There’s a new, limited installation taking place at Manchester Arndale, and it’s not just for looks. RANDOM OBJECTS OF KINDNESS is a free audio-visual exhibition a
Ten people who have lived experiences of homelessness, or have worked in local support agencies, are publicly sharing their deeply personal and candid spoken stories as part of the project created by the local spoken stories company, Heard Storytelling. The exhibition aims to increas
The installation comprises beautiful, large-scale portraits of the RANDOM OBJECTS OF KINDNESS storytellers and their spoken stories can be accessed via scanning a QR code on listeners’ mobile phones. Next to each ‘living portrait’ – captured by photographer Ahmani Vidal – is an image of an item pivotal to their journey towards independent living.
From the gift of a guitar and the transformative power of music to a birthday cake which offered a rare moment of celebration on the streets and became a powerful turning point, the audio recordings narrated by the participants themselves take listeners on personal and candid journeys.
Joe explains how a pivotal moment at Moss Side’s Pepperhill pub started a remarkable change from a chaotic life of crime and hopelessness to one of resilience and purpose. Michelle takes listeners on her journey from the despair of street homelessness to the respite of reuniting with her daughter and playing piano side by side.
Jimi Hendrix’s music became a steadfast companion through trials that tested the very core of Graham’s existence, while Risha’s story traces a journey of resilience, ultimately leading to the creation of Coffee 4 Craig in honour of Risha’s brother, where the simple act of offering clean underwear becomes a symbol of dignity and self-esteem.
The storytellers in the exhibition with lived experience of homelessness were all supported in their journey by Real Change MCR, which is a fund that helps people experiencing homelessness in Manchester pay for practical items that they need to build lives away from the streets, such as deposits for homes, clothes, furnishing new homes, travel costs and employability training.
The fund is utilised by over 20 Manchester homelessness organi
Real Change MCR has a panel of people who volunteer their time to run, manage and allocate funds. As well as homelessness organisations and charities, the panel includes people who have been homeless and members of the business community and other Manchester organisations.
Alex King, panellist and ambassador for Real Change MCR and Partnership Director for CityCo, said: “The business community in Manchester is a proud supporter of Real Change MCR, which offers a lifeline to people who want to rebuild their lives away from the streets.
“By working together with grassroots Manchester charities, we are proud to have helped so many of the city’s most vulnerable people into their own homes. Like everyone, our local business community wants to see an end to street homelessness. We will continue to donate and raise awareness and help people rebuild their lives in our city.”
The 10 true spoken stories can be accessed via scanning the QR code next to the storyteller’s portrait, as well as being hosted online. Donations to the fund can be made via mobile phone at the exhibition, or online.
RANDOM OBJECTS OF KINDNESS runs until 23 October at Manchester Arndale and is located on the mall near the Morphe store, commissioned by the shopping centre to raise awareness of and donations to one of its charity partners, Real Change MCR.