We won an award!

June saw Accumulate highly commended by the Festival of Learning. This organisation celebrates the benefits of learning and the achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives. It was such a proud moment to see one of our 2017 scholarship winners,  Jay collect this award. It was presented by Professor Linda Drew, Director and CEO of Ravensbourne University.

Creative Leaders 50

Following this we were simply over the moon to see our inspiring founder and Director Marice Cumber named in Creative Review’s ‘Creative Leaders 50’ . An recognition of people driving change in the creative industries and incredibly well deserved. Many congrats Marice!

Process at Somerset House

In July, we took part in ‘Process’ a two day festival of independent media & a zine fair held at Somerset House in Central London. This was a great platform for us to promote the work of Accumualte and our latest zine ‘Decay’

 

This zine is the result of a collaboration between House of St Barnabas, Accumulate and Ravensbourne University. This collection of words, images and random thoughts by people affected by homelessness is now in its third issue. It is a really great showcase for the power of creativity, with organisations and individuals working together to form their own creative community. Click here to buy your own copy of Decay 3 and help us support more people affected by homelessness find empowerment through creativity.

The Great Fete

In August we took part in the Great Fete at Alexandra Palace in North London. Participants from hostels all over London came together to take part in this workshop. They took portraits using a polaroid camera of those attending the event. The images were then all linked together to create a ‘Palace Quilt’. This was such a great project to work on, bringing different parts of the community together to craft, share skills and make something collectively. The finished piece was then displayed by the festival.

Scholarship Winners Enrol!

As the end of August came, we were so proud to see the happy smiling faces of our 2018 scholarship winners as they enrolled at University. They will be studying on the Access to HE Diploma course in Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne University.  This has all been made possible by our amazing sponsors Brickworks London, Straight Forward Design and Ravensbourne University. Exciting times are certainly ahead and we are so happy to have you follow our journey with us.

 

 

Accumulate Scholarship Winner LisaLouise Machregor shares her joy with her mother

Accumulate Exhibition 2018

The Accumulate Exhibition 2018 took place at The Guardian building in Kings Cross. 20 people, who are affected by homelessness, who took part in the 15 week Accumulate photography course showed their work at the exhibition and what makes the private view special is not just that they can see their creative work displayed so expertly in a curated exhibition, but that the people that attend are interested in them, in their stories and in their creativity. It really is a very special night and has a feeling of a celebration about it, a celebration of talent, achievement, determination and collaboration.

More people than ever turned up to this year’s Accumulate exhibition private view, which made it into even more of a party atmosphere.

The Accumulate Exhibition 2018

The Accumulate Exhibition 2018

We also did audio recordings of each of the participants talking about their photographs and their experiences of coming on the Accumulate project and what it meant to them. One of the participants, Olive Douglas, spoke about how good the project made her feel, she even spoke to her doctor about it – who, as a result, reduced her medication.

Olive Douglas, an Accumulate participant, shares her story with an Accumulate exhibition visitor

Olive Douglas, an Accumulate participant, shares her story with an Accumulate exhibition visitor

Scholarships were awarded to three Accumulate participants so that they can continue their creative education and study on the Access to HE Diploma in Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne University London. This is life changing. The recipients of the scholarships are Max Sita-Mbele, Lisalouise Macgregor and Jahmel Anderson Hendricks. Many many thanks to the sponsors of the scholarships – Brickworks London, Straight Forward Design and Ruth Keetch – they have all changed someone’s life forever.

 Max Sita-Mbele with Professor Linda Drew, Marice Cumber and Ruth Keetch


Max Sita-Mbele with Professor Linda Drew, Marice Cumber and Ruth Keetch

Accumulate Scholarship Winner LisaLouise Machregor shares her joy with her mother

Accumulate Scholarship Winner LisaLouise Macgregor shares her joy with her mother

The Accumulate group try out yoga at Level Six Yoga Studio, Peckham Levels

The Accumulate Photography Workshops 2018

The Accumulate Photography Workshops 2018 are nearly over for another year. They start in January and end mid May with the exhibition,  and, this year, two things have really stood out, friendship and trust.

Friendship: We have people from different hostel groups, different countries and different age groups this year, more so than previously. We have an ex basket ball player from Kuwait, a retired gardener, a gospel singer, a chef and a cricket fan amongst our group. They come every week, sun, rain or snow, and what has been really apparent is that friendships have been made, people are hanging out with different people, they meet outside of the Accumulate photography workshops and they all “high five” each other when they arrive, and hug at the end.

Friendship is so positive and sometimes we can take it for granted. Friendship  counters loneliness – which can be a trigger for mental health issues and depression, and it means you are connected to other people in a positive way. The Accumulate participants are not connected together because they live in a hostel and have the same life circumstance. They are connected together through their love of doing something creative, they communicate and share themselves through this, and they witness and experience a bond with people who they look forward to seeing each week and spending time with.

Mask making at the Accumulate "Identity" Workshop which took place at The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Mask making at the Accumulate “Identity” Workshop which took place at The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Trust: When we began the Accumulate 2018 photography workshops, there was a wariness, aloofness and inhibition that spread across the group. No one wanted to put their hand up to ask a question, there was a bit of “them and us” going on and there definitely wasn’t a sense of trust or security. Everyone started off a bit unsure of what they had embarked on, a bit unsure of themselves and definitely unsure of the other people in the room. Slowly, trust has built up. Trust between the participants, the participants and the student helpers and between the participants, student helpers and the tutors. Once that trust began to take place we started to introduce other creative activities, beyond photography. The group made visual art in response to the Basquiet exhibition at The Barbican, made their own protest t.shirts for a London Fashion Week activity and made masks for the “Identity and Culture” talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

But out of all of this creativity, one activity has stood out above all else and has been the emotional and rewarding highlight of the project so far – Yoga. This past week the Accumulate group had their first yoga lesson. That this actually happened is sign that these 18 people, the Accumulate participants, now all trust each other, feel good about themselves and have found their self confidence to try something new and outside of their comfort zone. This was is the biggest achievement of the project so far. It also symbolises what Accumulate stands for and sets out to do – to build confidence, trust and empowerment through creativity. Seeing the Accumulate group participate in a yoga lesson, love it and want to do more just shows just how far they all have come.

The Accumulate group try out yoga at Level Six Yoga Studio, Peckham Levels

The Accumulate group try out yoga at Level Six Yoga Studio, Peckham Levels

 

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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Learning and sharing photography skills and making new friends as well.

Learning new skills is just one aspect of the Accumul8 photography workshops, yes – the main focus is learning about photography, but other stuff happens – which is just as exciting, rewarding and nourishing as the excitement of taking great photographs. Friendships are made between groups of young people that would not have met before, social skills are built and new places and parts of London are discovered and visited that include its museums and galleries. To have over 50 young people energised to visit a museum and feel comfortable in it is a serious accomplishment, no longer do these places seem out of bound or not for them. So far, we have had Accumul8 workshops at Tate Modern, Somerset House, The Barbican and Sulger-Buel Lovell Gallery in Southwark.  Along with learning photography techniques, the Accumul8 group have had talks from practising photographers about their work and their careers, visited exhibitions and also overcome personal challenges to ask strangers to have their portraits taken. All part of their learning and opening up to new opportunities, wherever they may be.

Learning and sharing photography skills

Learning and sharing photography skills

Accumulate Scholarship winners Luke and Jay with Linda Drew, Head of Ravensbourne College

Scholarships

The start of a new season

We have now started the Accumul8 season of photography workshops at the North London YMCA hostel, which will end with an exhibition of the hostel residents’ photographs at the Crouch End Festival in June.

Digital photography is a really effective creative medium to engage and inspire the residents. It allows them to explore and use their creativity, in a very non-judgmental way, but more importantly, puts them in charge and by doing so, increases their confidence, communication skills and sense of well-being. Also digital photography is instant and an activity that everyone can participate in, experiment with and enjoy.

This year, we are again working with Ravensbourne, the college that I work at, who have partnered with Accumul8 – thank you James and Lucy. The students on the access course will be assisting the photographer, Othello deSouza Hartley, who is leading the tuition for the sessions. What is special this year is that the residents will receive a university certificate in digital media (level 2) at the end of the project. This is going to be something very significant, as the residents have often not only suffered from destructive pasts that has triggered their homelessness, but also from poor and fragmented education which has hampered their abilities to progress into employment or other training. Hopefully, the Accumul8 project can inspire them to reconnect with education, relish their achievements and help them on their journey to a better future.

The photo shows Sylwia, an access student at Ravensbourne, helping TJ, a resident at the YMCA hostel, to understand about composition and framing an image.

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Also, this week we are super proud to launch the Accumul8 Community Jam page on our website. This is a page where the community can participate and donate to the Accumul8 project by donating a preserves recipe. (Accumul8 and the residents make and sell preserves with surplus fruit to help pay for the Accumul8 creative workshops at the hostel). The aim of the Accumul8 Community Jam page is to help build awareness of Accumul8 and the work it does and hopefully, inspires a new audience to learn about sustainability, creativity, homelessness and the community.

We are even more proud that so many celebrity chefs and food writers have donated their preserves recipes to Accumul8. Talented, creative figures such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Mark Hix, Dan Doherty, Matthew Fort, Marjorie Paulson, Thane Prince, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, Pam Corbin, Sarah Randell, Valentine Warner, Olia Hercules, Ghillie James, Vivien Lloyd. Many thanks to all of them. Please donate your preserve recipe too and be part of Accumul8’s work to help the homeless get a better future.