Arts project celebrates the transformative powers of creative opportunities

Friday, 11 April 2014 - 12:00am

A report launched today by umbrella body Homeless Link celebrates the value of creative activities for people who are homeless and makes the case for continued investment in arts projects. 

Photograph: Kara Harms (Flickr)

Get Creative: Art for All evidences the benefits of engaging this vulnerable group in creative activity, and the positive impact this has on people’s lives, through in-depth case studies and testimonials. The paper makes a number of recommendations for commissioners, arts and cultural institutions and homelessness services, including:

  • Thinking innovatively about ways to inspire change and move away from traditional methods of support
  • Reducing levels of exclusion from mainstream arts experienced by homeless people
  • Engaging artists and creative organisations with homelessness services to offer high quality projects

Homeless Link has been running the Get Creative: Arts for All project since 2011 with the aim of building stronger links between the homelessness and arts sectors. In this time the charity has worked with national homeless arts organisation Streetwise Opera to support more than 60 organisations to increase their capacity to deliver projects in photography, drama, music, dance and visual arts.

The report is being officially launched at Backstage? Me?, a national event at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, exploring innovative approaches to homelessness and arts participation.        

Laura McCullagh, who leads Homeless Link’s Get Creative: Arts for All project, commented:

“Through Homeless Link’s work in this area, I have seen first-hand how engaging in the arts can change lives. Homeless people often face severe public exclusion, but creative activities provide a powerful platform to contribute to society and tell their stories.

“Get Creative: Arts for All is a culmination of all the fantastic work being done throughout England and shows clear benefits for individuals, organisations and society as a whole. It is vital that these and other projects can continue, so we hope the recommendations go some way towards securing funding for their future.”

Ben Turner, Royal Exchange Theatre Community Programme Leader, said:

“After working with people who have had experience of homelessness for the past five years, we have clear evidence to demonstrate transformative effects that creative practice can have on people’s lives. Our partnership with Manchester’s Booth Centre has seen almost 160 participants enjoy theatre and creative projects, leading many to secure more stable accommodation, gain employment and acquire performance-based qualifications.

The recommendations made by ‘Get Creative’ echo our experiences and understanding of how the arts and creative projects can help those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, to pursue positive personal changes.”

Download the Get Creative: Arts for All paper below to find out more about the project and our reccommendations.

Get Creative: arts for all - position paper

Drawing on research and good practice gathered as part of our arts project, Get Creative: Arts for All, this short briefing presents and celebrates the value of creative and cultural activities for people who become homeless.


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Stephen Holland

Stephen served as our Communications Officer until January 2016.