Listening to the Unheard, a day of presentations and discussions at First Base Day Centre, will explore how much we know about the experience of rough sleepers and of Travellers in Brighton & Hove.
The event, which is supported by Brighton Dome and other partners, takes as its starting point first-hand accounts of rough sleepers and Irish Travellers, as published in collections of interviews carried out by writer and volunteer Philip Morgan and researcher Dr Roberta Piazza.
Contributing to the conversation will be front line support workers, policy makers and researchers, including participants from Brighton & Hove City Council; Brighton Housing Trust; Friends, Family and Travellers; the Mass Observation Archive and more.
Living in Brighton and being aware of the homeless community, Philip Morgan has volunteered at First Base for a number of years, and it is out of his volunteering there that the Listening to the Unheard project has grown. Morgan argues that “living amongst us are whole nations of dispossessed whose needs and rights are ridden over in the interests of the majority”, and Listening to the Unheard will discuss what can be done for Travellers and rough sleepers, and how local authorities can collaborate to improve resources in existence. The event is free to attend, but tickets must be booked in advance at brightondome.org due to limited capacity at First Base Day Centre. (Sat 30 Jun, 10am - 5pm)
Dr Roberta Piazza (Reader in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sussex) has been visiting the Travellers site at Horsdean since 2012, and the resulting interviews have included stories of eviction, rejection, and a desire for a comfortable space to park a caravan and have access to basic facilities. Morgan and Piazza are colleagues and friends, leading to them working together on Listening to the Unheard, offering the forum for discussions and information about the two communities of Travellers and rough sleepers.
Listening to the Unheard will feature a presentation from the artists behind The Homeless Library, a unique collection of books handmade by homeless people in Greater Manchester, reflecting on their lives and connection to the previously unwritten heritage of rough sleepers (1.45pm). The Homeless Library, curated by athur+martha, will also be on display in the Brighton Dome Café-bar during opening hours throughout Tue 3 Jul to Sun 22 Jul.
arthur+martha co-director Philip Davenport explains:
“There are books and books filled with different people’s experiences and you will not find homeless people’s experiences among them. So we thought we’ll take all those books and we’ll put these people’s stories in them instead, but we won’t do it, they will do it.”
arthur+martha co-director Lois Blackburn says:
“Society at large portrays homeless people and people with addiction in a very one dimensional way. What we get to see with [The Homeless Library] is human beings, and every one with a different story.”
Dr Roberta Piazza and Philip Morgan’s work so far has resulted in two upcoming books, Irish Travellers: The unknown residents of Horsdean and Housed and Unhoused: Two worlds. These are both available to read online before the event via Issuu at https://issuu.com/listeningtotheunheard/docs/irish_travellers_issuuaw and https://issuu.com/listeningtotheunheard/docs/housed_and_unhoused__issuuaw.
Listening to the Unheard is supported by Brighton Dome, the University of Sussex Research Impact Fund and Higher Education Innovation Funding, Brighton Housing Trust and Fabrica,
Listening to the Unheard, Sat 30 Jun, 10am - 5pm, FREE but ticketed, please book at brightondome.org, First Base Day Centre, St Stephen’s Hall, Montpelier Place, Brighton, BN1 3BF
The Homeless Library, Brighton Dome Café-bar, Tue 3 Jul - Sun 22 Jul 2018, During Cafe-bar opening hours