A photography exhibition depicting urban life through the eyes of homeless people is now showing at Edge Hill University as the first stop on a planned national tour.

The Street View exhibition features 20 colour images depicting the photographer’s lives, providing an insight into the daily routines of the thousands of vulnerable people in the UK living in the same situation.

The photographers who contributed to the exhibition are clients of Sheffield’s Cathedral Archer Project, which works with the homeless and vulnerable in the city to help them find ways out of homelessness and exclusion.


The Street View images depict urban life as seen through the eyes of homeless people

Edge Hill University is hosting the exhibition as part of the 2016 Festival of Ideas. This year’s theme for the Festival is Imagining Better – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality.

Sheffield-based photographer Mark Harvey, a Cathedral Archer Project volunteer who worked on the project in partnership with higher education charity The Open College of the Arts, said these images give an insight into the contradictory nature of urban life.

“What we started to see when the Cathedral Archer Project clients came in every Monday to share their work were the completely differing views and experiences they have of day-to-day life in Sheffield.

“One person’s images would depict the city as a place of beauty, hope and family. Others showed the struggles of homeless life with scenes of ‘sleeping rough’, substance abuse and make-shift homes.

“Overwhelmingly, the photographers who contributed to the Street View project are excited to share their work and the meaning behind it with anyone who wants to listen,” Mark said.

Roy Bayfield, Chair of arts and culture at Edge Hill University said that when discussing themes for this year’s Festival of Ideas, supporting marginalised communities and addressing adversity was at the heart of what the University wanted to achieve.

“By hosting exhibitions like Street View and inviting the photographers to speak about their work, we’re hoping to shift the way people interact with marginalised communities, and show that, in partnership with community groups, the arts can be a positive force for change,” Mr Bayfield said.

“The Street View project saw the clients involved band together to create something they were proud of as a group, despite their challenging personal circumstances. We look forward to sharing these images and their stories with members of the North West community.”

This event is part of a wider programme of events taking place at Edge Hill over the coming months as part of the Festival of Ideas 2016, a diverse range of events exploring culture, health and society.

Government figures show that over 100,000 people in England applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance in 2014/15 and that on a single night in 2014, more than 2,500 people slept on the streets.

For further information on the Festival of Ideas programme, visit //www.edgehill.ac.uk/i4p/festival-of-ideas-2016/

To read more about the Street View project, visit the blog at http://streetviewuk.me/