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Homelessness at the forefront of Canterbury Festival Open House exhibition 

One of the 50+ shoeboxes that will be on display at Canterbury Festival Open House

An art exhibition featuring work by Catching Lives clients is due to go on display as part of Canterbury Festival’s Open House

Amanda Sefton Hogg, Public Engagement Manager at Canterbury Festival, ran 10 workshops where clients, staff and volunteers could decorate shoeboxes exploring the themes of refuge, home and homelessness. Over the 10 weeks, clients used various methods including collage and paint to create their own sense of identity and space. 

Medway audio-visual artist Jane Pitt went out with homeless outreach teams in the early morning to record sounds on the streets of Canterbury where many of our clients sleep rough. The artist has created a soundscape as part of the exhibition, which will also feature interviews with clients and music. 

Amanda Sefton-Hogg, of the Canterbury Festival, said: “Open House is a collaborative learning project between Canterbury Festival Public Engagement and Catching Lives Arts programme. This rewarding, creative project gathered the Catching Lives community together for a socially enriching experience in which all participants could share their personal stories of living rough in Canterbury while acknowledging and respecting that Canterbury is their home; impacting positive personal and group wellbeing.”

The 50 shoeboxes will be displayed in shop windows alongside others made by Porchlight and Forward Trust clients to create a collective mini cityscape of memories and hopes of home. The exhibition will be in the windows of Rock Paper Scissors in Stour Street and Teastones in Sun Street. 

Artwork by Margate artist Zo Defferary will also be on display in the windows, which will be lit up to be viewed into the evening. Passers-by will be able to scan a QR code to listen to the soundscape. 

Miriam Ellis, Arts and Activities Co-ordinator at Catching Lives, said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity for participants to explore their creative style and self-expression in a series of relaxed and fun workshops. Thank you to Amanda Sefton Hogg from the Canterbury Festival for offering us this great opportunity.” 

The exhibition will be displayed from Saturday 21 October to Saturday 4 November. It is free to attend. 

Catching Lives has also been chosen to benefit from the Festival Opening Party at the Westgate Hall on Friday 20 October. Tickets can be purchased via the Canterbury Festival website.  

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