The Homeless Library: a homecoming

Projects

The Booth Centre and arthur+martha would like to invite you to the opening celebration of three projects, The Homeless Library, Sing me to Sleep and Mosaics made at The Booth.
Join us on the 8th May at 1pm at The Booth Centre Manchester, for a sharing of the artwork, refreshments, and readings. All are welcome.

a-perfect-vacuum

The project The Homeless Library is nearly at its official finish point, but in truth this feels like the beginning, not the end.


There are so many stories that Phil and I didn’t capture, so many strands of the history of homelessness that we only touched on. And like any history, it’s happening right now; since completing the interviews and poems for the project, new people have become homeless for new reasons, we have seen people find accommodation, take steps forward in their personal battles with alcohol, substance abuse, mental health issues, relationships, tragically we have also seen others not make it.


The Homeless Library has fed directly into our new project Armour, sharing the stories of the homeless people who’ve served in the armed forces. Threads from it are teased out in Phil’s Berlin-based project Heaven-Proof House, which asks refugees about the nature of home.

 

The Library has had a profound effect on us personally. In many ways it has been the hardest project we’ve ever done, because it was so emotionally intense and because we had so much to learn. The situation of some people we met was heartbreaking. But hope was also present in each day, each session – and humour and imagination, even delight. We were on a steep learning curve too: this was the first time we had attempted a formal “history”. In fact, our Library is the first-ever history of British homelessness thats ever been attempted. The voices of homeless people are finally being heard and accepted, as a valuable, fascinating part of all our stories.

?my life on the road

We have also been approached by other organisations, to share our experience. The Museum of Homelessness have liaised with us and are doing excellent work. Recently, Lois met Karl Hyde from Underworld whose Street Poem project for MIF will soon start. A few days ago we were asked if another organisation could pick up our idea and start a Homeless Library in London…


The Homeless Library will continue to grow and develop, sending its message to the world. We would like to thank the many, generous-hearted Homeless Librarians who contributed and who led the way.

My name is hello thank you and goodbye 

My name is many, legion

Woke up this morning not in my own bed

Half a bed it was I fell out of

Fell out across fields, over and out

Over and out to continue

Made my way here, my name is many

My name is hello thank you and goodbye.

Anon


To download your free ebook from The Homeless Library visit blurb.

For more information and links to films and artwork please visit /the-homeless-library/

And for more interviews and project diaries look on this site at arthur-and-martha.blogspot

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