Last month, 10 people with lived experience of homelessness in Greater Manchester – including two key workers – participated in a photography and storytelling course.
Called ‘Home’ and opening on Saturday 9th July, it will be exactly four years to the day since People of the Streets (POTS) opened their last exhibit in Manchester, in the Arndale.
Prints of the photos exhibited will be for sale online, with 50% of the sale price going to POTS photographers.
People of the Streets, led by Bury CEO Alex Greenhalgh (26) and Ollie Bream Mcintosh (27), have co-produced ‘Home’ based around the first-person narratives of the people who have first-hand lived experience and expertise.
The aim is to educate and inform the public on the housing emergency in Manchester, and the case for the Housing First Pilot (a new innovative approach to tackling homelessness), whilst personifying and humanising the people at the centre of it.
“The life for many homeless people means being constantly overwhelmed by toxic stress and trauma,” said Matt Kidd, co-production lead at Greater Manchester Housing First and a POTS photographer (with lived experience).
“Many people with safety, security and wellness take it for granted and will never be able to truly appreciate how hard it is to manage your life when you don’t have access to these things.
“No-one should ever be viewed as intentionally homeless; we should instead understand what unrealistic demands and challenges the system put in place which led to them losing their home.”
The POTS photography and storytelling course have been led by local photography star Nathan Whittaker, aka Manc Wanderer.
Like all POTS exhibits (Nottingham 2017, Manchester 2018, Tel Aviv and Padova 2019, and London 2020), all photos have been taken on disposable cameras.
“I was already familiar with it form the last time I was in Manchester in 2018,” says Nathan about the project.
“In the past when they’ve done it, they’ve given out the cameras for the participants to tell their story – but this is the first time it’s actually been a series of classes, teaching people.
“Going into it, I was quite nervous and apprehensive, but also really excited about the project.
“And it was educational, I learnt a lot from the experience. It was so rewarding.
“The people came from all different backgrounds, with different stories to tell.
“Some of the conversations I had with the participants were very emotional.”
People of the Streets say this is their most ambitious exhibition yet.
“The photography produced this year has been outstanding, and paints a compelling picture of the urgent need to put holistic person-centred support at the centre of our nation’s response to the homelessness emergency,” they said.
The exhibition will launch on 9th July 12pm at Manchester Cathedral and will run from 9th-17th July at Manchester Cathedral and The Royal Exchange, and 21st-23rd July at Ashton Metrolink Station.