Homelessness in the United Kingdom is on the rise. At the start of 2020 at least one out of every 200 people in England is living without permanent or safe accommodation. Homeless deaths have increased by 20% in England and Wales over the last year. On December 7, 2019, 60 cities participated in the World’s Big Sleep Out to call attention to the urgency of the crisis. There has been a significant response from communities, who have set up shelters and Streets Kitchens in public spaces across the United Kingdom. Sustained campaigning from Crisis resulted in the Homelessness Reduction Act coming into force in 2018. Despite this, 91% of local authorities in the UK did not respond to basic questions about homelessness when contacted.
Anthony Luvera: Taking Place, a new exhibition curated by Futurecity, uncovers the shocking and poignant challenge faced by those experiencing homelessness and asks audiences to consider the narratives and dimensions that can be shared through a collaborative approach to different creative mediums, radically refocusing centres of power. This exhibition presents Assembly (2013 – 2014) and Frequently Asked Questions (2014 – ongoing).
Frequently Asked Questions demonstrates the true scale of the homelessness crisis by navigating bureaucratic and depersonalising centres of authority through a striking wall installation. Stemming from research with Gerald Mclaverty, conducted over the past five years, it presents responses from 110 local authorities across the UK on the services available for people experiencing homelessness, based on questions arising from Gerald’s own experience, such as “where can I go for something to eat?”, “where can I find shelter from when it is raining or snowing?” or “where can I sleep during the night that is safe?” 41 of the councils did not reply at all. With the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, Councils are now legally bound by new duties in relation to homeless individuals and these findings put their performance in relation to the Act under the microscope.
“The range of responses to these questions from across the country is, quite frankly, alarming to me. Most of the replies were automated emails signposting the reader towards websites and other general resources,” Anthony Luvera said.
In Brighton in 2013, Luvera invited individuals associated with the area’s First Base Day Centre and the Phase One Project to create photographs and sound recordings of the places, people and events that captivated them. Eventually, some of those participants worked with Luvera on the development of Assisted Self-Portraits in which they co-created their self-representations as part of Assembly. The photographs that resulted are co-sited, framed and edited with the careful guidance of their protagonists, upending the traditional photography process, and empowering the portraitist themselves. Viewers are invited to listen to accompanying sound recordings of participants in the editing room with Luvera on their mobile devices.
Anthony Luvera has collaborated with people who have experienced homelessness in cities and towns across the UK for over fifteen years. He has worked with hundreds of people, and through this process collated thousands of photographs, videos, sound recordings, and texts, created with or by participants. These works express the points of view of individuals to tell stories about their experiences and the systems and services that shape their everyday lives.
Presented at The Gallery at Foyles, London, from the 11th January to 29th February, 2020, Anthony Luvera: Taking Place combines art and policy to allow people to better understand just how homelessness affects our society.
Produced in association with Museum of Homelessness and supported by Coventry University, the exhibition gives a picture of how services both help and hinder the estimated 320,000 homeless people in Britain, and offers an insight into the challenges and realities faced by the most marginalised individuals as they attempt to access systems of care.
Programme of Public Events
As part of Anthony Luvera: Taking Place, a programme of public events will also be held, to generate discussions and creative responses that unpack the issues at stake in the work.
Monday 13th January, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at The Gallery at Foyles
Taking Place: A Day of Talks on Homelessness and Housing Justice
Thursday 27th February, 9:30am – 5:30pm at the Auditorium in Foyles Bookstore
Anthony Luvera, Artist (Coventry University)
Matt and Jess Turtle, Co-Founders (Museum of Homelessness)
Nicholas Crowson (University of Birmingham)
Amy McDonnell (Curator and Researcher)
Bekki Perriman (Artist)
Diarmaid Ward (Islington Council)
Owen Clayton (University of Lincoln)
David Thomas (Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition)
More speakers to be announced
This event is free to attend. Reserve seats by clicking here.
Choir With No Name – Performance
Thursday 27th February, 6:30pm – 7:00pm at The Gallery at Foyles
To accompany the exhibition a free online educational resource for teachers and students has been created by Photopedagogy:
About Museum of Homelessness
Founded in 2015, Museum of Homelessness (MoH) is a community driven social justice museum, created and run by people with direct experience of homelessness. MoH tackles homelessness and housing inequality by amplifying the voices of its community through research, events, workshops, campaigns and exhibitions. MoH also provides direct support – bursaries, mentoring, training and practical support – to its community members. MoH collects and shares the art, history and culture of homelessness & housing inequality to change society for the better, working together to find hope in deeply divided and difficult times.
About The Gallery at Foyles
The Gallery at Foyles is a distinct space located on the fifth floor of the Foyles bookshop at 107 Charing Cross Road. The gallery is curated and managed by cultural placemaking agency Futurecity. For five years, Futurecity has worked in partnership to unlock ideas, images, critical discourse, opinion, record, and wonder permeating through the books and music contained within the store. The artists, architects, designers, engineers exhibited are inspired by diversity of classifications: Fine Art, Photography, Master-craftsmanship, Design, Environmental Sustainability, Innovation, Technology and Architecture. With this programme, we allow the visitor to ‘browse” the cross-disciplinary thinking and work of some of the most curious cultural creators of our urban landscape.
Futurecity is a cultural placemaking agency that creates cultural strategies, brokers cultural partnerships, and delivers major arts projects for clients across the public and private sectors. Founded by Mark Davy in 2007, Futurecity has produced over 125 cultural strategies, brokered over 20 cultural partnerships, and worked on over 100 artist commissions for clients across four continents. In 2017, Sherry Dobbin joined as Partner, bringing her expertise across new cultural development models, public-private partnerships, and international programming experience.