Can Art Change Homelessness?

Can Art Change Homelessness?
22nd September 2017 Jessica Turtle


Can art change homelessness? What difference does culture make? Given everything that is happening, would our energies better be spent elsewhere? MoH is delighted to be hosting Can Art Change Homelessness as part of the One Festival of Homeless Arts next month. This night of talks and screenings will explore possibilities for the future and where we are headed next.


17 October, 6.30pm – 8.45pm

Old Diorama Arts Centre, Regent’s Place, 201 Drummond St, Kings Cross, London NW1 3FE

This event has now been fully booked. 

What we’ll be discussing

There has been a 134% increase in rough sleeping in England alone in the last 5 years.

Do we simply need to build more houses? Our major cities are changing rapidly and a significant number of properties to lie empty, while people relying on social provision are left in appalling and dangerous conditions as the atrocity at Grenfell has demonstrated. In 2017 new laws have been passed and there is a greater attention on homelessness across society, but what role can art play?

This talk, organised by the Museum of Homelessness, will feature contributions from artists, activists and politicians who are seeking to make social change. Be it front-line activism, city-wide political reform or the increased social role of creativity, contributors will offer their take on the role of art in confronting these highly complex issues.

The talk will be followed by a rare screening of the academy award winning Inocente – the first ever crowdfunded Oscar winner. Released in 2013, this short film offers a personal and vibrant portrait of a young artist’s determination to never surrender to the bleakness of her surroundings whilst highlighting the new face of homelessness in America.

The Talk will start at 6.45pm and end at 7.45pm. After a short break, the film will be screened between 8pm and 8.45pm.

About the talk contributors

Beth Knowles

Beth is a councillor in Manchester city centre and the Mayoral lead for Homelessness in Greater Manchester. She is also the chair of the international arts and homelessness network, With One Voice.

Shelley Debate

Shelley is the Head of Schools and Families for the Royal Academy of Arts. As part of her role, Shelley set up the Art Club, a monthly workshop to help facilitate those experiencing homelessness to visit art exhibitions and react creatively to the RA’s exhibitions.


David Tovey

David is a formerly homeless artist and founder of the One Festival of Homeless Arts. He is a former artist in residence at the Diorama Arts Centre and has had his work shown internationally.

Pilgrim Tucker

Pilgrim Tucker is a prominent housing campaigner who supported the Grenfell Tower residents’ campaign, the Grenfell Action Group.



Jessica Turtle

Jessica Turtle is the Co-founder of the Museum of Homelessness and chair of the homelessness charity the Simon Community.

About the film

Inocente is a 2012 short documentary film directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix. The film received the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject)


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