@tweetfromengels Manchester, UK

Snapshots in text of homeless lives. Engels wrote about the harshness of 19 Century Manchester; people today who live a comparable existence are the homeless.

This project with homeless people in Manchester, UK is run by arthur+martha arts organisation in partnership with the Text Festival. Other partners were The Big Issue in the North, The Red Door (Bury Housing Concern),
Brighter Futures, The Booth Centre, The Lowry, LOVE Creative, the BBC. Poets and writers who’ve been involved include Steve Giasson, Geof Huth, copland smith, Anna MacGowan. Editors Philip Davenport and Rebecca Guest. The resulting long poem will be tweeted over the coming weeks.

Follow here.

arthur+martha: BLOOM

Via Philip Davenport:

The current arthur+martha project in Four Acre, St Helens has been short-listed for the national Bloom Awards. The Bloom Awards are for excellence and innovation in improving the quality of life, dignity and well-being of older people receiving care and support. We would really value your support. To register and to cast your vote on the various projects in the awards please follow this link http://lemosandcrane.co.uk/home/index.php?id=213425 and look for St Helen’s Council- Arts Service: Art of the Unexpected. Voting closes 24th June (5pm)

Poems about succumbing to temptation iced onto cakes, childhood memories painted onto plates, or poverty stitched onto tablecloths, bunting that questions etiquette, fading memories written on doilies, ‘sugar’ graffiti that evokes long gone childhoods, hardship and friendship. We have been invited older people in the an economically-deprived area to make a mix of poetry and art, celebrating their lives and visions. We’re trying to reach those who might not normally join in with art activities, by taking our workshops to the local Bingo night, housebound people’s homes, the doctors surgery, Tescos, a day centre for people diagnosed with dementia, a local library…

To read the latest about the project visit http://arthur-and-martha.blogspot.com/search/label/Four%20Acre%20St%20Helens

More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthur-and-martha/

Wave us Goodbye: today in Manchester at Screen at the Triangle

Poetry films on the BBC Big Screen in Manchester will commemorate the Holocaust, bringing together the memories of older Jewish people. 

The project, titled BRING LIGHT TOWARDS YOU, is one of many arts projects run by the arthur+martha arts organisation. In the build-up to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January, poetic texts created by the older people, most of whom are Holocaust survivors, will be displayed ‘in lights’ on the Screen at The Triangle in the city centre. These films will screen in ‘sets’ roughly every half an hour between other shows and run for a week.

The Holocaust has often been linked to trains: millions of people, particularly Jews, were taken to concentration camps by train before being killed in the notorious Nazi ‘Final Solution’ during the Second World War. These 30-second films give fragments from accounts of their journeys: to destruction and journeys of escape.  

Artist Lois Blackburn and poet Philip Davenport worked with older Jewish people living at The Morris Feinmann Home, Manchester, exploring issues related to the Holocaust. “To hear these stories has been a powerful, haunting experience,” said Davenport. “The poems are little pockets of emotion that bring alive one of the most notorious events in  recent history. It’s hard to imagine the reality of the Holocaust because it was so huge, so brutal. What these tiny moments of remembering do is connect to ordinary people’s experience.” 

Lois Blackburn added: “As in all our projects, we talked to people about the small details of their experience, because it is people’s everyday lives that collectively make history. It’s the sandwiches your mum made, or the look on your sister’s face as you said goodbye. The fact that we’ve been able to help people transform these memories into messages that will be seen my thousands is an extraordinary privilege.”

Maria Turner, Activities Co-ordinator at the Morris Feinmann Home, described arthur+martha’s work as: “Sensitive and caring.” 

Some of the pieces were shown on the electronic billboard in Piccadilly Railway Station on Holocaust Memorial Day 2009, but this is the first time that the whole sequence has been seen. arthur+martha have continued to develop the project in partnership with Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, working with young people with special needs, Roma children and many others.