If blog posting is anything to go by then it would first appear that this has been quite a quiet period in the project. In fact it has been anything but. Finishing the films, organizing the events, dealing with the logistics has eaten up an enormous amount of time and at this stage there is less time for contact with the people I have met on the project. On visiting the car park for a meeting with the council where we hope to project one of the films we walk past the area where people who are homeless often sleep, either alone or together in groups. While it is been quite empty for a while there was now an entire area covered with many people’s bedding etc. In the corner of the car park, just as the cars turn to exit, they sleep as best they can despite the engine noise and head lights passing over them.
The council officials, although sympathetic, were understandably exasperated that the group had begun to remove the fluorescent light bulbs from the lights positioned just above the sleeping area. This made me remember one man telling me that he longed for the luxury of his own light switch as when you are homeless you don’t even have the choice to sleep in the dark but rather, often sleep in areas which are lit 24/7. Obviously this little group had found their own way around the problem. I wonder sometimes, watching Ray Mears on television attempting to survive in the wilderness, do people realise just how much skill, effort and ingenuity it takes to survive on the hostile terrain of the streets.
At the moment my dilemma is whether to include surnames on the credits of the films. A few years from now will people want to be identified on a project connected with homelessness? And yet I realize, often people’s surnames are seldom mentioned in projects such as this, and that raises the question of identity all over again and whether or not using surnames once again adds to a hierarchy. I will discuss it with those who have contributed. It made my mind go back to evaluation forms. The drop in centre have their own, I had some prepared for this project, as was mentioned in the evaluation plans set out for funders. But when I introduced them to people during a particularly good session, the atmosphere changed. They didn’t complain as they were used to forms and they either filled them in to please me, or with trite comments which said what wanted to be heard, but to be truthful, I don’t believe they really revealed anything much and I never used them again.
Interestingly, ‘The Word on the Streets’ which is the overarching project name revealed itself to be ironic in a way, as many who find themselves homeless (though not all, by any means) find words difficult, as overlooked dyslexia or lack of school attendance due to a raft of problems such as living in care or family crisis are often all part of the toxic mix which creates a path to possible homelessness. At this stage in the project, it may be the last ‘post’ as such. So for now, it’s lights out on the blog as content will move to a new website will contain much of the work created over the project.