What to expect from HOME: Arts & Homelessness Festival


Hi, I’m Hayley and I am a member of the HOME festival steering group. The steering group comes together regularly to decide what the HOME festival will look like. And my have we been busy. There is so much to look forward to…

There are many exciting events taking place throughout the week of the festival. These events will feature the work of people with lived experiences of homelessness. There’ll be an art exhibition showcasing the work of local artists, including my own work. There’ll be an open mic night featuring poetry, spoken word, and music. There’ll be films and documentaries to watch. There’ll be a creative hub where lots of activities will take place. Outside the creative hub, there’ll be more activities, including an interactive life-size game of Homeless Monopoly, which will help people learn about the many routes into homelessness, the issues faced by those who find themselves in this position, and some of the support available in the city. There’ll be a family day, too, so everyone, old and young, can come along and take part. Arts and Homelessness International are producing a three-day summit of talks around the theme of homelessness. There is all this, and a few surprises too, so make sure you keep up to date with all the latest news and updates.

I’m especially pleased to let you know that we will also be exhibiting the international ‘Send a Smile’ postcard project. This project came about as a response to send a creative activity to those experiencing deep isolation in hotels and hostels during the lockdown. Homeless people were put up in hotels and hostels to keep them safe but most of them had no access to the outside world as they didn’t have smartphones or laptops. Beth, who I work with at Underground Lights Community Theatre, and I came up with the idea of sending blank postcards to be decorated with words or images of things that made the recipients smile during lockdown. Our hope was that thinking about smiling would bring joy to those taking part and bring some relief from the struggle of being isolated. The project was a great success and ended up being delivered to homeless communities all around the globe. I have seen all the postcards and they are beautiful. To have them all exhibited together here in Coventry makes me feel really proud, and I know you will enjoy seeing them too, so do check them out if you can.

As well as deciding how the festival looks, steering group members also have had the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. We have chosen specific parts of the festival that we would like to work on. I’m working on the postcard project, of course, but I am also helping curate the art exhibition. I’ve never done anything like this before, so it has been interesting to find out how an exhibition is put together. As someone who has been homeless three times, I never thought I would be able to do something like this. Some of the events also offering training, so I hope to be doing that too. So, as you can see, not only is the festival going to be a spectacular arts event, it’s also an incredible learning experience for audiences and those of us involved too.

There’s not much time left and still so much to do but I’m super excited about the festival and I hope to see you there.

HOME: Arts & Homelessness Festival

Join us for a week-long celebration of arts and homelessness projects in Coventry, created and co-produced by people who have current or previous lived experience of homelessness. The festival takes place at venues across the city centre between Friday 8 - Saturday 16 October, coinciding with World Homelessness Day on Sunday 10 October 2021.

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: Coventry Sleepout

You and your friends are invited to 'sleep out to help out' for one night amid the ruins of Coventry Cathedral to coincide with World Homelessness Day. You will be helping to raise funds for the charities tackling homelessness, while gaining a direct insight into the issues that people face when sleeping out.

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: The 2nd International Arts & Homelessness Summit

As part of the Home Festival of arts and homelessness in Coventry City of Culture, Arts & Homelessness International (AHI) and a co-produced steering group from Coventry will host the second ever International Arts and Homelessness Summit. 

Join us at the Methodist City Hall where delegates from across the UK and the online global community will gather to share practice, ideas and policy about arts and homelessness.

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency

Everyone needs a home – but sometimes you have to bend the rules to get one. In a time of explosive creativity and ferocious independence, a group of dreamers operate the world’s first estate agency for squatters. A heart-warming new musical about building a community, DIY bands and making change happen, featuring a chorus of Coventry citizens who have experienced homelessness. 

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: ‘ART is where the HOME is’ Creative Hub

Drop into the HOME Festival Creative Hub to participate in a range of creative activities whilst chatting to some of the people involved in developing the HOME festival. Hear their stories whilst printing t-shirts, making bracelets, learning the guitar, pebble painting of playing a game of giant homeless monopoly.

Developed from inspiration sessions with the homeless community across the city, these informal sessions give us all space to create something new and make new connections. Saturday 16th October will focus on activities for children so bring the whole family to create and celebrate with us.

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: Send A Smile postcard exhibition

‘When we smile, it makes us feel good, as well as the people around us. There are many things that make us smile.’ Beginning in Coventry during the pandemic, the Send a Smile postcard project has travelled to homeless communities in the USE, Brazil, South Africa, India, Japan and Australia.

Developed by Underground Lights with support from Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, Arts and Homelessness International, The Belgrade Theatre and Crisis, this international project was designed by Hayley Harman and Beth Fuducia-Brookes as a way to engage creatively with people experiencing deep isolation in hostels during lockdown.

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: Homeless Monopoly

Created in collaboration with the Coventry Cyrenians, Homeless Monopoly is a giant interactive game featuring lived experience of homeless and ex-homeless people in the Coventry area. Playing the game will open your eyes to the many routes into homelessness, the issues faced by those who find themselves in this position and some of the support available in the city.

HOME - Arts & Homelessness Festival: Agency by Anthony Luvera

Agency is a new body of work by the socially engaged artist Anthony Luvera. Created in collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness in Coventry, this commission for Coventry UK City of Culture extends the artist's ongoing work made with people experiencing homelessness in towns and cities across the United Kingdom over the past twenty years. Throughout 2021, Luvera invited participants to use disposable cameras to document their experiences and places in the city that are significant to them. Participants were also invited to use digital medium format camera equipment in order to work on the production of a self-portrait for the artist’s ongoing series Assisted Self-Portraits. The final images will be exhibited along Warwick Row throughout the duration of HOME festival and featured in a community newspaper distributed freely across the city.

Home Grown Film Night

Home to Grow film night will be showcasing short films based on existing community garden projects coordinated by Grand Union in Birmingham and by the Foleshill Community Centre in Coventry.

Both projects aim at providing new spaces of possibilities for people that have experienced exclusion, homelessness, or financial hardship and who are usually excluded from or do not have access to those spaces. The films will show that community gardening can be a radical act allowing communities involved to gain access to fresh and healthy food, make their city more beautiful, protect their environment, improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

Home Variety Showcase & Open Mic

Join us to celebrate the talent within Coventry’s community in an evening of music and performance, created by people who have lived experience of homelessness. The night gives participants the opportunity to perform in one of Coventry’s most well-known performance venues - formerly the Locarno Club and Tiffany’s, but now home to Coventry Central Library. From the 1960’s through to the 1980’s, the venue hosted acts such as Chuck Berry, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Clash, Blondie and many more. So, whether you want to take part or just soak up the acts on offer, this event will be a lively celebration of the city’s performers.