The number of homeless people in England is rising and one unique Manchester arts project has worked hard to prevent discrimination against this part of our society.
Arthur+Martha is a Community Interest Company, directed by artist Lois Blackburn and poet Philip Davenport. Lois and Philip have worked as a team for ten years in healthcare venues, residential homes, schools, and community centres. National Lottery funding allowed the duo to run an ambitious project that has had a powerful impact on many participants, and reached an audience of several million.
The funding was used to run workshops for 200 homeless people and the exhibitions of their work. “Many participants tell us they don’t want money, or even help, they just want acknowledgement. To be seen,” explains Philip. This point was emphasised several times by one visitor to homeless drop-in, The Boot Centre. “I cannot bear to feel invisible,” he says. “I’m living in a place where the society around me wears a blindfold.” But since taking part in the project, which saw his work appear on postcards, he commented: “This morning I was invisible. Now I know someone knows I’m there.”
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