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Exhibition by people with experience of homelessness launches

29 Jan 2024 4 minute read
Elisha Hughes, UWTSD Widening Access Officer with Foundation Art students Todd Richards and Patrice Hutchings, whose work is featured in the exhibition.

A new exhibition showcasing the artistic talents of people who have experienced homelessness in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot has launched at Swansea’s Waterfront Museum.

Homeless charity Crisis’s South Wales Skylight, based in Swansea, offers people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness a range of support including one to one advice and guidance, help with finding and maintaining a home and learning and employment opportunities.

Creative outlet

The Skylight also runs arts and crafts courses where members can enjoy a creative outlet. For many who are sofa surfing or staying in temporary accommodation, creating art can also be a way to bring a sense of home to unsuitable living conditions and support health and wellbeing.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is supporting the exhibition, with the university’s widening access team working in collaboration with Crisis Skylight to explore opportunities for their members and help them access facilities, advice, and workshops at UWTSD.

Art student, Patrice Hutchings, whose work is featured in the exhibition

Working with their Surface Pattern and Textiles department and graduate Naomi Seaward, who is now working as a technical demonstrator at UWTSD, Crisis members were able to create pieces of artwork that formed part of the exhibition House to Home.

What makes a house a home?

This new exhibition, created by people facing homelessness, challenges visitors to carefully consider what makes a house a home, while also showcasing a range of artistic skills.

The installation displays the inside of a home, which alongside other household items, proudly displays wallpaper carefully curated from street rubbings taken from across Swansea, lighting created from recycled bottles and a rug made from recycled materials.

Esther Ley, Arts Co-Ordinator at Crisis Skylight South Wales, said: “I’m so proud to be launching this exhibition, and of all the wonderfully talented artists who worked so hard to create this incredible space.

“In addition to providing practical help and support, I’m so pleased that our Skylight can also offer art classes, which often provide a creative and therapeutic outlet from the traumatic situations our members are facing.

“Not having a place to call home can feel incredibly displacing. For many of our members, creating beautiful pieces like those on display helps them to feel a bit more at home in the often temporary and stark conditions they are having to stay in.

“This exhibition highlights the incredible artistic talent among our members and provokes people to think differently about homelessness. A house is more than a roof over your head, it is a place to call home and we invite the viewer to consider what home means to them.”

Art student, Todd Richards, whose work is featured in the exhibition

Sam Bowen, UWTSD’s Widening Access Manager said: “The University is proud of our varied and ambitious provision of offers to raise aspirations and give access to all levels and modes of learning. Providing opportunities like this one allows learners of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to find out more about their options, get hands on experience, progress to, and be successful in their education goals. Our work with charitable organisations shows little sign of slowing as we continue to increase our collaboration with the local communities we serve in order to help improve social mobility and make access to education fairer for all.”

UWTSD’s Surface Pattern and Textiles Programme Manager Georgia McKie said: “We were so pleased to be able to host the House to Home screen printing workshops in our Surface Pattern and Textiles department.  As a programme we are continually inspired by the connections we make between wellbeing and design, and wellbeing and making.  This project enabled both for the participants; they designed and made, and then they experienced the impact and joy of being immersed in their own wallpapers at the exhibition, this is a wonderful thing!”

Naomi Seaward added: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with the team and members of Crisis to express their experiences through printed pattern. Participants dived headfirst into processes they had never tried before, bringing energy and creativity to each workshop, and the finished designs and exhibition are a fantastic representation of their talent.”

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