Manchester welcomes the inaugural International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival and you’re warmly invited. With a packed programme of events from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 November, the Festival is set to attract a wide audience to come together, enjoy the impressive arts events on show, and be a part of a crucial wider conversation on homelessness.
Commuters and visitors to Manchester will already have walked through Piccadilly Station approach and seen The Doodle on Ducie Street mural created last week by internationally renowned New York activist and graffiti artist Joel Bergner (aka Joel Artista) in collaboration with 33 artists who are or have been homeless from Greater Manchester.
That was the Festival’s calling card and a sign of the creativity to come. Over seven full days, inspiring events and projects will be showcased to the public, to present, enjoy and explore how the arts and social issues can combine to produce incredible art, empower people and help to tackle serious issues.
Arts projects addressing accompanying issues of low wellbeing, social isolation and stigma are effectively used around the world to improve physical and mental health, change public attitude, and to enable forgotten voices of people impacted by homelessness to be loudly heard.
Director Matt Peacock says: “It’s a global effort culminating with this fantastic Festival in Manchester. With One Voice is thrilled that two members of a partner organisation in Sierra Leone just managed to secure their visas with the help of The Lowry, and will be at the Festival. And that’s just one of the good news stories from the Festival already.
The calibre of art and artists involved in homelessness is breathtakingly good. The mural has got people’s attention because of the combination of its jaw-dropping beauty and the important message the artists have given to Manchester – reminding everyone that they have talents and achievements not just needs. Now it’s time to announce the full programme for a whole host of exciting events.
Please have a look at it and join us. It will be something for us all to enjoy, from dancers from Tokyo to singers from Rio. Art cannot solve homelessness but homelessness is defined by being the result of multiple issues coming together; and with multiple issues, we need to find multiple solutions.”
The summit and the Festival are two separate parts of the week, although seamlessly linked.
- The Summit will explore themes of people, performance and partnerships, practice, and policy in relation of arts and homelessness (with the words in bold at the heart). It will bring artists, activists, academics and policy makers together to discuss issues through practical workshops, conversations, taster sessions and performances, with people who are or have been homeless at the centre of it all.
Click here for the full Summit programme.
- The Festival is a rich, diverse, exiting series of free events, installations, world premieres, pop-ups, performances related to arts and homelessness which includes the biggest ever homelessness exhibition and showcase by people with lived experience.
Click here for the full Festival programme.
The programme is rich and diverse: that link to view it in full again. There are a number of events running all week including the largest art exhibition by people with lived experience, and a city-wide art hunt by the infamous anonymous Mancunian arts Mancsy.
Some daily Festival diary highlights include:
- Festival launch at Inspirational People: public photography and art exhibition at the Booth Centre celebrating people’s strengths and talents.
- An Ethics Swapshop with photography network Redeye: A workshop exploring the ethics of photography with people who are or have been homeless, followed by Festival opening night event Facing Change:A one-night only exhibition displaying photography made by artists from Back on Track and Inspiring Change Manchester shown in parallel with a sister exhibition from Detroit, Facing Change: Documenting DETROIT, USA
- Manchester Homeless Art Exhibition Party: curated by Urban Poet Ged Austin featuring artwork from Barnabus, Lifeshare, Victoria House, Stockport Housing, art from the street, and Manchester College photography students.
- Summit welcome party: delegates from 15 countries arrive for the Summit at the International Arts and Homelessness Exhibition, featuring a performance by Streetwise Opera.
- The Ground Beneath Your Feet (Public Preview). As the world faces complex global crises including homelessness, this exhibition gathers artists from Israel, Ecuador, Iran, Scotland and England to explore how we relate to, learn from and are impacted by the ground beneath our feet.
- Festival Showcase and Open Mic: journalist and wordsmith Kate Feld presents an informal evening of song, poetry, music and bravery as acts from around the world take to the mic for one night only. This is your chance to see our Brazilian samba dancers in action…
- They Can’t Take That Away From Me: The Edge and Booth Centre join forces to present a daft but serious, funny but moving, unique brand of storytelling, ensuring you leaving the theatre with a spring in your step and the NHS in your heart.
SATURDAY: The Open Day!
There is a full series of free events, installations, pop-ups and performances related to arts and homelessness throughout Manchester and GM.
Click here to see the full list:
Click here to see the Events Taking Place All Week 12-18 Nov:
- Man on Bench Fairytale – closing event. Five years ago, David Toveysat on a park bench, homeless and suicidal. The man who sat next to him saved his life. David and the Museum of Homelessness bring this story to Manchester’s iconic Mayfield Depot in an immersive new production developed by people who’ve faced homelessness.
Conversations about homelessness are overwhelmingly negative. This set of events is a chance for people who are or have been homeless to create something positive for the city, expressing complex feelings, thoughts and identity in a nuanced and creative way. This empowerment has proved to be a tangible and powerful catalyst for change internationally.
Meanwhile, Manchester is one of the global centres of homelessness innovation with homeless people now at the centre of decision-making and a ‘whole-society’ approach where different sectors – business, faith and the cultural sector – are stepping up to play their part. Manchester City Council recently announced that the arts will be part of the homelessness strategy with With One Voice’s Jigsaw of Homeless Support at the centre of the strategy.
The festival is a chance to explore opportunities, share knowledge, and make connections to raise awareness of homelessness, and support people in our cities. Crucially, people currently or who have previously experienced homelessness have been at the centre of the design and delivery of the festival.
The Festival is free to attend. Summit tickets can be purchased here, please note that 50% of delegate tickets will be available free to people who are or have been homeless.
Friends, family, businesses and the general public are warmly invited to attend and get involved with the Festival, 12-18 November. Please keep an eye out on the website and social media channels for updates on the week.
Notes to editor:
- To read more about With One Voice and its national and international presence, click here. With One Voice is an international arts and homelessness movement that aims to connect and strengthen the sector through exchanges in policy and practice.
- To view the full programme for the With one Voice International Arts and Homelessness Summit &Festival, understand its aims, and find out ticket details, click here.
- The International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival is sponsored by Laing O’Rourke, Bruntwood and Human Appeal and supported by the British Council, The Evan Cornish Foundation, Bolton at Home, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and Manchester City Council.
- With One Voice is produced by award-winning charity Streetwise Opera and funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Macquarie Group Foundation and The Stavros Niarchos Foundation.