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The day began with an ice-breaker session with the BA students, introducing them to the project, its aims and outputs.
This was followed by a rendezvous with Dominic Sagar and the other EVENTS groups, “Art+Garden+Life” and “Are You Aware”, dealing with various aspects of homelessness. Representatives from organisations such as Mustard Tree, Street Poem, Herblabism and Cracking Good Food were present to discuss with us their work in this field. The session was eye-opener, bringing up a multitude of issues faced by people who are or have been homeless and the different ways in which establishments can address these issues. While housing is heavily dependent on the Council, factors such as food and physical health can be addressed by non-governmental organisations. Another major issue is that of emotional rehabilitation and addressing the stigma faced by these communities. The Street Poem’s initiative to tell people’s stories through art is aimed to humanise the abstraction of homelessness while Ollie Martin’s “Sounds of the Street” recording brings to the forefront the conditions in which these people live. This is being adapted to be used in an art installation to be designed and built by WOAH, a student-run initiative by MSA in collaboration with Architecture Unknown.

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Posted 25 Mar 2019 21:51

In 2017, more than 300,000 people in Britain – the equivalent of one in every 200 – were officially recorded as homeless or living in inadequate homes. Additionally, in 2017 the number of people sleeping rough in England rose for the eighth consecutive year. There were 4,751 people counted or estimated by local authorities to be sleeping rough in England on any one night in autumn – a 15% increase from the 2016 figure of 4,134, and more than double the 2010 figure.
Manchester reflects the national trend in the number of households that have lost their home. Both the use of temporary accommodation and the number of people who experience sleeping rough have increased. At the same time, the number of affordable houses on the Local Housing Allowance rate has shrunk, and pressures on affordable social housing is increasing. Housing options for people on low incomes or those receiving housing benefits are becoming limited.
The Manchester Homelessness Strategy was established with the vision to, as the name suggests, end homelessness in Manchester. A venture of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership, this is an extension of the Manchester's Homelessness Charter that has developed new approaches to reduce homelessness by bringing together people who are homeless and organisations that provide support for people to overcome personal and systemic challenges. Their aims, as stated, are to make:
1. Homelessness a rare occurrence: increasing prevention and early intervention
2. Homelessness as brief as possible: improving temporary and supported accommodation
so it becomes a positive experience
3. Experience of homelessness a one-off occurrence: increasing access to settled homes

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Posted 25 Mar 2019 00:08

The definition of homelessness is "not having a home". The term ‘homeless’ is often considered to apply only to people ‘sleeping rough’. A person can be homeless even if they have a roof over their heads. These include:
1. staying with family or friends
2. staying in a hostel or night shelter
3. squatting
4. living with a risk of abuse at home
5. living in unsanitary conditions
Homeless people are seen as victims or outsiders who become homeless through poor choices or bad luck ­- causes that are seen as individual and inevitable. Consequently, any link with poverty, a lack of affordable housing or wider social forces is almost completely lost.
Posted 24 Mar 2019 23:18
// SITE VISITS_26th March 2019

To better understand the kinds of spaces we are designing for, visiting and critically analysing them is crucial. The study will be on the basis of the discussions we will have the previous day with our collaborators and people who are or have been homeless. We have identified three locations, varying in size and function to include a good mix of spaces.
1. Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street which houses many works of local and international significance.
2. Manchester Central Library in St Peter's Square
3. Castlefield Gallery whose director Helen Wewiora was a member of the discussion panel during the International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival, a conference held between 12-18 Nov at the Whitworth Gallery.
Posted 22 Mar 2019 16:56

The Booth Centre's mission is to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and help them plan for and realise a better future. They organise activities which help people rebuild confidence and learn something new whilst having fun and building social connections. People are encouraged to build on their skills and strengths to enable them to move off the streets, to develop a purpose, be that employment, education or positive social activities and to develop friendships which will support them in rebuilding their lives. Their values of inclusiveness, respect, empowerment, partnerships and inspiration aim to help everyone to have a secure home and the opportunity to have a good quality of life. The centre's Arts programme helps people develop new skills in areas such as painting, crafts, singing, drama, creative writing, sewing and photography. They work closely with local and national specialists to offer people good quality, fun and challenging workshops.
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Posted 21 Mar 2019 23:09
// MEETING & SITE VISIT_4th March 2019

During the meeting with Matt from With One Voice, we discussed various questions we aim to address during the two-week Event including what about a building makes it more inviting to everyone in the community. We identified the landscape, facade and foyer as the elements that have the greatest impact in the design of both existing and new buildings.
Following this, we visited the Manchester Museum to meet the Director, Esme Ward who introduced us to the nuances of accessibility and an inclusive approach to the design of such cultural spaces. As a part of the collaboration with the Museum, we will have extensive interactions with their design team in an attempt to contribute to the ongoing extension project.
From L-R: Matt Peacock, Esme Ward, Chelsea Bland, Celeste Abayomi, Purva Bhende, Simi Abidakun
Posted 19 Mar 2019 23:41

The Manchester Museum is a part of the University of Manchester and a place of research and study. It began with the humble collection of a local manufacturer and collector John Leigh Philips (1761-1814) whose 'cabinet' was recovered after his and set up as the Manchester Natural History Scoiety in 1821. The collection grew as members of the Society donated objects collected from around the world and by 1950 had absorbed the collections of the Manchester Geological Society. After its transfer to Owens College (which would later become the University of Manchester) in 1868, arcitect Alfred Waterhouse was brought in to design an exclusive museum building. Waterhouse also designed Manchester's Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London.The Manchester Museum as it is known now opened to the public in 1890 and as the collections grew, new buildings were added.
The collections have now grown to include over a million items across various categories while promoting research in the natural sciences. The Museum expanded again in 1977 and underwent further refurbishment in 2003.
'hello future' is the new £13 million project to transform and develop Manchester Museum to expand its collections and become more inclusive to various communities. EMP:ART will be a collaboration with the design team of this extension project in an attempt to address the concerns of people who are or have been homeless and find solutions to the same in the design process.
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Posted 13 Mar 2019 00:24

The key skills we aim to develop through EMP:ART are:

Collaboration and Interaction
Working together is crucial to any project, whether it is with members of the design team or the client or with the end-user in question. Through the two weeks, we will be interacting constantly with the members of the community we are representing to attempt to understand and realise their aspirations for this project.

Design Development
The development of a design from its conception to the final output will go through various stages of sketches, drawings and models. We encourage a variety of media to better explain the designs we are producing.

Successfully conveying ideas to an audience is of utmost importance and we will be presenting the different stages of our designs within the group to build communication skills before the final presentation to the client and collaborator.

The final output of the EMP:ART Event is a publication that will be a design guide for architects and an assessment tool for clients. Simplicity in language and readability of diagrams are crucial for such a document to reach a larger audience.
Posted 12 Mar 2019 23:33
// GUEST LECTURE_28th March 2019

Adam Ash from Plincke will join us on the 28th of March, Thursday to discuss the importance of engaging with those who are or have been homeless in the design of public spaces. Adam leads the Plincke's Manchester studio and has extensive experience of successful public realm masterplanning.He is passionate and experienced in community engagement and has gained a strong understanding of the management of client and stakeholder expectations and how sensitive site and landscape planning can contribute to improved communities.
Plincke is a firm comprising of professionals in the fields of landscape-architecture and urban-design, supported by a framework of specialist consultants in disciplines ranging from arboriculture, ecology, and landscape-conservation. They specialize in landscape design for educational and cultural asset projects. Their research in these fields resulted in the publication of the CABE design guides for schools and public spaces.
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Posted 9 Mar 2019 18:43

We are happy to confirm that we will be collaborating with Esme Ward and the Museum of Manchester for EMP:ART.
Esme Ward was appointed as Director of Manchester Museum in April 2018. She is the first woman to hold the role in its 125 year history. Prior to this, she was Head of Learning Engagement at Manchester Museum and the Whitworth, where she led the growth of audiences and programmes, to include award-winning early years, health and culture and age friendly work. For several years, she worked alongside Maria Balshaw on the £15 million transformation of the Whitworth. During the two week programme, we will be working with the Museum's design team on the extension of the existing building, the 'hello future' project, already underway.
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Posted 7 Mar 2019 20:00
// MEETING_4th February 2019

During the meeting with our collaborators, Laing O’Rourke and With One Voice, we outlined the expectations of the output of the EMP:ART Event. We were able to establish that we would design a strategic document which would recommend a range of sectors in regard to the integration of people who are or have been homeless in cultural arts spaces. The 2 week project focuses more on the rehabilitation process of these communities, identifying the barriers that they face and how to overcome them.
Excitingly, the document aims to be published in April, and will later be used to advise not only architects, but clients, contractors and planners about the issues related to homelessness and how to look for solutions to the same during the initial stages of the design process. In addition to this, possible case studies and site visits of live projects in Manchester were discussed as well as the opportunities towards a variety of external guests from different project sectors, such as architects, local communities of people who are or have been homeless to come in a provide workshops and talks for the students.
From L-R: Lauren Murphy, Reece Singleton, Matt Peacock, John Edwards, Celeste Abayomi, Simi Abidakun, Chelsea Bland, Olivia Marshall
Posted 4 Mar 2019 18:41

Matt Peacock, the director of "With One Voice", is one of the collaborators for EMP : ART, working towards creating cultural spaces and addressing hostile architecture for the homeless community. With One Voice started with a showcase event curated by Streetwise Opera at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, London. For the first time, a platform had been given to celebrate the artistic achievements of the performers who had experienced homelessness. Following this event, Streetwise conducted a study that revealed a desire to develop the arts and homelessness sector through the exchange of ideas across the world resulting in great impacts such as the growth of choirs of those who are or have been homeless in Rio, the Café Art calendar in Sao Paulo and policy impacts such as the inspiration of Brazil’s Homeless People’s Movement taking shape through Manchester’s Homelessness Charter. They have now launched this movement which will create more exchanges in arts and homelessness globally including future Olympic cities and other resources to help the sector grow and strengthen.
For more information visit their website at
Posted 23 Feb 2019 13:26
Atelier: PRAXXIS
Undergrad: Anna University
Experience: Eskay Design
Posted 28 Jan 2019 19:20
The session plan for the two weeks.

We are still working with our collaborators on bringing in more participants to interact with the students during this period to better influence the final output.
Posted 9 Jan 2019 17:21

An MSA and With One Voice collaboration.

The aim of this collaboration is to integrate people who are or have previously experienced homelessness into the cultural spaces that populate the city through the arts.
With one voice is an organisation that believes in giving a voice to the homeless community through this same medium. They organise exchanges between the arts, homeless organisations and policy makers across the world and support new initiatives and projects that are aimed towards similar goals.
The event will include design proposals for a variety of cultural sites in the city that will eventually contribute to the production of a downloadable design guide to improve such spaces.
Posted 9 Jan 2019 15:56
//SUMMIT_12th November 2019

The team attended the International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival, a conference between 12-18 Nov at The Whitworth; that delved into the themes of People, Practice, Policy, Performance and Partnerships in the context of arts and homelessness.
Posted 20 Dec 2018 18:12