This exhibition, created by the local spoken stories company Heard Storytelling, sheds light on the lived experiences of homelessness in Manchester.
It features ten individuals who have personally experienced homelessness or have worked in local support agencies, sharing their deeply personal and candid stories.
The goal of the exhibition is to foster a greater understanding of the various factors contributing to homelessness and emphasise the importance of community support.
Immersive Audio-Visual Experience
The heart of the “Random Objects of Kindness” exhibition lies in its captivating audio-visual format.
The installation features striking, large-scale portraits of the storytellers, beautifully captured by photographer Ahmani Vidal.
Visitors can access the storytellers’ narratives by simply scanning a QR code on their mobile phones.
Each “living portrait” is accompanied by an image of an item that played a pivotal role in the individual’s journey toward independent living.
Personal Journeys Shared
The audio recordings, narrated by the participants themselves, take listeners on intimate journeys.
For instance, Joe recounts a pivotal moment at Moss Side’s Pepperhill pub that led to a remarkable transformation from a life of chaos and hopelessness to one of resilience and purpose.
Michelle shares her journey from the despair of street homelessness to the solace of reuniting with her daughter and playing the piano side by side.
Music, too, has played a significant role in these stories.
Jimi Hendrix’s music became a steadfast companion for Graham, helping him navigate trials that tested the very core of his existence.
Risha’s story traces a path of resilience, ultimately leading to the creation of Coffee 4 Craig in honour of Risha’s brother, where the simple act of offering clean underwear becomes a symbol of dignity and self-esteem.
Accessing the Stories
Visitors to the exhibition can access the ten true spoken stories by scanning the QR code next to the storyteller’s portrait or by visiting Manchester Arndale’s website from October 10th onwards.
“Random Objects of Kindness” will run until October 23rd at Manchester Arndale, located near the Morphe store.
This exhibition has been commissioned by the shopping center to raise awareness and donations for one of its charity partners, Real Change MCR.
Real Change MCR: A Lifeline for the Homeless
The storytellers with lived experiences of homelessness received support from Real Change MCR in their journey towards rebuilding their lives.
Real Change MCR is a fund that assists people experiencing homelessness in Manchester by providing essential items such as home deposits, clothing, furnishings, travel expenses, and employability training.
This fund is utilised by over 20 Manchester homelessness organisations and charities, including Barnabus, Shelter, MASH, Coffee4Craig, and Mustard Tree.
Make a Difference
Donations to the Real Change MCR fund can be made conveniently via mobile phone at the exhibition or through the Real Change MCR website.
A Message of Hope
David Allinson, Centre Director at Manchester Arndale, expressed pride in the partnership with Real Change MCR and hopes that this moving exhibition will raise awareness of the fund’s outstanding work.
He said, “Manchester Arndale is proud to partner with Real Change MCR and we hope that this captivating exhibition will raise awareness of the fantastic work achieved by the fund.
“The people involved share truly inspiring and deeply personal stories and we are honoured to host them.
“Over the two-week exhibition, we encourage all visitors to the Centre to take time out of their day to listen, reflect and donate if they can.”
He encouraged all visitors to the Centre to take the time to listen, reflect, and donate if possible.
Alex King, panellist and ambassador for Real Change MCR, emphasised the support of the business community in Manchester for this crucial cause.
He said: “The business community in Manchester is a proud supporter of Real Change MCR, which offers a lifeline to people who want to rebuild their lives away from the streets.
“By working together with grassroots Manchester charities, we are proud to have helped so many of the city’s most vulnerable people into their own homes.
“Like everyone, our local business community wants to see an end to street homelessness. We will continue to donate and raise awareness and help people rebuild their lives in our city.”
.Together with grassroots Manchester charities, they have helped many of the city’s most vulnerable individuals find their way into their own homes, expressing a shared commitment to ending street homelessness.
Empathy and Compassion at the Core
Colette Burroughs-Rose, Director of Heard Storytelling, emphasised that the “Random Objects of Kindness” exhibition is rooted in empathy and compassion.
Colette said, “The Random Objects of Kindness exhibition has empathy and compassion at its core. It goes beyond the surface, exploring the true stories and struggles of people who have been affected by homelessness.
“We aimed to shed light on the multifaceted causes of homelessness, its impact on diverse communities and the support needed to build a life away from the streets.
“We hope these spoken stories will have a lasting impact on listeners, opening hearts and minds in the same way that they opened ours.”
It delves beneath the surface, exploring the real stories and struggles of people affected by homelessness.
The exhibition aims to shine a light on the multifaceted causes of homelessness, its impact on diverse communities, and the support needed to build a life away from the streets.
The hope is that these spoken stories will leave a lasting impact on listeners, opening hearts and minds in the same way that they opened those behind the exhibition.
About Manchester Arndale
Manchester Arndale is a leading shopping center in the heart of Manchester, known for its commitment to supporting the local community and charitable causes.
About Real Change MCR
Real Change MCR is a fund dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness in Manchester by providing practical support and resources to help them transition to independent living.
About Heard Storytelling
Heard Storytelling is a local company that specialises in capturing and sharing the personal stories of individuals and communities, providing a platform for their voices to be heard.