Constellations of HOME
Funded by the Warwick Institute of Engagement, Constellations of HOME was a legacy project from Agency, a part of the HOME: Arts and Homelessness festival that took place as part of Coventry UK City of Culture 8 - 16 October 2021.
Agency was created by the socially engaged artist Anthony Luvera in collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness in Coventry: throughout 2021, Luvera invited participants to use disposable cameras to document their experiences and places in the city that were significant for them. Participants also used digital medium format camera equipment to produce a self-portrait for Luvera’s ongoing series Assisted Self-Portraits. After the Agency project concluded, participants continued to meet as the Agency Photography Group in creative workshops facilitated by Luvera along with Ben Davenport, arts worker with Coventry Crisis Skylight, as well as Arts and Social Science researchers Professor Nadine Holdsworth and Dr Jennifer Verson.
The Constellations of HOME exhibition (3 - 27 October 2022 at the University of Warwick) featured Agency self-portraits together with other photographs from personal, professional and community networks taken during the HOME festival and beyond, co-curated by participants. Members of the Agency Photography Group also reflected on their experience of the HOME festival and what it meant for them to have their creativity and their city valued and showcased. People who experience homelessness are often excluded, overly spoken for, or depicted in ways they have little control over. By inviting people who are or have been homeless to use photography and first-person narratives to represent themselves, this project sought to challenge preconceptions about homelessness and invite people to engage differently with those experiencing it.
"From a cup of coffee at Café One – a journey from homelessness to success. So proud to have been part of this project – changing the image of homelessness." - Bernie
"Very moving! Very powerful! Empowering and enlightening. My takeaway: 'You do not know what goes underneath'." - Somya
"A wonderful exhibition portraying people’s journey from homelessness to new beginnings. It is heart-warming to learn that people have enjoyed the photography project and it has given them a new platform of identity to feel valued in society and be recognised and engaged with society." - Exhibition visitor