Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Homeless Library is now open

Tweet From Engels, a previous arthur+martha project with homeless people.

Homeless people in greater Manchester will be invited to construct their own history of homelessness in a new project devised by arts organisation arthur+martha CIC, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Their stories, artworks and discussions will be collected as a library of handmade books, reflecting on their lives and how they connect with the wider heritage of homelessness. The books will describe their experiences in reminiscence, poetry, art. The books will also draw on discussions with social historian Zelda Baveystock, interviews with older people and historical documents relating to homelessness in Greater Manchester.

Partners in the project include homeless centres The Booth Centre, The Big Issue in the North, The Wellspring, as well as Bury Art Gallery and The Patients’ Association. 

Lois Blackburn, Co-Director of arthur+martha said: “Many homeless people live as ‘invisibles’ who are not fully valued or acknowledged. When they die, their very existence sometimes leaves no mark, except in memory. This project opens an untold chronicle, that exists off the pages of official history books. We are delighted and privileged to make this project a reality.” 

Collaborating with museums, galleries, professional historians as well as support organisations for homeless people, The Homeless Library will strive to dignify these stories and empower the tellers. The Library will tour museums, galleries, libraries and the streets in a portable library booth.

Books from The Homeless Library will be held long-term as a legacy in libraries and galleries in Greater Manchester.