A BOOK OF OURS is an illuminated manuscript which gathers significant events, dates, people, celebrations and memorials, all in one book, giving a wide cross-section of hugely individual lives. Our hope is that by doing this we reassert the identity and the individuality of people who are sometimes dismissed as “homeless” when they are so much more.
A BOOK OF OURS is in its final stages and we’ve been gathering a flurry of work to add to the project. Most recently, angels have arrived — these ones via their earthly emissaries the Inspiring Change Manchester art group, who have also made work for Whisper To Me Alone. As ever, the ICM afternoon was a delight, full of companionship and bustle and jokiness. Dylan Gwilym, who runs the group, creates an atmosphere of playful kindness for people to experiment safely within. Several people in the group have some experience of homelessness and this was discussed as we spent time together; included in this blog is a group poem constructed by me out of the conversation that day…
Angel artworks by the ICM art group. Top and bottom images by Becky Boo. Artworks in first panel (from top left to bottom right) by TN, Anonymous, Dee, GL and JP. Artworks paired in second panel by Dylan Gwilym and Lily Ozane.
Just like heaven I’m good At least I think I am. Thinking of angels Halos, I think of and Doughnuts and rubber rings Think of people who’ve passed People passing you when you’re homeless Without giving The time of day. Seen a spirit When I was a kid When the window was open A priest with no head No one believed me When I was out on the streets People went past me, unseen Like you’re invisible. Never seen Spirits after that But I feel them all the time Me...I live in a theme park just like heaven, an angel Tall and regal looking down. It’s good to share trouble not hold it: Swift-flying angel Just let your imagination... go Group poem ICM Art Group March 2021
Several organisations work together to support the art group:
Inspiring Change Manchester is a Lottery Funded Learning Programme. We work with people experiencing Multiple Disadvantages, who face barriers to accessing support and may be isolated within society. We follow a No Wrong Door approach, supporting people through a Multi-Agency Partnership that strives to be Asset Focused, Psychologically Informed and Person Centred. We are working to create System Change to tackle inequalities and improve people’s experiences in accessing the support they need.
Dylan Gwylim represented Self Help Services who are the partner providing the mental health element of the ICM project https://www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/
The group meets at Back on Track www.backontrackmanchester.org.uk Several Back on Track learners have been involved with various stages of A BOOK OF OURS.