UMA SÓ VOZ – OCUPAÇÃO DE ARTE E POPULAÇÃO DE RUA

Nós queremos ser vistos através da arte.

Em 2012, pela primeira vez na história, a população de rua foi incluída na programação cultural de uma Olimpíada, com o projeto With One Voice (Uma só Voz), em Londres. Mais de 300 membros de ONGS locais se reuniram para celebrar a arte e a população de rua, em um dos espaços culturais mais importantes da Europa, a Royal Opera House. Após 3 anos de intercâmbio e capacitação entre Brasil e Inglaterra, o projeto Uma só Voz colhe frutos no Rio de Janeiro, como parte oficial da programação olímpica cultural Celebra Rio2016, fomentando o setor de arte e população de rua e resgatando a dignidade e auto-estima desta parcela da população através do poder transformador da arte.

De 18 a 26 de julho, uma delegação internacional vem ao Rio para o projeto e participar do lançamento inédito de uma Rede Internacional do setor em um evento na Biblioteca Parque, no dia 23 de julho. Além disso, serão inúmeras performances pop ups, encontros e workshops, que visam dar voz artística e social a pessoas geralmente invisíveis nas ruas da cidade.

Vários eventos são abertos ao público e queremos ver você lá! Confira o guia de eventos e participe!

Para mais informações e programação, acesse www.with-one-voice.comFacebook.com/umasovoz.withonevoice

Ricardo Vasconcellos with choir members in Rio (2). Photo by Lorena Mossa

UMA SÓ VOZ

Ocupação de Arte e População de Rua

Todos os eventos deste guia são gratuitos e abertos ao público interessado, com capacidade de lotação sujeita à ordem de chegada do público

 

TERÇA-FEIRA, 19 DE JULHO

CORAL – Das 13h às 13h30 Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 50 pessoas com experiência de rua. Local: Foyer do Museu do Amanhã

CORAL – Das 14.30h às 15h Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 50 pessoas com experiência de rua. Local: Biblioteca Parque

 

QUARTA-FEIRA, 20 DE JULHO

CORAL – Das 10h às 10.30h Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 50 pessoas com experiência de rua Local: Praça Agripino Grieco, Méier

WORKSHOP DE MÚSICA – Das 13h às 16h Treinamento para líderes de corais formados por população com experiência de rua com equipe da ONG Choir With No Name (Reino Unido). Local: Catedral do Rio de Janeiro

TEATRO – Das 14h às 17h Performance teatral dirigida pelo diretor Marcus Faustini, com trechos de depoimentos que abordam transexualidade e experiência de rua. Performance seguida de bate papo sobre processo de criação da performance e introdução às práticas teatrais das ONGs internacionais Cardboard Citzens (Reino Unido), TONYC (USA) e Milk Crate Theatre (Austrália). Local: Auditório da Biblioteca Parque

WORKSHOP DE MÚSICA – DAS 14h às 16h Fabricação de instrumentos musicais com equipe da ONG Som da Rua (Portugal), com a população de rua local e público interessado. Local: Catedral do Rio de Janeiro

CORAL – Das 17.30 às 18h Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 50 pessoas com experiência de rua. Local: Live Stage Olímpico – Madureira

 

QUINTA-FEIRA, 21 DE JULHO

SEMINÁRIO – Das 9.30h às 13.30h Painel internacional de apresentação das ONGs internacionais do setor de Arte e População de Rua do Japão, Portugal, Reino Unido, Estados Unidos e Austrália. Evento será seguido de performance de Teatro Verbatim com duração de 20 minutos, dirigida pelo diretor Marcus Faustini da Agêngia de Redes da Juventude. Local: Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro

CORAL – Das 14h às 14.30h Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 50 pessoas com experiência de rua. Local: Arcos da Lapa, Centro

 

SEXTA-FEIRA, 22 DE JULHO

WORKSHOP DE MÚSICA – Das 10h às 12h Workshop de fabricação de instrumentos musicais com equipe da ONG  Som da Rua (Portugal). Local: Praça Floriano, próximo a Estação Cinelândia

WORKSHOP DE DANÇA – Das 10h às 12h Workshop de dança para a população com experiência de rua, com equipe da ONG Sokerissa (Japão). Local: Praça Floriano, próximo a Estação Cinelândia

CORAL – Das 10.15h às 10.35h Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 50 pessoas com experiência de rua. Local: Escadarias do Theatro Municipal, Praça Floriano – Centro

WORKSHOP DE POESIA – Das 11h às 13h Workshop  de poesia voltada para a população de rua, com Kanayo Ueda, fundadora da ONG Cocoroom & University of the Arts (Japão). Local: Biblioteca Parque

WORKSHOP DE TEATRO – Das 11h às 14h Workshop de Teatro do Oprimido para a população com experiência de rua, com equipes das ONGs Theatre of the Opressed NYC (EUA), Cardboard Citzens (Reino Unido) e Milk Crate Theatre (Austrália). Local: Auditório da Biblioteca Parque Estadual

 

SÁBADO, 23 DE JULHO

CORAL – Das 10.15h às 10.45h Performance Pop up dos corais Uma só Voz, composto de 100 pessoas com experiência de rua. Local: Foyer do Museu do Amanhã

EVENTO UMA SÓ VOZ – Das 16h às 18h Celebração do projeto Uma só Voz 2016, com performances pop up locais e internacionais de corais, teatro, dança e música. O evento marca a entrega do projeto ao Japão, próximo país olímpico e o lançamento de um Movimento Internacional de Arte e População de Rua. Local: Teatro Alcione Araújo – Biblioteca Parque Estadual

 

Endereços dos eventos:

Museu do Amanhã – Praça Mauá, 1 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20081-262, Brazil

Biblioteca Parque Estadual – Av. Presidente Vargas, 1261 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20071-004

Arcos da Lapa – Praça Cardeal Câmara, s/nº, Largo da Lapa

Teatro Municipal – Praça Marechal Floriano, s/n
Cinelândia

Estação Cinelândia – Praça Floriano, S/N – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20031-050

Live Stage Olímpico Madureira –  Palco do Parque da Madureira – R. Parque Madureira, S/N – Madureira, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 21351-140

Catedral Rio de Janeiro – Rua Benjamin Constant, 23 – Glória, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 23060-730

Praça Agripino Grieco: Rua Dias da Cruz, Méier

Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro –

Av. Infante Dom Henrique 85 / Parque do Flamengo

 

Maiores informações pelo email ellie@with-one-voice.com.


With One Voice to be part of Rio 2016 Cultural Olympiad

For the third With One Voice exchange in Brazil (now widely known by its Portuguese name, Uma Só Voz), we are bringing a delegation of 17 practitioners, people with experience of homelessness and policy-makers from around the world to Rio in July 2016 as part of the Rio 2016 Cultural Olympiad. The week will include pop-up performances and workshops designed to increase the visibility of homeless people in Rio.as well as the launch of a new worldwide movement of arts and homelessness.

Read more on our Rio 2016 page.


Take part in our arts and homelessness movement consultation

Today we launch a consultation for the first ever international arts and homelessness movement

At Streetwise Opera we’ve been working internationally for over a decade, and since 2012 our With One Voice programme has begun to bring the international arts and homelessness community together through Cultural Olympiads.

Our work so far has included successful exchanges with Brazil and Japan (pictured above are Brazilian and UK delegates visiting the Booth Centre in Manchester). We’re now planning to develop this work into an international arts and homelessness movement, aimed at connecting and strengthening the sector, nurturing new projects and helping to shape policy.

We’re seeking vital input from organisations and individuals working (or wishing to work) in these fields, including people with experience of homelessness.

Click here to take part in the consultation and help shape the project

The consultation is open until Wednesday 25 May, and the new movement will launch officially in July at a special event as part of the Rio Cultural Olympiad.

This project is being supported by the Macquarie Group Foundation, British Council and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.


Café Art ‘My São Paulo’ Calendar

During our Brazil exchange in November 2015, Café Art piloted its award-winning calendar model – featuring images by homeless photographers – in São Paulo. Find out more about the calendar creation in this video.


Matt Peacock’s reflections from November 2015 Brazil exchange

Matt Peacock shares his reflections from the With One Voice November 2015 Brazil exchange:

  • The second of three arts and homelessness exchanges between UK and Brazil leading to Rio 2016
  • A delegation of 10 from London and Manchester travel to Rio and São Paulo
  • Highlights of the exchange included the delivery of a pilot of Café Art’s calendar in São Paulo (see a film of the pilot here); Choir with No Name training other choirs including Rio’s ASAB choir; Cardboard Citizens and Crisis Skylight working with counterparts in Brazil and a delegation from Manchester researching the Homeless People’s Movement in order to implement it in Manchester

In mid-November, a group of ten people from the UK travelled from Manchester and London to Brazil on the latest Streetwise Opera ‘With One Voice’ arts and homelessness exchange. Funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK and British Council Brazil and in partnership with brilliant folk of People’s Palace Projects. This was the middle of three exchanges between Brazil and UK over three years to share practice and help increase the capacity of arts and homelessness in both countries.

dogThe ten in the UK delegation were Dave Kelly, a volunteer and former service user of Manchester’s wonderful Booth Centre; Amanda Croome, the centre’s founder and director; Paul Conway, Homeless Link’s North West co-ordinator; Cllr Beth Knowles, a Manchester Labour councillor; Terry O’Leary, Associate Artist for Cardboard Citizens; Paul Ryan, Director of Café Art; Pete Churchill, Birmingham Choir Director of Choir with No Name; Paula Lonegan, Arts Manager of Crisis Skylight; Renata Peppl, Project Manager at People’s Palace Projects, the partner company who were helping to produce the exchange and me, Matt Peacock CEO of Streetwise Opera and co-ordinator of the charity’s international programme, With One Voice.

This exchange followed the first in April when we welcomed 14 Brazilians to London and Manchester. UK projects and politicians had been gob-smacked by the Homeless People’s Movement (represented by two members, Sebastião Nicomedes from São Paulo and Maralice dos Santos from Rio). The Movement had been established to create a mechanism to give homeless people a direct way of communicating with officials about legislation and their rights. This kind of structure of giving a voice to homeless people and a direct link to city councils simply doesn’t exist in the UK and hearing about it directly from Sebastião and Maralice has been one of the highlights of the whole project so far.

In turn, the Brazilians loved seeing the wealth of arts and homelessness projects such as Choir with No Name, Cardboard Citizens, Open Cinema, Café Art which are much greater in number and more established than in Brazil; and visiting centres with integrated arts programmes such as Booth Centre, Dellow Centre and Crisis Skylight.

homeless centreWe travelled to Brazil with some clear aims in mind and also preparing ourselves to soak up as many new experiences as possible. We arrived first in São Paulo and set about piloting the truly wonderful Café Art calendar (a project which the City Council in São Paulo were very keen to implement having seen it in London). The calendar is an annual project where homeless people are given disposable cameras and photography skills in order to take pictures around their city – the best 13 of which are used to make a calendar. The São Paulo pilot was done in double-quick time (made possible largely by the phenomenal PPP team) and went really well with a record 92 of the 100 Fuji-donated cameras returned. As I write this, the calendars have just returned from the printers in Brazil and they are something to behold! See the shortlisted photos here.

cartWe visited some incredible homelessness projects in São Paulo and Rio working in the most challenging areas. Highlights included OAF’s Viaduto Do Glicério in São Paulo – a semi-open-air day centre under a flyover offering a wide variety of activities for the street population visual arts and music; Casa Rodante, an arts project on a cart run by the Human Rights department of the City Council – an information hub and point of culture in the heart of the crack-users neighbourhood. As we have seen on many occasions in Brazil, it is often the officials we have worked with (Rafael da Silva and Fernanda Almeida in the São Paulo from the Human Rights Department and Rodrigo Abel and team from the Social Development department in Rio) who are organising and championing arts projects themselves – both activists and policy-makers at the same time. I have mentioned this in previous blogs, but it cannot be said enough that the attitude to the arts is very different in Brazil than the UK – it is seen to be a human right and an intrinsic part of social welfare. For the UK delegates, it was amazing to see politicians stand up and talk about the importance of the arts. I would dearly love to take UK’s politicians to Brazil to witness this for themselves!

Rio Alcolhedor homeless centre display saying 'art is in everyone'Those who have read those previous blogs will also know that there are big differences in homelessness provision in Brazil from the UK. There are many more people on the streets in Brazil and the climate and the benefits system both play a part. It is significant that it is warm in Rio (and for the most part in São Paulo) all year round and there is therefore less urgency to get people into building-based support. That, together with the lack of benefits system means that informal economy on the streets is very much encouraged; without the safety net of the benefits system, people have to make money somehow, and the only option for many is to live on the streets and sell what they can. This is why a lot of the work of the City Councils is to support people and tell them what their rights are while they are on the streets – which is what projects like Casa Rodante aim to do. There are fewer homeless centres in total and it was particularly noticeable in this exchange that the state-run centres are going through a process that is similar to the Places for Change programme that happened in the UK a few years ago: centres are becoming more welcoming places to be with fewer people to each room, more activities and facilities. In Rio places like Plinio Marcus and Rio Acolhedor (pictured – the sign says ‘There is art in all of us’) were good examples of shifts in provision in the state-run sector.

choirOf the independent-run centres of which there are many, ASAB in Betania had the most impact on the group. We’ve known this centre on the outskirts of Rio from the very start of the project when we did our research back in 2012. It is essentially a recovery homeless centre with accommodation, incredible facilities (including a professional-standard dental unit) and a social enterprise art programme and a choir. Choir director Ricardo Vasconcelos came to the UK in the April exchange and since then has been training other choral leaders in Rio.

Pete Churchill from Choir with No Name spend a few days with him on this exchange and his other fellow choir directors and the excitement about the expansion of homeless choirs in Rio is palpable! They can’t wait to take part in the celebrations around Rio 2016 and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the Cultural Olympiad will confirm a With One Voice event for homeless people as London did in 2012.

The week went by so quickly and was packed with so many experiences too numerous to mention in a blog – other highlights included the workshops delivered by Terry O’Leary from Cardboard Citizen to a large number of organisations and projects; Paula Lonegan from Crisis Skylight helping homeless centres with their arts programmes and strategies and both city councils in Rio and São Paulo organising arts and homelessness seminars (the first in either city) which demonstrated their commitment for this sector to grow.

groupAlso, the meetings we had with the Homeless People’s Movement (pictured here with the whole delegation) were incredibly powerful and the Manchester delegation left buzzing about the possibilities of introducing a similar project in Manchester. We came away with more ideas, knowledge about the methodology of the Movement and the process of how the relationship works with the officials (which, according to all parties, has improved in Rio as a direct result of With One Voice). It is exciting to think that the Manchester delegation may be able to implement a version of the Movement in the UK (they are already making headway with the Homeless Charter in Manchester). This may have huge implications for homelessness policy in the UK, giving homeless people a more powerful voice. For it to come out of an arts project is a wonderful demonstration of the power and potential of the arts to make real change in the world.

During the exchange and for many weeks before hand and afterwards, our partners at People’s Palace Projects in Rio and London moved mountains to make the project as successful as possible. A special shout-out for Renata Peppl and Jan Onozsko who kept pulling the proverbial rabbits out of hats! Any success the With One Voice project delivers will be thanks in part to them.

daveAnd finally… all the way through the trip and at every stop, Dave Kelly gave artistic gifts to centre managers and homeless people. He had brought a number of pieces of artwork created by the art group at the Booth Centre – origami mobiles, a banner and a huge tapestry – and these were given as gifts wherever we went. It was a poignant and beautiful reminder that ultimately it is art that is bringing us all together from thousands of miles apart – our collective belief that art is what makes us human; that art can restore dignity, remind people that they have an identity that isn’t just about their problems and challenges and that art can help build bridges of understanding throughout the world.


Pete Churchill’s inspirations from November 2015 Brazil exchange

Pete Churchill, Birmingham Choir Director for The Choir With No Name (CWNN), reflects on our recent exchange visit to Rio and São Paulo:

I very nearly didn’t make it to Brazil. I didn’t know any of the others who were going, and met up with a couple of them for the first time at Heathrow. We had loads of time so went for a coffee and a chat. None of us was timekeeping but to our horror we suddenly noticed ‘Gate closing’ on the display for our flight! Our three names were called over the tannoy and a panic stricken dash up escalators, along corridors and onto a shuttle link ensued. Luckily they held the plane door open until we arrived. I was the last on and greeted by a tight lipped steward: ‘You must be Mr Churchill’.

From such inauspicious beginnings the week blossomed into an amazing experience, packed full with projects visited, workshops run, friendships forged and Brazilian food sampled!

‘People are made to shine’

We were a group of nine Brits – each representing an organisation that uses the arts in its work within the homelessness sector. Theatre, opera, visual arts, photography and music were all represented and we were keen to find out what goes on in Brazil as well as share our own experience of what we’ve found works in the UK.

The many impressions I got of the country will take a while to process, but one overall thing that struck me was how strong a belief there is in the power of the arts in Brazilian culture. We started the week in São Paulo and the city, which dwarfs London (population 11.5 million, rough sleepers approx. 18,000), is like a permanent public art gallery. Every available wall and surface is covered in the most colourful and imaginative street art (with the full blessing of the city council).

Projects we visited also displayed great belief in the power of art and creativity as an essential part of life. For example, we visited a community project based under a flyover – an area which is home to many rough sleepers. The community centre has made its own radio station, decorated its walls and has kitchen and shower areas. It also has a full programme of activities each week ranging from literacy classes to art and music sessions.

Another interesting project that used creative activities was one based in an area of São Paulo informally known as Cracolandia. This is an area of the city where crack addicts congregate and in which the forward looking city council has spearheaded a project where employees ride around on bicycles fully equipped for various activities and encourage the ‘people of the streets’  to get involved in producing something for the area. For example, one of the bicycles is equipped as a mobile gardening unit and gets groups of people together to plant vegetables and foliage in small areas of green in the city. Another bicycle produces a street newspaper with articles written by local people which is pasted on city walls in large type.

After the first couple of days we moved on to Rio de Janeiro, where much of my work was centred at the ‘Associação Solidários Amigos da Betânia’ – a hostel for 50 men who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Ricardo was my link there, a highly charismatic and wonderfully sunny person. He had been to England as part of the Brazilian delegation in April and was the guy who started up a choir based at the hostel. It was a privilege for me to lead a day of music making with this choir.

I was amazed by their enthusiasm and passion for music. These guys learn songs by heart really quickly – even songs in another language. By the end of the day they had five new songs with harmonies, percussion and clapping rhythms. I was also asked to lead a seminar on another day at Betânia. This was about the benefits of singing, and was for invited representatives from organisations linked to homelessness. The idea was to inspire them to think about starting choirs within their own organisations. As part of this I showed them some interviews (translated into Portuguese) with CWNN choir members talking about how being in a choir had had a really positive effect on them. About thirty people came to the seminar, and they all got totally absorbed in the issue.

My intention was to ‘sell them’ the power of singing and how it could benefit the people they were working with. These people weren’t necessarily musicians or singers, but as part of the day’s programme I wanted to get them singing themselves so they could experience what it was like to be in a choir. They were totally up for it with no inhibitions whatsoever. I can’t help feeling that with a similar group of professionals in Britain, there would have been a lot more nervousness and fear of looking silly!

In fact, I got the general impression that within Brazilian culture singing is a natural part of life. It’s not something that only ‘proper’ singers do – absolutely everyone sings (and dances!) with a naturalness and ease that is sometimes sadly lacking in our culture (though not of course in CWNN choirs!). When I was there I stressed the point to those who were thinking about it, that to set up a choir within that society would be in many respects easier than doing so in the UK. You would have a head start because it’s accepted that everyone loves to sing – you don’t have to win them over.

The week was drawing to a close and on the final working day the nine of us from the UK took part in a day-long conference held at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio. The conference helped to give an overview of how the voice of street people (‘homeless’ isn’t a term they use in Brazil) is heard through the arts – both in Rio and in Britain. We all gave a short presentation about the UK organisations we represented.

On the final day we got a bit of time off to do some sight-seeing, and of course you couldn’t really go to Rio without going to visit the iconic ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue which looks over the city from a steep sided mountain. We also visited an inspiring theatre project working with poorer inhabitants of one of the many favelas that spill up the hillsides.

I’d spent a week on the other side of the world with a group of people from the UK I’d never met before, in a country I’d never been to before, experiencing a different way of life, sharing experiences from the UK and witnessing what a powerfully universal language music is. It’s been a real privilege for me and I hope the connection between the With One Voice UK consortium and our sister organisations in Brazil continues for many years to come.

View Pete’s photos and videos from the exchange on The Choir With No Name’s website.


With One Voice update: knowledge exchange and mutual learning with Brazil

By Matt Peacock, CEO, Streetwise Opera

When you work in the arts in the UK, it seems as though you are forever defending your cause. Even in the social welfare arena, the opportunity to sing, paint, act, write and dance can be seen as a luxury, despite the arts having long been able to demonstrate measurable impacts in building well-being, and increasing social inclusion, regeneration and conflict resolution.

When we embarked on our work in Brazil in 2013 we therefore did so with a certain amount of trepidation – how would the arts be received in a country with much more visible poverty and far greater numbers of homeless people?

The homeless situation in Brazil

Matt Peacock visiting Brazil in January 2015
Matt Peacock visiting Brazil in January 2015

In Brazil, there are hundreds of thousands of people living in the ‘informal’ accommodation of favelas in many cities, and thousands of people living on the streets. (The official government street count is 11,000 in Rio and 18,000 in São Paulo but the real figures are likely to be higher). And the number of people affected is only the start of the differences – climate, economy and the lack of social housing result in people living on the streets for many years, sometimes a lifetime. For many people, the street is their home and therefore the word ‘homelessness’ is translated instead as ‘people of the street’. Rodrigo Abel, Head of Homelessness for Rio Prefeitura (City Council) says that his work is focused on improving the situation of people on the streets in terms of quality of life and healthcare, rather than trying to secure housing for them. Meanwhile Rafael da Silva and Fernanda Almeida from the São Paulo Prefeitura are supporting homeless people from the Human Rights Directorate since homelessness is identified as a human rights issue.

The value of the arts in Brazil and the UK

There is a deep understanding in Brazil that art and creativity can be an agent for social change, and this belief is shared by people from every stratum of society (demonstrated by the senior officials in non-arts council departments engaging in this arts project). The arts have helped to regenerate the favelas although the use of the arts for street people is less developed. But despite the cultural understanding that the arts are a good thing, there is very little public funding for the arts relative to the UK, and fewer private sources from trusts and foundations.

In the UK, there is almost an exact opposite situation – funding is available from public and private sources, a fact that has seen the growth of the radical arts movement, and the UK boasts by far the greatest number of social welfare projects that use the arts (around 30 recognised organisations/projects have emerged over the last 15 years). But at the same time, the arts are not held with the same value by the public or by officials. It is as if the UK believes that the arts are an add-on rather than fundamental to society.

The With One Voice Brazil project

Delegates visiting the Booth Centre in April 2015. Photo: Matt Priestley
Delegates visiting the Booth Centre in April 2015. Photo: Matt Priestley

Over the last two years, we have been working in Brazil with the arts and homelessness sector leading up to (and beyond) the Rio 2016 Olympics. This project follows on from the With One Voice project we ran during London 2012, featuring a showcase of artistic achievement by 300 musicians, actors, filmmakers and rappers who had experience of homelessness. Collaborating with the brilliant People’s Palace Projects, we wrote a joint research paper about the need for a With One Voice project in Brazil. Wherever we went, we met officials, homeless centre staff in the statutory and not-for-profit sector, artists and countless people for whom the street is their home, who all passionately support the use of the arts. The same comment came up time and again: the arts are vital because they restore dignity.

The project we have set up together with the Brazilians focuses on building the capacity of the arts and homelessness sector in Rio and São Paulo and strengthening networks. In order to achieve this, we have been organising exchanges with groups from the UK during 2015 and 2016.

April Exchange (London and Manchester)

In April, a group of 14 people from the arts and homelessness sector in Brazil travelled to London and Manchester. The word ‘inspirational’ is overused, but this delegation had a very quick impact on everyone they met. They included Adilson Pires, Deputy Mayor of Rio; Rodrigo Abel and Allan Borges from the homelessness directorate of Rio City Council; Fernanda Almeida and Rafael da Silva of São Paulo City Councils; Ricardo Vasconcellos, a choir director from a Rio homeless hostel; Helder de Oliviera, an artist who had created sculptures of homeless people in São Paulo in a project called ‘I Exist’; Junior Perim, of social circus Crescer e Viver; Rodolfo Vazquez of Os Satyros Theatre Company, São Paulo; Juliana Cavalcanti of OAF homeless centre in São Paulo; and Sebastião Nicomedes and Maralice dos Santos, representatives of the Homeless People’s Movement in the two cities. The Homeless People’s Movement is a Brazilian system where homeless people are given a legal framework to speak to officials in each state. It is led and organised by homeless people and annually all the movements meet to discuss homeless policy and their rights.

A performance by Choir With No Name. Photo: Asa Westerlund
A performance by Choir With No Name at City Hall, April 2015. Photo: Asa Westerlund

The delegation met with a number of organisations in London and Manchester and saw a great deal of artistic work including Choir with No Name, Streetwise Opera, Cardboard Citizens, Open Cinema, Crisis Skylight, Café Art and the Booth Centre. They visited homeless centres such as the Dellow Centre and the Passage, and spoke with officials from the Greater London Authority (including the Deputy Mayors of Housing and Policing/Crime) and Manchester City Council.

The energy and passion of the delegation created the seeds of many connections and possibilities that are already flowering in both countries. In Brazil, the arts sector is growing and strengthening – Ricardo the choir director has been starting other choirs in Rio and the City Council is commissioning him to found more, and São Paulo Prefeitura wants to implement the brilliant Café Art model. In the UK, the impact of the projects, the engagement of the officials, and the learning about the Homeless People’s Movement has been significant.

November Exchange (São Paulo and Rio)

This all sets up the next exchange in November perfectly, where we will take a group from the UK to Rio and São Paulo for a week. The group includes Pete Churchill from Choir with No Name; Terry O’Leary of Cardboard Citizens; Paula Lonegan of Crisis Skylight; Paul Ryan of Café Art; and a group from the homeless sector in Manchester, including Amanda Croome, the director of the Booth Centre (a homeless day centre), Beth Knowles, a Labour councillor involved in homelessness, Paul Connery, North West Coordinator for Homeless Link, and a member of the Manchester homeless community. They hope to pilot the Homeless People’s Movement in Manchester which could have significant ramifications for homelessness policy in the UK. We will also discuss with our Brazilian partners what kind of a presence they would like during the Olympic celebrations in 2016.

We are grateful to British Council Brazil and Transform, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Arts Council England for creating the opportunity for this project to exist. The project is already showing that the use of the arts is important in the support of people who have experienced homelessness. As we work together across different countries, we can nurture and strengthen more projects so that ultimately more and more homeless people can benefit from the arts through building well-being, restoring dignity and promoting positive attitudes and understanding.


Photos from the With One Voice UK-Brazil Exchange

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Photo: Åsa Westerlund

There are now more than 100 photos of the With One Voice UK-Brazil Exchange in April 2015 on our Flickr page. Photos are taken at the Booth Centre in Manchester and the City Hall in London. We hope you enjoy them!


Brazilian visit to the Booth Centre

BCB-103The Booth Centre was delighted to welcome the visitors from Brazil.

Dave and Geoff from the Centre gave them a tour and got into great discussions about their experiences. They particularly enjoyed talking to the two people from the Homeless People’s Movement and comparing experiences.  Dave overcame language barriers by picking up a guitar and having an impromptu jamming session in the garden. They were keen to have their photos taken with the statues of homeless people and to talk to the artist who had created them.  At the end of the day they exchanged gifts of art work and really felt like they had made friends.

They are now busy making a piece of art work to display in the centre to remember the day which will incorporate the decorated spay can they were given as well as photographs. We are having discussions about how we could do some art work that mirrors or links with what is happening in Brazil. Could we make similar statues and how would we want to put a Manchester slant on it, to make them relevant to our experiences here?

Alex Delap from Manchester City Council found the exchange very interesting – in some ways it put the problems we face in Manchester into perspective. Did they really say they had a head count of 5,000 people in Rio? Both Alex and Cllr Beth Knowles were interested in the Homeless People’s Movement that they have in Brazil and as thinking that we need something similar here, so that policy makers can hear the voice of homeless people.

In Brazil homelessness seems much closer linked to the human rights agenda, which is something different and very interesting. I think if we were to apply this here we would want to be promoting the human right everyone should have to have a home, rather than the right to be able to sleep rough however, I think it’s something we can real learn from.

The stories of the two formerly homeless people were very moving, with such strong similarities to what people face in the UK. There were lots of tears shed during the day.

It was a really inspirational day – thank you to Streetwise Opera and People’s Palace Projects for organising the exchange and the interpreters and of course to all the Brazilians who travelled such a long way to see us.

By Amanda Croome, CEO, Booth Centre


Two days to go! Matt Peacock’s update on the project

20140829 Photo: Åsa WesterlundIn only two days we welcome a delegation from Brazil to the UK for a week sharing ideas and practice about arts and homelessness. Streetwise and People’s Palace Projects (as well as our key partners in the UK for the exchange, the Booth Centre in Manchester, Café Art, Cardboard Citizens, Choir with No Name, Crisis Skylight and Open Cinema) are all very excited and working round the clock to make all the arrangements happen!

The project has been in the planning for over 2 years – shortly after the ‘With One Voice’ event at the Royal Opera House during London 2012 we started talking to the Gulbenkian Foundation, British Council and People’s Palace Projects about whether a similar event should happen at Rio 2016. We knew nothing about arts and homelessness in Brazil but we had the perfect partner in Paul Heritage and PPP who specialise in participatory projects and a particular focus on strengthening cultural links between Brazil and the UK.

Paul and I started a research project (with the help of countless officials, activists, artists, homeless people and academics) which resulted in the paper here which includes a picture of arts and homelessness (and homelessness in general) in Brazil.

Feasibility Study Report for an arts and homelessness GB-Brazil Exchange Programme April 2014

The study helped us demonstrated that there was an interest in giving homeless people visibility during Rio 2016 in a similar way to the With One Voice project in 2012 but more pressingly there was a universal interest in capacity building and building a network of arts and homelessness. Brazil boasts some of the most respected and successful arts and social projects in the world, mostly emerging from work in the favelas, but arts and homelessness projects are much fewer.

We decided to respond to this by creating an exchange for Brazilian policy makers, artists, charity workers and homeless people to come to the UK to study practice here and share ideas. At the same time, we are looking forward to 2016 and committed to help the projects we have met stage an event in the way they want to present it and with the right kind of legacy afterwards.

I am very excited about sharing the brilliant work of our Brazilian friends with the UK – projects like Helder de Oliveira’s ‘I Exist’ project in São Paulo where he worked with homeless people to make sculptures of themselves which were distributed around the city; the Homeless People’s Movement which has groups all over Brazil which lobby the government on their rights; the wonderful choir at the ASAB centre; Junior Perim’s social circus, Crescer e Viver and the policy-led arts initiatives being driven by the city councils in Rio and São Paulo.

At the same time, I know the delegation will be blown away by the amazing work of projects in the UK – they will see the Booth Centre in Manchester which probably the UK’s most integrated arts programme in a day centre; a talk by Open Cinema; a visit to Crisis Skylight’s fabulous centre which runs activities and classes and courses throughout the day; a walking tour of cafes in the East End of London which display art created by homeless people curated by Café Art where the artists and buyers of the paintings can meet; a forum and member-led discussion at Cardboard Citizens and a rip-roaring sing-a-long with Choir with No Name who will be singing ‘Girl from Ipanema’ taught by Ricardo from the ASAB choir at an event at City Hall.

 

We are also staging an exhibition of works of art by Brazilian and UK artists who have experienced homelessness at Phoenix Blend Café on Bell Lane, London E1 form (20 April 1 May). This will include one of Helder’s ‘I Exist’ sculptures.

And to top it all we have two events gathering the arts and homeless sector in Manchester at the Booth Centre and London at City Hall where, in total, over 200 officials, funders, artists, projects and people who have experienced homelessness will discuss why the arts matter in the homeless field.

There are so many people to thank for making this exchange possible – the funders at Gulbenkian Foundation, British Council and Arts Council, the arts partners from the UK, Brazil delegates, the GLA, Champollion PR and everyone at Streetwise Opera. In particular, the team at People’s Palace Projects who have worked tirelessly to make this such an exciting moment where the arts and homeless communities in the UK and Brazil link hands.