An exhibition of evocative images taken by a group of women affected by homelessness opened in Worthing on Tuesday 30th March 2021.
The exhibition is the result of several month’s partnership working from Turning Tides, Safe in Sussex and Brighton Women’s Centre. The project is part of a wider initiative to raise the profile of the challenges faced by women experiencing homelessness funded by Homeless Link.
Janie Pamment, Women’s Support Navigator (Turning Tides), Sam Otway, Women’s Support Worker (Safe in Sussex) and Jana Riley, Women’s Accommodation Support Worker (Brighton Women’s Centre) were instrumental in coordinating and running numerous women’s groups across West Sussex for those that had experienced homelessness. Through sharing their stories in a safe and supportive environment group members used photographs to highlight the complicated struggle they have faced as women experiencing homelessness. Together, with a local professional photographer, Samantha Pharoah, a series of evocative images have been shared via public display at various locations. Samantha commented; “It has been quite staggering to hear about the life events that these women have had to bear. I hope this exhibition will help these real lives to be seen and not ignored”.
Janie Pamment highlighted how critical the partnership has been to local women accessing the support groups; “I have been Turning Tides’ Women’s Support Navigator for almost a year now and have seen first-hand how critical these groups are to women finding the confidence to not only share their stories but feel empowered and proud of who they are. A quarter of Turning Tides’ clients are women and we work to ensure our services are delivered in a gender informed way. The focused work we have accomplished together, alongside our partners, is fundamental to delivering services which respond to the needs of women who have often experienced great trauma in their lives.”
Importantly the women themselves have felt empowered by the project, as one attested; “Taking photos about my journey has helped me to think about it and be proud of myself.”
Sharing these poignant photos and expressions with the wider public is fundamental to imparting what it has been like for women experiencing homelessness where we live. As one stark statement emphasises, “If I’m not of any worth, why would I bother getting better?”.
The photographic project was coordinated by the Ideas Alliance as part of the national Ending Women’s Homelessness (EWH) campaign that has been running for the past year. According to Helen Sharp from the Ideas Alliance, the women “have created a unique, emotional display of work that captures the world from their perspective and which, hopefully, will go a long way towards changing perceptions. Decision makers need to see this”.
The pictures and life stories created by the women are on display in the seafront shelter on the promenade opposite West Buildings in Worthing up until the end of June. The exhibition is also being displayed at Littlehampton’s East Beach Café until 15th May. Other venues across the county are soon to be confirmed.
For more information about the exhibition and the work of Turning Tides please visit: www.turning-tides.org.uk/