GEM graduates turn spotlight on the ‘art of homelessness’ | News

Sadeh Lok

GEM graduates turn spotlight on the ‘art of homelessness’

Art-of-Homelessness exhibition poster by David Tovey

A unique three-day celebration of the GEM Programme - an internationally recognised development programme for the next generation of social housing leaders - is taking place in October in Saltaire, West Yorkshire.

‘The Art of Homelessness’ event will explore issues relating to homelessness and housing in the compelling setting of an art installation and exhibition at Salts Mill in Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The focus of the exhibition and installation  (19 -21 October) will be a collection of typically uncompromising work by renowned artist David Tovey, who has exhibited at such prestigious venues as Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool. David, patron of the GEM programme, is a former homeless ex-serviceman. Tovey’s exhibition will include his haunting installations A Soldier’s Story and Shelter, plus a selection of portraits from his Faces of the Abused series.

The event’s first day (Friday, 19 October 2018) will see the GEMs from cohort 10 of the award winning graduate programme showcasing their work on homelessness over the last twelve months.

Tovey will speak to the group to curate his works alongside ‘I, Daniel Blake’ actor Dave Johns, who starred in Ken Loach’s Palme d’or award winning film about the gritty experiences of an individual living on welfare benefits.

Also appearing will be The Choir With No Name, a Liverpool choral group of homeless people who sing everything from rock and pop to gospel and reggae.

The exhibition will also be open to the public for two days (20-21st October) where David Tovey will be available to discuss his work.

The GEM programme is a 12 month intensive learning programme run by the Centre for Partnership, part of Incommunities Group, which since 2009 has seen 233 GEMs secure prestigious jobs, mainly in the housing sector.

The latest GEM recruits come from housing, construction and public bodies across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Canada!

The graduates have been exploring homelessness in the UK as part of their journey on the GEM programme. In response to David Tovey’s call to action the GEMs have been playing their part through a range of interventions. 

Incommunities Housing Group Chief Executive and GEM Programme Chair Geraldine Howley says: "The Art Of Homelessness event and exhibition aims to highlight this growing national crisis and aims to capture the passion and energy our GEMs can bring to the housing sector.

"These young leaders of tomorrow have a key role to play in embracing this issue and identifying sustainable solutions.

"The Saltaire event will not only offer a unique experience for our GEM graduates but will hopefully, through the power of creativity, highlight the issue and perceptions of homelessness to a far wider audience and highlight how good housing can really change peoples’ lives."

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