In response to a success story on the Glasgow Housing First project website about a man who has successfully benefited from the social system that the project has implemented, I have illustrated a series of three images based on his experience.
With the 11th of May fast approaching, graduation looming professional practice and the final steps that I need to complete in order to set myself up as a professional Illustrator once I have completed this course feel more pressing than ever.
One of the tasks that I need to complete in order to successfully set myself up to practice illustration professionally is designing a business card in time for my final degree show in plenty of time to print for the 25th of May. With this in mind, as well as the fact that I would like to be ready to print in time for Dan Peterson to carry out a mass print order with a local printing house (with a bulk order deal that will prove much more cost effective than individually printing with an online service), I have created a first draft design of my card. While this might not be the final design that I use, as I would like to get a second opinion from one of my tutors before I spend my money getting it printed, I’m quite pleased with what I have come up:
The only detail that I am a bit unsure of is my use of typeface, I’m overly confident on typeface and it’s application in terms of graphic design and am therefore unsure if the type that I have selected is entirely appropriate, the main problem that I can see is that my Web Address is perhaps a little too hard to read. However I did fully create this design in photoshop and therefore didn’t have a full choice of fonts, I have saved the file in both Jpeg and photoshop file format so that I can export it to illustrator in uni (where the systems are far more up to date than my own), which I will do asap after I have run it past a member of Staff for a second opinion. Given that this is such an important aspect of my image and presentation in the degree show I will (if I can) also run it past Matt upstairs from graphics before I get it printed.
The overall outcome of my project this year will take the form of a ‘visual essay’ n the topic of homelessness, the reality, the causes and the ‘solutions’ that we are running in the UK (how they are failing or succeeding).
The concept of a visual essay is not something that I was familiar with until Anna and I discussed it in terms of the project and how it could be displayed in the final degree show. So in light of this suggestion, and taking into consideration the form that my work has ultimately taken over the course of this year, I’ve been trying to find examples of this type of presentation to better understand how visual essays work and communicate. The best examples that I have been able to find have been in photography.
In the series ‘Now and Then’ and anonymous photographer used a box of yearbook photos found in an abandoned school buildings to create a series of photographs that combine scenes of the school in it’s haye day full of students and the ruins of the building as it stands abandoned and fire damaged today.
By first digitally scanning the old prints and the superimposing them onto photos of the school in its future state of disrepair, the photographer has created a beautiful narrative that shows the history of the building and the potential it was held.
Whenever he enters a school, Al says, he always goes looking first for the yearbook room or the library, where the historic pictures are located. The main branch of the Detroit Public Library has a wealth of old yearbooks as well. From there, the process of piecing a building’s history back together through photography is as painstaking as hunting down a locker number in the background. At Cass Tech, Al took as many as 50 or 60 shots from a single spot trying to find the focal length.
“I suppose I would like people to see that these buildings–for instance like Cass Tech–had a lot of life in them at one point,” Al says. “Cass Tech had up to 5,000 students in it a day, those hallways were packed, those classes had a lot of activities going on in them. While it may seem like a lot of work, it’s not so much of a stretch of the imagination to see these buildings with that same level of activity again.”
Continuing on my search for secondary sources that I can respond to and that can broaden my understanding on how different areas of the UK are tackling the issue of homelessness and how effective (or ineffective) each one of those projects is.
In Euro there are a number of schemes in progress, most of which take a very traditional approach to tackling the problem, but in 2007 Finland started wth a whole new approach that turned the traditional view on its head. The programme was first coined in New York in 1992 and has since been implemented in cities across the US.
Housing Firsts tactic are a completely new look at homelessness, in the sense that, rather than trying to first address the causes of ones homelessness, Housing First (as in the name) first works with the individual to provide them with safe and affordable housing that can act as a basis to then address the other problems that lead to them falling into a cycle homelessness or rough sleeping, such as drug and alcohol addiction or mental health problems.
The success of this project has been unprecedented and long lasting. Since the beginning of the initiative in 2007 the fall in the number of people sleeping rough or living homeless in Finland have fallen drastically, in Helsinki ten years ago there was 600 hostel beds available nightly now there are only 50, almost all hostels and homeless accommodation has been converted into affordable housing.
While this scheme is expensive and certainly not the easy option, as it meaning first addressing the very pressing issue of the lack of affordable housing that has lead to increased levels of homelessness first. Which is arguably a much broader issue than just that of rising homelessness. However, the estimated savings made per person could be up to €9,600.
“Investing in ending homelessness always pays back, to say nothing of the human and ethical reasons.”
Links to more detailed articles that I have sourced from:
One of the areas that have implemented this system as a trial run in the UK is Glasgow, Where housing first has been helping to reduce the number of ‘tent cities’ that have sprung up in central ares of the city as the numbers of homeless increase all across the UK. In Scotland the problem is most prominent in Glasgow where in 2017 it was estimated that 300-400 people were living on the streets daily.
Being able to support people from a solid base and a place of security has really opened people up to improving many aspects of the care and services that they can have access to. Placing people in a position where they ca receive advice on how to manage their new homes and the financial advantages that come with them, such as access to council taxes and how to reduce fuel bills. Being in a solid and stable position has also been seen to have a very positive effect on recovery from substance abuse.
“You can’t get sober when you’re on the streets, no one can” Quote from a successfully recovering service user.
In Glasgow, one of the ways that they have tackled the affordable housing aspect is by utilising the private renting sector, and while this does not deal with the immediate issue of the lack of council housing, tenancy sustainment for previously homeless customers across Wheatley Group is now at 92%. showing a strong incentive for other private groups to be sustainably involved in the continuation of the programme.
As part of our professional practice module we have held a show at Insole Court in Llandaff, the gallery that we have been given access to for display is a small but very nice space just above the Cafe at Insole.
The work that we are displaying there is a collection of our development work from this year and was beautifully curated for us by Amelia. The show was thankfully delayed by the ‘Beast from the East’, that bought a great deal of snow and disruption to Cardiff last month, the delay has meant that I was able to submit some of my work to be displayed in the show. previously I’d been quite worried that I would miss this chance to display due to my injury and subsequent time spent back up north in the first few weeks of my recovery.
The only issue that I had with the show, was the lack of warning and the quick turn around that caused on printing, getting our work printed in time for Amelia to curate the show for us was really quite difficult. The print studio facilities on campus are usually really busy and therefore need at least two to three days warning in order to get work printed in time for an event or deadline. This wouldn’t be too much of an issue unusually, but we only had a day or two to get everything sorted and the Office Outlet (the back up printing service that we normally use) was having issues with their printers, meaning that the only thing that I could do was use some basic prints on low quality paper as examples of what I wanted to display and hope that the quality prints would be done in time (Office Outlet assured us that their printers would be fixed very quickly). Thankfully everything worked out okay and our (Keira, Sorcha and myself) prints were finished in time for the show opening on the following Tuesday. So alls well that ends well, but I’d of really appreciated not having to deal with that level of stress, given that I was already pretty inhibited but my cast and crutches.
Since returning from my initial recovery at home in the North West, I have resumed the preparations for our degree show and attended the latest committee meeting.
The meeting was simply going over a few of the things that had progressed since the last meeting and reminding us that we needed to get together a list of professional invitees for that following friday, as well as reminding us that we meet to sort our bugdests and also organise the invigilation of our show area. I made some quite extensive notes on all the things that I then needed to go back and report to in our net year meeting. In the interest of transparency, and also just incase I forgot to mention anything important, I posted a copy of the notes that I made:
Degree show meeting 15.03
Following this meeting, I also began to seriously get on with beginning the preparations for the publication that we will be producing as a course alongside our show exhibition. This year Illustration is looking to produce a ‘publication’ rather than a catalogue, meaning that we will be producing a tabloid sized piece that features articles based around the various themes that have been covered by our collective work. Jamie Stevenson (who graduated from our course a couple of years ago), has offered us his time to help curate and write the publication pieces, as well to advice us on the general process of producing this piece of work, it will be a huge help and he will also provide a great impartial voice who can dictate the prominence of individuals work without causing any unnecessary upheaval or arguments amongst the year.
Everyone was pretty onboard with this idea and all I am left to do is to get people outvoted to join in the process as much as possible, given that we will have a much greater degree of success if we are as involved as possible with the process of creating and writing our publication. Jamie has very kindly offered his help and has in fact said that he doesn’t mind doing the lion’s share of the work, but I’d much rather try to get folk interested in being a big part of this process, as it would feel very disingenuous to have someone do the job for us. While I don’t doubt that this will not be particularly easy, everyone is quite busy and often reluctant to give up their time, I’m really going to try to convince at least a small group of students to help curate the publication. Hopefully I won’t end up doing too much of the work myself, but I also know how easily I ca get caght up in helping…so we’ll see.
On the 16th of March Cyncoed Campus hosted a Triple Laureate Event that featured three female laureates Casia William, Lauren Child and Sophie McKeand. The ‘headliner’ for us illustrators was obviously Lauren Child, who is the author and illustrator of the ‘Charlie and Lola’ children’s series (as well as many other children’s books), she was the most notable author on the panel but only due to her commercial success. Casia William and Sophie McKeand were both given a equal amount of time to speak, previously I had not been aware of them as they have both produced work that is prehapes more regional or localised.
Casia Williams is a Welsh writer and poet who has done a great deal of work prompting literacy and the teaching of poetry in welsh schools. she is also a fluent welsh speaker, English being her second language, and so is also an advocate of children learning in their traditional welsh tongue and gaelic traditions.
Sophie McKeand is a spoken word poet, who also works primarily in education, she is an advocate of social mobility and giving the lower classes a voice through poetry. Sophie is also instrumental in pushing for working class communities to use poetry to motive and promote new and important roots into higher education.
All three women where very inspirational to listen too, their passion and their inverdiual approaches to the title of laureate were all quite different and each focused on the may diverse aspects or responsibilities of the ‘job’. Each panelist featured has taken on very different approaches to their role and they each have focused on very individual responses to what being a laureate means to them and their background in literature and the arts.
The fact that the conference was being held by women and featuring an entirely female panel was not shied away from. The significance of having such an impressive female lead event is something that was very important to all those involved, much like most professions, the literacy world is sadly dominated by men and this is something that all the panelists were passionate about changing (as it is obviously important to level the playing field for all genders in all aspects of life).
As a aspiring art student and feminist, I found the success and professional dive of each panelist inspiring. Both Child and Williams have had very successful careers as well alongside families, dispelling the myth that one cannot have both a successful career and children. It is so important that we celebrate the success of women like those on this panel just as much as we would celebrate any other, forging a career in the arts sector of the country is not easy and nor is it equal to all genders, which is something that desperately needs fixing if we are to progress as a nation.