Tuesday, 10 May 2011

a map of you: postcards from the homeless

Homeless people in Manchester are writing themselves into the public eye, creating ‘customised’ tourist postcards of Manchester, in collaboration with arts organisation arthur+martha. The postcards are currently exhibited in Bury Transport Museum and can also be viewed at BBC Online website. Poems from the project will be shown on the BBC Big Screen in Manchester city centre and tweeted by advertising company LOVE.

a map of you postcards carry tiny stories, little snatches of homeless people's lives. In the white space between the buildings, the stories appear, some stencilled, some handwritten, some self-explanatory, funny, dour, elusive. The cards are designed to bring attention to a group in society who are often overlooked, but have much to offer.

L, a homeless person in Bury, said: 'People who suffer have knowledge.' The skin of these writers is thin; through it they feel the world intensely and report with great vividness.  

The arthur+martha experimental arts organization works with people who are often pushed to the margins of society - older people in hospital, excluded school pupils, children with special needs and many others. The Bury Text Festival pioneers unusual and radical use of language - in this case, helping homeless people find opportunities for self-expression. International poets Geof Huth (USA) Steve Gaisson and Derek Beaulieu (both from Canada) are involved in the project, leading sessions as guest artists and helping to edit work. 

a map of you has been supported by Arts Council England, Bury MBC and The Lowry - and is working in partnership with The Big Issue in the North, The Red Door Housing Concern Centre, Brighter Futures at Bury Adult Learning Service, The Booth Centre and LOVE Creative.


A slideshow featuring a map of you is at BBC online:  http://www.bbc.co.uk
A BBC Radio Manchester feature can be listened to at http://www.arthur-and-martha.co.uk/ The a map of you postcards are exhibited as part of the Bury Text Festival at Bury Transport Museum until 26 May 2011.

To read more about the project please visit http://arthur-and-martha.blogspot.com
To view more of the postcards, visit http://www.flickr.com/
For more information and to obtain free copies of limited edition concertina postcard packs of a map of you- contact project organiser Philip Davenport on 07951 233953 / philipjohndavenport@hotmail.com

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