In October our photography group were very lucky to be chosen to feature in the Off the Shelf festival at the Winter Gardens.
The exhibition in collaboration with Off the Shelf and the Open College of the Arts (OCA) offered often unfamiliar perspectives on Sheffield’s people, buildings, streets and open spaces. Our photography group worked with professional photographers Mark Harvey and Andrew Conroy to develop their own personal vision and take photographs which tell their stories.
Tim, our CEO spoke at the event and said:
'For 10 years I have been involved in CAP, and for 10 years I, and others, have been trying to tell a different story of street life from the one I frequently hear told by those who have never been homeless.
So often it is a purely negative, black and white story. A person begging is a story of poverty and sadness. A street drinker is a nuisance, 2 street drinkers are a threat. That may be true, but what about the rest of the story?
Alas, so much about homelessness and life on the streets remains invisible. Occasionally I see people I know from the project just wandering. Wandering around the city centre, wandering around the shops, waiting for time to pass, trying to stay warm and safe.
The problem with invisibility is we just don’t see it. Something remains hidden, voiceless, powerless. Perspectives, understanding, stories which might just change the way we see remain out of sight.
This exhibition needs to be shouted about because it’s important that we see the streets of our city through the eyes of others, and not with the dulled lenses of our assumptions.
Recently I spoke to a group about my love of gardening. I spoke about the joy and satisfaction of digging, of planting, of pruning; the unfathomable satisfaction a compost heap can bring.
At the end, a colleague I’ve worked with for a few years said, “Well who would have known. I’ll never look at you the same again!”. If this exhibition does the same then we’ll be a step closer to understanding people’s real experiences of homelessness.'
We would like to thank everyone involved with the exhibition and for the opportunity to showcase the talent from the project.