Drawing Attention

Drawing Attention: Art with Homeless People
We are grateful to the Arts Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Arts Development department for funding this project in 2010/2011

Activities and outcomes in 2009/2010

Exploring different art forms
The project explores many different art forms which are selected in consultation with participants and introduced by a professional artist. Art forms include photography (which continues to be a key art form for the project as it is easily accessible and participants can take disposable cameras away to capture moments in their lives to develop into artworks and creative projects), animated short films, ceramic art, mosaics, and face masks and portrait busts.

The creative activities are inspired by objects and themes within the Museum’s collection, such as:
•    our important collection of British eighteenth-century portraits and portrait miniatures that informed the Talking Heads exhibition 2009;
•    the ceramic-ware produced for the Mapping Lives exhibition 2010 drew on the Museum’s extensive decorative arts collection; and
•    the banners shown at the Bath International Music Festival in 2009 looked at our collection of British seventeenth-century raised embroideries.
Using the collection whilst the main building is closed has proved challenging, as the group has worked from secondary sources. When we re-open the group will be able to work directly from objects on display in the Museum and have the opportunity to handle objects with the assistance of our curatorial tem.

Project growth
To expand the reach of the project in 2009/10 we have introduced ‘taster’ workshops at Julian House’s day centre. The sessions help to breakdown barriers of entry for new participants by engaging them in a familiar place and gave existing participants the opportunity to act as mentors to their peers. Following the sessions a number of new people started to attend the weekly sessions.

The project is now engaging with other services and organisations in Bath working with the homeless community.

Exhibitions and displays
Talking Heads, 19 – 24 January 2009 an exhibition at Bath’s central library of artworks created by the group focusing identity and self-portraits; visited by about 150 people.

All at Sea, 23 May 2009, an installation of banners hanging from Bath Abbey on the opening night of the Bath International Music Festival 2009; seen by about 10,000 people.

Mapping Lives, 28 March – 11 April 2010, an exhibition of ceramic art and a mosaic created in memory of Andy a Julian House and Shape Housing Association client who died in 2009; visited by about 250 people. Before being displayed permanent at Shape Housing Association’s site in Bath the mosaic was on display for a month in Bath Abbey (viewed by over 500 people). During the exhibition Andy’s family visited, it was very emotional but an important event for them to see how loved and missed he is.

Julian House Mosaic
, spring 2010, following the success of the commemorative mosaic created by the art group, a second mosaic was designed and created during the taster sessions at Julian House. This was first displayed in the church café above the night shelter, before going on permanent display in the night shelter. This was a significant opportunity for the users of the café to view the homeless people in a new positive light, as previously the two groups did not interact.

Animated Short Films, 10 – 20 November 2010, the animated short films created by the group in sessions over the summer were shown before main features at Bath Film Festival 2010; viewed by about 340 people. See the videos here>>

By committing to the project since January 2008 the project has achieved sustainable benefits for everyone involved.

For participants
•    The opportunity to learn new skills not normally available to them.
•    Gain mutual support from peers by being part of an identifiable group and allows them to refine their identity as being part of the art group rather than just being homeless.
•    Build their confidence, improve their social interaction and fill their time in a positive manner.
•    Share a sense of pride with their peers and wider community in achieving something they had not thought they could do.
•    Improve and take pride in the places they use and live by displaying their artworks.
•    Connect with their key workers on an equal level, sometimes helping their key workers to create art works.
•    Engage the wider community in their experiences through exhibitions, displays, media coverage and participation in public events.

For Julian House:
•    Providing one of its most successful and consistently well attended Meaningful Occupation activities for their clients.
•    Enabled key workers to form stronger relationships with clients outside of the normal shelter setting.
•    Helped to deliver their aim ‘change is possible’.

For the Holburne
•    Developing our social inclusion policy, which seeks to increase community and outreach work, and sustain involvement in the wider community.
•    Creating a separate project with vulnerable young people, working in partnership with three regional organisations supporting young offenders, young people excluded from school and young people facing challenging home lives.
•    Securing our first Arts Council grant.
•    Developing our relationship with the local authority’s arts development department.
•    Increasing the profile of the Holburne during closure and promoting the Museum’s aim to be for everyone.

The Holburne Museum, Bath (registered charity no. 310288) is one of the UK’s best-loved small museums and has the ambition to become one of Europe's outstanding independent art museums. In 2009 we embarked on the construction of an £11.2million development project to restore our Grade One listed building and construct an extension (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund). This project will transform every aspect of our activity. Founded in 1882 through the bequest of Sir William Holburne's fine and decorative art collection as Bath’s first art museum, the collection has since grown to over 9,000 objects. We have a nationally significant collection of paintings, Renaissance bronzes, maiolica, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain.

Julian House is the leading provider of services to single homeless men and women in Bath & North East Somerset. At its foundation Julian House was set up to try and offer direct support to some of the most marginalised people in society. Initially this was limited to offering a bed for night and some food. Over time other projects and services have been developed which not only address the symptoms of homelessness but also the underlying reasons why men and women are forced onto the streets. The work is often challenging and the staff work under considerable pressure but many positive outcomes are achieved.

Visit the Julian House website to find out more about their work

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  • Family pays tribute to artwork inspired by their son

    Andy's family visits the exhibition at the Library

  • Mosaic now displayed at Julian House
  • Mosiac, now on permanent display at the night shelter

  • Banner created for Bath International Music Festival

    Banner created for Bath International Music Festival