“I’m so glad you asked me to try this and that I came down.  It’s just so good to get my mind and my imagination going again, to focus on something new and positive, to get out of that room – even for a bit.  It makes me feel my confidence again and that I could get back to the way I used to be, just being myself.”  

Resident, 12.07.2011

“The society that we are in, and this government, need to realise that there are going to be a lot more people who are homeless.   People stereotype the homeless, look down on them, think that if you are homeless you are automatically a drug addict, served in prison, or an alcoholic, but that’s just not true for everyone.  There can be a lot of reasons why you become homeless.  One minute you might have a home, a job, a mortgage, a relationship, and then it is all taken away from you.   People should appreciate what they’ve got.  Material stuff is not very important: a roof over your head and food in the cupboard are important for everyone, but the kind of person you are is what really matters.  

A lot of people who are homeless are victims of circumstances, many of them are well educated, have degrees, might even come from well to do backgrounds, or are running away from some sort of abuse.  In London in particular, there is some support  but a lot of people who find themselves in a situation they cannot cope with, are ashamed or scared to ask for help because of this stigma, or they don’t know where to go.  People need to change their attitudes, starting with not looking down at others, or thinking that homelessness is people’s own fault.  Homelessness can happen to anyone now.”

Resident, 28.06.2011

“I’ve had a lot of problems before and I thought that this was another form of controlling what we think or do, so I didn’t join until now.  You have to be in a right frame of mind to engage with art.  I want to take part now because it passes the time away, it is relaxing, and it gives me some peace.   It is so important that there is a glimmer of chance for an exhibition one day.  It will put people’s ideas and feelings out there.  It can show the others that homeless people like me can do and achieve things – if they are given a chance.”

Resident, 8.03.2011

“This is really positive – brilliant to have demonstrated (once again) how art can get hold of people where some of our other approaches struggle…”

Senior Team Manager, 24th Feb 2011

“There are so many people here [at Arlington], good people and bad people, and sometimes you want to change them, but you can’t change them.  If they can’t do that, nothing can do that…. They are not really bad people, sometimes they are, but not always, they are all characters when you get to know them“

Resident, 22nd Feb 2011

Now I came down here, I feel relaxed. I’m surprised that I feel relaxed, but I am!  It is good to talk like we are. I have never done any art, so I didn’t think this was for me.  But I like photography.  It enters the mind, and changes it, brings back memories, makes you think about other times in your life.  They become real again.”

Resident, 22nd Feb 2011

“I have lived at Arlington for many years, and I have wanted nothing to do with any of the things organized here.  I stay in my room, I go out, and I do my own things.  This is the first time I engaged with anything, or anybody, because you have asked me so many times, and I thought, I better come down and see you as promised.  Now I am so glad I came; it’s really a marvelous studio, and a pleasure to spend time here.”

Resident, 17th Feb 2011

“I am laughing, because I forgot about these pictures [referring to Lebanon Archive] being important, but now I see they are.  At the time I took so many photographs, so many cameras got broken…  I just thought that I never made any money, in fact, I lost money, and the pictures weren’t good for me at the end. It was all gone; I forgot the faces, the names.  Working on the archive with you, have brought them all back to life.  I look at these photos, and I remember my life, my friends, the places, everything;  they have all come back.  Sometimes I smile, sometimes I am sad, knowing those who have died and were lost.  I see it all, and I think: “No!  I didn’t lose the money, I saved my life and my friends.”

Resident, 8th Feb 2011

“Before, when I moved to Arlington, I was angry all the time, I could never sleep, I had nothing to do, I was lost.  Since starting these workshops, it feels as if I had a job, because I have something important to do every week, I have a purpose.  My mind is occupied, I have things to think about and to do, I work in my room every day and night, preparing for the sessions, and trying things out.  I am happy. I have to tell you again, coming here has really changed my life.”

Resident, 8th Feb 2011

“As some of you might have noticed already, Mr Michael Vignole’s portrait photo is featured in this week’s poster for Anya’s workshop. I made few copies of this lovely picture, and gave one to Michael himself today-in plain paper and duotone.  He was very pleased to receive that, thanked me and Ania.  This is quite important as it comes from a resident who has, let’s say, give up engaging in the Arlington community much…”

Support Officer, 18th Jan 2011

“I must tell you how important these sessions are to us, and how much you are changing the lives of people who are taking part.  People have to be ready to take a step forward within themselves.  Those who do, get so much out of it…”

Resident, 21st Dec 2010


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