Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Warwick
How can the arts be used to develop our understanding of the complexities of homelessness?
A collaboration with local homeless charity, the Coventry Cyrenians, we started this project by working in focus groups with people who had experience of homelessness. We translated our findings into a prototype board game, which we piloted with various community groups.
Our wider research around homelessness has fed into the development of an educational toolkit, designed to be used by teachers, youth groups and other voluntary organisations working with people aged 14+.
The toolkit offers information, discussion points and creative exercises to develop written, visual and drama-based responses to the topic.
The research itself was a positive experience for those who had experienced homelessness as it gave them an opportunity to share their stories.
We also found that the context of a board game offered an opportunity for players to address their preconceptions around homelessness, and created new ways for people to encounter an urgent social issue.
Our ultimate aim with this project is to contribute an enhanced culture of understanding and empathy around homelessness.
Download the Understanding Homelessness Toolkit here.
Visual Artist and Digital Designer
With over 20 years’ experience as a digital designer, Frances has turned her attention in recent years to developing her artistic practice. She blends traditional mediums with new technologies such as projection mapping and Bare Touch Board. Her work is also infused with community interaction, with a focus on promoting understanding and raising awareness of marginalised groups in society. This homeless research project very much aligns with her artistic practice and moral values.
For this collaboration Frances was working with Professor Nadine Holdsworth, who has done extensive research on homeless issues. Professor Holdsworth provided Frances with focus group research materials and many stories that really touched her heart. Their aim is to shed light on the complexities of homeless issues, on both a national and local level, and in a way that subverts stereotypes. Frances also contributed to the Homeless Monopoly Toolkit creation, by creating the cover design and the case study illustration.