Homelessness and the Arts

Led by James McNaughton

Homelessness and the Arts is trying to change the stereotypes surrounding homeless people in the UK.


Project steps

1: Raise Further Awareness Around Youth Homelessness - And Other Subjects We Wish To Tackle.
Now that we have been accepted for the level 2 stage of Think Big, and have a budget of £2500, the scope for expansion, and the resources available to us have been greatly increased, we plan to utilise the funding in the same way as we did with level 2, and create an event which will once more, be featured in local media, and raise even more awareness about Youth Homelessness, the reasons why a Young Person may become Homeless, and how the Homelessness System can provide even more efficient, cost effective support for all who require it. We are also hoping to raise awareness around issues such as Racism, Homophobia, Physical, Emotional, and Mental Abuse, and Drug and Alcohol Dependance.
2: An Idea Worth Spreading:
The Youth Of Today Are The Leaders Of Tomorrows World: We believe no young person should be left behind, regardless of personal circumstance or support requirements, every young person has the potential to contribute alot to Society and change the World. Whilst working on this Project, we will be working with Media Students, Volunteers from several organisations, and other Young People who have personal experience of Homelessness, and we aim to help these young people gain some ideas for Projects they wish to start on their own.
3: Establish New Working Relationships With Organisations and Businesses
We have already established, and maintained working relationships with several other organisations and businesses from the last Project. We hope to build on this and begin working with other organisations as well, thus, involving more volunteers and more young people, which, in turn, will generate more support from partner organisations for any further Projects we undertake in the future.
4: A Small Number Of Volunteers Will Start Training To Give Peer Education and Peer Support
We appreciate that many Young People who have experienced Homelessness will have a range of psychological, and confidence barriers that will need addressing before they feel comfortable to give Peer Education, however, we hope that by the end of this particular Project, a small number of these Young People will feel confident enough to begin training which will allow them to provide Peer Education in schools, hostels, and at several organisations throughout Tyne and Wear.
5: Begin Research Into How To Establish Ourselves As An Independant Charity.
Although we may not establish ourselves as a fully independant charity for some time, we would like to research into how to do so, this way, once we do feel like we are ready to set ourselves up as a charity, we will have the resources, and knowledge, to do so.
James McNaughton

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Project updates

Level 2 complete

Project is complete

Posted by: Think Big, Mon, Aug 20, 2012

H&TA "Blackout" against SOPA&PIPA

Ever since the "Stop Online Piracy Act" and "Protect Intellectual Property Act" started making headlines for all the wrong reasons, I've been getting emails from visitors to our website from America, asking to support the protests in some way, so, until 8pm, Thursday, the Homelessness and the Arts website has "Blacked-out".

American visitors make up around 30 - 40% of our website traffic each week, and, if the SOPA & PIPA bills pass into law, means it will be infinitely more difficult for us to update our American supporters on any work we're doing.

Under the SOPA & PIPA acts, websites which contain, or link to copyrighted material (Even if posted by a user of the site) can be indefinitely blocked without trial or notice.

Even if we are based in the UK, we will still be affected. With websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Wikipedia, etc. in the firing line of SOPA & PIPA, because of it's sheer mass of user-submitted content, sharing our work with our supporters in America will prove infinitely difficult. Especially if we find our website blocked in America as well!

We depend on websites such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter to allow us to spread news about Homelessness and the Arts, whether we are posting a media interview we were part of, a short behind the scenes film of some of our projects, or a video blog of our work. If these websites become blocked, or partly censored in the U.S then it would be incredibly likely we'll never be able to post to American supporters again.

Websites such as Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr, Newgrounds, Deviant Art, Reddit, Wikipedia etc, often struggle with users submitting copyrighted content to the websites, normally, it's the offending parties job to remove the content in question, but under SOPA & PIPA, these websites would instead be faced with their entire website being blocked.

Without these user-content portals such as these, it would be almost impossible for projects like us (or any other Think Big project) to post content to a wider audience. Even worse, if a non U.S site is blocked in the U.S, the website could suffer financially through the loss of traffic and advertisement revenue.

I had to do a bit of research for this. :)

Posted by: James McNaughton, Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Stupidly long blog post because I forgot to update our project page. :)

Right...where do I start?

First off, sorry I haven't updated this blog in a loooong time! I've mainly been updating our Facebook page/Twitter page/Website.

Had to take some time off on Doctors orders over Christmas...I kept getting way too over excited about everything with the project and ended up working 20 hour days 6 days a week...I wouldn't recommend it!

The responses we've had from the online exhibition with Perou and the Cinema Advert/Media coverage has been phenomenal! I'm still trying to keep up with all the emails people keep sending me (About 309 left to answer..) So major thanks to Think Big for that :) Not going to lie when I say it's inflated my ego something rotten!

The physical exhibitions we've been planning are being put on hold for the moment, even so, we've already reached our 5 milestones...we completed them so long ago but with everything else that's happening I never realised!

I'm busy trying to figure out a way to make the project self-sufficient/self-funding, so we can get around the small issue of not having much money to actually work with! (Which reminds me, I still have £700 from Think Big I haven't requested yet. Woops.)

At the moment we're busy talking with Graphic Designers/Students about developing Homelessness and the Arts clothing to put on sale, and I'm incredibly excited by this, because;

A) The clothing isn't just going to be a logo slapped onto a shirt, we're developing some awesome shirts/hoodies/laptop cases/mugs/blankets etc. that you'd expect to find in a normal highstreet fashion outlet (Which I reckon is just awesome!)

B) From the sale of these clothes, we'll be paying for some new equipment meaning the Graphic Designers we work with can start teaching Graphic Design to some of the young people we're working with, which will ultimately increase their confidence and self-esteem, and with Homelessness and the Arts as a reference, could hopefully find an apprenticeship/college course!

We've got a team of volunteers in America, Australia, and France! Admittedly, it's only a group of 3 - 6 people in each Country, but still, we're international! So at the moment I'm trying to find some community buildings for each team to base themselves, hopefully having a central working area will help us grow further in these areas!

We have our own office in the City Centre of Newcastle, which is brilliant...although I rented the office to have a central space to work where I have no distractions...then I found out Steps were reuniting and downloaded their entire back-catalogue...now alot of my time seems to be spent dancing along to "tragedy" like an idiot, on my own...I wish I was lying about that...

We're starting to put together a plan to produce a recipe book/weekly online podcast/cooking show, aimed at people who are living on extremely tight budgets (Homeless living in hostels, recently made redundant, single parent families etc.) The aim is to come up with a range of nutritionally balanced, healthy meals, and organise them into a "diet plan" type thing, where someone can cook a weeks worth of our recipe's (lunch, dinner and snack) for £10 - £15 per week. So we're working with a few researchers/local chefs/local organisations surrounding that.

Somehow I'm also able to manufacture our own condoms...if I feel so inclined...a few months ago when I was doing some research for a friend wanting to start a sexual health project I came across some cheap suppliers of condoms based in America, and one of the manufacturers sent me an email offering a discount on custom packaged Durex/Trojan condoms...so if I *ever* feel the need, I can get 250 Homelessness and the Arts condoms for very cheap...um..great? I can't think of a specific benefit of custom condoms for H&TA yet...but I'm sure I'll come up with something...

I've also been awarded the Vinspired.com Regional Youth Worker award! Which was awesome! I had to be nominated for it by someone and I had no idea until I got a phone call out of the blue about it! So that's made me very happy :D

That's all I can think of...for now, although I know for a fact I've missed alot out...but meh, I'll update this blog again in the next few days with anything I've missed!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Another awesome photo

I love this photo far too much, the message you see on the wall, is literally 30 seconds away from a Rough Sleeping Hotspot..

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Video Footage Of The Photoshoot

Filmed and edited by Sam Corban. Best viewed in 720p.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Ninth and Final Photo

Natasha once more, makes an appearance! Our Photographer is a very talented Young Woman called Hannah Todd (Noughts and Crosses Photography), you can find her Facebook Page here:


I'd HIGHLY recommend taking a look at her Facebook Page, the photo's are amazing! I met her at a bar when Perou came to visit, she had just taken some photo's for a shoot with her friends, and even Perou was impressed by her work! (When a World Famous Fashion and Music Photographer who shoots the rich and famous admires someone's work, you know you need to get them involved! ;D )

I promised you guys I'd show you what can REALLY be done with £2500 and a little creative thinking, and I'll tell you right now, you have seen NOTHING yet! I'm so excited for the next few months! It's so great to get all the boring legal work and paperwork out of the way actually create some amazing images!

I know I say this most of the time, but, o2 Think Big, You're amazing! :D

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Eighth Photo

Again, Natasha

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Seventh Photo

Again, Natasha is the star! I love how despite the famous Baltic Art Gallery being in the background, you're automatically transfixed on Natasha's face!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Sixth Photo

Sixth Photo, with the lovely Natasha again.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Fifth Photo

Fifth Photo, featuring our very own, beautiful (and ex Homeless) Natasha! A few years ago, she was homeless, living in a hostel, with her only income being EMA, which was all going towards paying rent, leaving her little money to support herself. Guess where she is now? Studying in University!

From Homeless, to College, to Uni. This woman is truly an inspiration! She's only 18 as well!

She's pretty damn creative too so I'm hoping I can help her think of a brilliant Project to make her own Think Big Application for!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Fourth Photo

Fourth Photo From The Shoot, one of my favourites from the entire day!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Third Photo

Third Photo from the shoot, LOVE this!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Photo 2

Second Photo from the shoot.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

It's Been A While!

It's suddenly hit me that most of the Project Updates I post are on our Facebook Page, Twitter Page, or Website, so I'll try and update you all about the Project in as little paragraphs as possible so you still find it interesting!

Perou came up to Newcastle which was brilliant! The fact he believes in the Project so much is just a source of more motivation to keep the Project moving!

o2 & o2 Think Big, as always, have been incredible, I've been like a yo-yo travelling up and down the Country to see other Projects for their level 2 training, or speaking in front of staff members at conferences...I even gave a presentation in front of o2's Senior Leaders and CEO (Who, btw, is an incredible person!), Met the genius man who is leading o2 Learn, and managed to bounce quite a few ideas off eachothers heads which I'm taking forward into the Project too!

Cinema Advert - The reaction has been mind-blowing! I'm inundated with emails from random people up and down the Country saying how much they appreciate the Project, and now have quite alot of people from as far North as Edinburgh, and as far South as Dover, wanting to volunteer for the Project, so I'm working on a HUGE photography project they can get involved in;

Thanks to the Website (www.homeless-arts.co.uk) The Twitter Page (@Homeless_Arts) and Facebook Page (Homelessness and The Arts) we've had alot of interest from organisations and photographers based overseas, primarily in Australia and America, who want to get involved in some way, so I have a plan;

Sign up a Photographer (be they professional, amateur, or student) from any city, in any Country, and link them with a Homelessness Organisation in their local area, from there, the photographer will meet a group of 3 - 7 Young (ex) Homeless people, get to know them a little, get to know their personalities, and their stories, what drives them, what their ambitions are etc. Hopefully, through this rapport, the Photographer and Young People can create some incredible photo's together, which will then be shown in an online, and physical exhibition, and hopefully show that Youth Homelessness is an International Issue, not just confined to a stereotypical estate in the UK.

Shooting for our Documentary went underway last week! Focusing on Homelessness, we have a few interviews with Young People, will now be looking for Support Workers to interview, as well as members from the local Council, and Police Officers.

Had a rather impromptu photoshoot today as well, which went incredibly well! An ex homeless young woman called Natasha, helped us with modelling, and some other professional models got involved too. This photoshoot was focusing on the publics' stereotypical view of homelessness, rough sleeping, sleeping bag, flask, etc. The plan is to document a "journey" through the Homelessness System, based on Young People's real stories of homelessness!

We have some video footage from the shoot, as well as photo's to upload, which shall be coming up!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Perou Supports James

Most people are fortunate enough never to have experienced homelessness, so they can’t begin to understand the realities of sleeping rough. But ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse and we must not allow inaccurate perceptions of homelessness to grow and fester. Because what people often don’t realise is the damage this can do. Every day, young homeless people are forced to confront society’s overwhelmingly negative, and more often than not, inaccurate perceptions. And that severely damages their confidence, esteem and ultimately their ability to turn their life around and transition back into normal life. As a photographer, I want to bring my expertise to bear on James campaign – working together we want to use photography as bridge to help society understand the realities of youth homelessness and hopefully change perceptions. All you have to do is check out the exhibition and confront the real story.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, Sep 15, 2011


James, Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Done! :) Sorry it took so long! :) 

anonymous, Mon, Oct 10, 2011

Sorry ^ it repeated it! :) 

anonymous, Mon, Oct 10, 2011

Hi! We have liked your page! Please can you return the favour??? --> our page link is: http://www.o2thinkbig.co.uk/Projects/Project-Home/?clubId=753 Thanks! PS. Your project looks great! :) 

anonymous, Mon, Oct 10, 2011

Hi! We have liked your page! Please can you return the favour??? --> our page link is: http://www.o2thinkbig.co.uk/Projects/Project-Home/?clubId=753 Thanks! PS. Your project looks great! :) 


So, I'm just going to yet again, inflate o2 Think Bigs ego to the point it's probably going to burst...since my Think Big Project has just gained me another job! :D

I've had an offer of employment from Barnardo's to work as a Participation Worker involved in a number of Projects supporting Young People with experience of Homelessness and Addiction, and since I already work with Barnardo's for my Think Big Project, it's a huge win-win for me!

I'll be honest when I say I was kind of struggling in the interview, until they inquired about the Homelessness and the Arts Project (They were amazed a 19 year old was running a Project like this) and I pretty much just rambled on for about half an hour about the Project...and it seems like it worked!

o2 Think Big. Thank you! You are awesome! :D

Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Jul 12, 2011


Rowan, Wed, Oct 5, 2011


"That London!" Again, this time with Changemakers :)

Ugh, I may as well move to London…or Edinburgh…or Bristol…I seem to be there more often than I’m in Newcastle now!

London never ceases to amaze, and utterly confuse me… I’m there pretty much twice a week now, yet, whenever I think I have the London Tube understood, or managed to get to grips with how busy everyone here seems to be, something always occurs to make me realise I have literally no clue.

I was given the chance to attend a meeting with Chris Grayling MP (Minister for Welfare Reform) To represent Changemakers in voicing the concerns of Young People with regards to the planned Welfare Changes.

(It wasn’t just me and Chris Grayling there…that would be weird, and I’m pretty sure with my general view of MP’s, he’d have stormed out after 5 minutes shouting something like “NEVER LET HIM NEAR ME AGAIN!”)

There was myself, Anna, one of the staff members, and Alex, as well as about 20 – 30 other Young People from a range of different organisations.

Before Chris Grayling appeared, we had all agreed on 3 main questions which we felt were the most urgent for him to respond to, which were;

“As part of the Work Program announced, different organisations are given responsibility to support unemployed Young People into work, but they are paid on a Payment By Results Model. How can you guarantee that this process won’t encourage organisations to focus their attention on Jobseekers who’re easier to place in work, rather than those from the more disadvantaged groups, who may be left to their own devices?

“How does the proposed Work Plan intend to support Young People who are suffering some form of disability?”

The third question…I forgot (woops..) However, Chris Grayling MP managed to answer each question we asked, I have to admit, I’m not entirely convinced yet…or convinced at all to be honest, but I have his email address now..so I’m going to bombard him with question, after question, after question, just because I can J

After our 3 original questions were answered, the floor was open for the Young People to ask any additional questions they feel need answering. There were the same kinda points you’d expect any worried Young Person to make, worries about education, how Young People can get into work if there isn’t actually any jobs available, etc.

About the work program;

The Work Program, announced by the Coalition Government, aims to replace much of the existing Work Support that’s currently available (New Deal, Employment Zones, Pathways to Work, Future Jobs etc.) and aims to provide tailored, flexible support to those who need it, “Built around their own needs”.

508 Voluntary Sector Groups, including The Princes Trust, Greater Manchester Youth Network, Rathbone, Platform 51 and many others, will be involved with delivering this Programme.

Organisations who deliver the Work Program will be Paid By Results, meaning they don’t get paid, unless they can prove they have supported people to find employment, and remain in their employment.

I had my own concerns around this, I work predominantly, with a lot of Young (ex) Homeless people, who need to overcome some major personal and social barriers before it’s acceptable (In my view) to find work…quite often if we support a Young Person at the age of 16, they will be 20/21 before they are in a position where they feel comfortable looking for employment, however, such a long period of unemployment can greatly affect someone’s motivation/confidence, in being able to find work, (Think about it; If you were an employer, and you had the chance to hire a Young Person who has been unemployed for 4 years, or a Young Person who has worked non-stop, with unemployment gaps of a couple of weeks, who would you hire?)

Another concern was that the Payment By Results model won’t provide enough incentive for organisations to support people with more complex support needs.

Personally, if I was being paid by results, I would find it so hard to motivate myself to support those who need more support, instead of the people I could easily find work for, especially since it would greatly reduce the chance of me actually getting enough results for adequate payment.

Apparently though, there’ll be incentives in place for each organisation to support those with more complex needs/barriers, I’m doing some research into this to see if that’s correct/whether it’s a load of old tosh.

The meeting never lasted long, Chris Grayling had to leave to vote on something to do with the economy/budget…no idea what though, I’m sure a Newspaper affiliated with Labour will surely tell us what it is though, and how it’s going to ruin the lives of our children, our childrens children, and our pets for the next 200 years to come…

(I don’t support the Tories…I just dislike it when Newspapers take a political stab at a Government just because their Journalists Taxes increase by £5 and act like the Worlds going to end in a horrific ball of fire…even then they’d probably say “That ball of fire was in the Tories Policies! We told you all along!...)

Once the meeting finished, everyone started networking, as you do, and started talking to eachother about where they’re from, what they do, what interests them, all that lovely stuff! I have to say, the Young People that were there were incredible, bearing in mind these people were all under 25, there were Campaign Leaders, Project Managers, Film Makers, one guy was running his own business…It really brings home how much Young People are stigmatised and stereotyped when you meet people like these, who are doing amazing things each day!

And then we come to my journey home…managed to work out the Tube without an issue…I was giving someone directions when a student/traveller/hipster/whatever you want to call it, noticed my accent, and launched into a half-hour tangent about how Northern Accents are so friendly and how she loves them so much…this distracted me enough to miss my stop, so I had to double-back on myself and get the 9pm train home as I missed the 8pm one…

The 9pm train was delayed…by Hours…It never got here until 12:30am, and then, it got delayed even further at Stevenage..meaning I never got home until about 5am…and had work at 6am (Hurray!) So, needless to say, I experimented a lot with my caffeine tolerance levels and wasn’t what you would call “coherent” all day.

Don’t you just love Adulthood eh? I wish I was a toddler again where my biggest worry in life was “Why doesn’t this milk taste like chocolate?!”

Posted by: James McNaughton, Mon, Jun 27, 2011

Start a Major Political Campaign? Where do I sign up?!

Just to update you all on something else that Homelessness and the Arts is co-running (And it's a big one!)

Homelessness and the Arts, and Barnardo's, are going to direct a major political campaign with the aim of;

Increasing the age specific groups of Young People can claim income Support, from 20, to 25.

This will allow Young People who have came from a Homeless Background, to study A Levels/HEFC's full time, adding to their qualifications, allowing them to immerse themselves in a new social circle, which in turn increases confidence and self-worth, and also increases the Young Persons employability skills and increase the chances of moving onto University.

We produced an initial report which outlines the methods we will use, the forseeable issues we encounter, and the evaluation process which will be implemented throughout the campaign. (We'll publish this to our website, www.homelessness-arts.co.uk in due course.)

We've already had an enormous stroke of luck for this campaign in the form of Tyne Metropolitan College, who have agreed to act as a host college to run a 1 year Pilot Scheme which will be;

Enrolling 20 young people from a homeless background into full time studies in courses of their choice.

The Young People will be required to sign off benefits, however, with funding we're hoping to acquire, we will give each Young Person the equivalent rate of benefits (Child Tax Credits, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit etc.) each week so the Young Person does not find themselves out of pocket. they may also qualify for Adult Learning Grants of £30 per week as well to help with travel and equipment.

The Pilot Scheme's aim is to find out whether our ideal scenario for this campaign will work in practice, Tyne Met College already have funding in place to support the Young People in their studies, and we're giving the Young People the equivalent rate of benefits they can receive too to support themselves. We're hoping to find out whether the Young People can maintain their studies in this scenario, and also whether colleges can maintain a satisfactory level of support for the Young People with their funding (Some colleges will require more funding/volunteers to deal with the increased enrollment...Tyne Met already have this in place which is great for us!)

I'll post another update when we publish the document to our website, and will keep updating you on our progress!

I think it's obvious when I say;

EXCITEDD! How about that o2 Think Big? You've made it possible for us to kick-start a major campaign!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, Jun 23, 2011

Take one of our Installations Global? Why not?!

So, for our stage 2 Project, one of the installations we're working on is called "Defaced Generation", a photographic installation featuring up to 80 Black and White portraits of Young (ex) Homeless People, which is then given to the Young Person in question, to annotate in any way they choose. They can use newspaper cut outs, cut the photo up and rearrange it, literally do whatever they want. The aim of this installation is to show "The Human Side" to Homelessness, and show these Young People's personalities, so many times we see a Homeless Person begging on the streets, but how often have we actually taken time out of our busy day to speak to them and find out their own ambitions and motivations?

We've got quite a few Organizations from different Countries following us on Twitter, and alot of them have become interested in collaborating with us on this Installation, so the basic plan for this is;

Each organisation needs a camera, basic art supplies, and a scanner.

There are no guidelines on the photo's an organisation takes, but it HAS to be a Black and White portrait that has been annotated in some way.

Once the photo's are complete, they will be scanned and emailed over to us to show in our event.

Every organisation we collaborate with on this Installation will also receive the finsihed Installation via email to do what they please. (As long as Homelessness and the Arts are credited for starting this of course!)

What do you guys think? It's a basic plan so far, but it's easily achievable, cheap, and only requires resources already available to most people!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Mon, Jun 13, 2011

Onwards and Upwards

So, the Radio Interview with BBC Newcastle went quite well (Thank you to o2 and Blue Rubicon - PR Agency for making this happen!) The interview all in all only lasted around 8 minutes, but the producer of the Jonathon Miles Show has left us her email address and phone number for whenever we have any updates we would like to talk about! (Huzzar! More radio time!)

I'm also taking a trip to London on Wednesday 8th to an Awards Ceremony with ITV Fixers, the "Young and Homeless" film I was part of has been nominated for an award, and I'm looking forward to the event :D Will keep you all updated on how we do!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Mon, Jun 6, 2011


What are you guys doing on Wednesday at 11am? Fancy listening to BBC Tyne Radio? Yes? Good! Because I'll be on it talking about Homelessness and the Arts!!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, May 26, 2011

We have quite an incredible follower on Twitter now...

So, this might be making me bounce off the walls a little bit, but we have several Homelessness Projects, Homelessness Workers, and philanthropists following us on Twitter now


But yesterday we had Sarah Brown (Gordon Brown's Wife) Following us, needless to say, I am veryyy content right now! :D

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, May 15, 2011

A Huge Thank You

So this is essentially, a post that's going to "big up" Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, since in the past few weeks especially, it's proved invaluable to us.

We posted the "Young and Homeless" short film we showcased at our first event, onto Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, and immediately received a wave of positive reactions!

We've had followers on these websites, forwarding on our short film to others, A huge thanks is owed especially to the following for this;

CentrePoint UK - For forwading our Short Film to thousands of followers on Twitter.

Emma Lindley - An Artist/Photographer who's been forwarding EVERYTHING we post - We've received alot more attention thanks to her! She's also wanting to show our Short Film at her next team meeting to discuss what her colleagues can do to tackle Homelessness in their area (We may have inspired a brilliant Project!)

"Puffles The Magic Dragon" (Incredible name!) - For posting our Short Film on Twitter and also forwarding the link to vote for our Co-Op Revolution, with which, we can gain an extra £5000 funding.

Alex Gerrity - An up and coming Journalist and passionate worker in supporting young women, I've spoken to her alot now and the support she's offered us is fantastic!

Steven George Barnes - Social Innovator and Passionate Homelessness Worker in America, he started a Homelessness Charity called StreetReach in the UK before he moved to the States. Unfortunately the Charity dissolved under it's new management. But Steve's determination hasn't. He's been forwarding ALOT of our content and ideas to numerous Homelessness Projects in America, and is also going to be showing our Short Film to a couple of Projects he is volunteering with, to highlight the effects, and issues of Homelessness in different Countries.

Lemosandcrane - For forwarding our content on Twitter to a huge Audience of people who had previously not had an interest in Homelessness, who have now found themselves challenging their own perceptions and stereotypes of Homelessness.

And also, to the awesome, awesome people at AllPoetry, thanks to them, we have over 60 incredible pieces of poetry from numerous people from challenged and "Broken" backgrounds, many of whom are from America, Australia, and South America.

And of course, the biggest Thanks has to go to o2 Think big! Let's face it, without o2 thinking this was a great idea for a Project to fund in the first place...all of this would not have happened until, maybe, quite far in the future!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, May 12, 2011

People Like Us! :D (Yay!)

Couldn't think of a professional sounding title!

We've had so much good luck with "Homelessness and the Arts" lately it's incredible! Just to give you a quick update;

We have established working links with CenterPoint, Newcastle Youth Council, and Apple (APPLE!!) who are each wanting to support our Project in some way, shape or form;

CenterPoint are offering to be able to share our resources together, for the Homelessness Projects we are each respectively working on, as well as offering advertisement on eachothers website.

Newcastle Youth Council are already looking for Youth-Led Projects to advertise, as are we, so we will be advertising eachothers work on our websites, as well as this, Newcastle Youth Council work with a lot of young people who would be interested in volunteering with us too.

Apple have offered us free use of their equipment, as well as giving free "Workshop Sessions" in their store for any young, homeless people we work with who are interested in learning more about Apple's products with regards to video editing, digital photography, and music production.

We are currently waiting to hear back from a few other organisations who we could become involved with as well. Mainly Homelessness organisations who have contacted, but everything is looking good, and I seriously cannot wait until we have the funding in our hands so we can start work!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Apr 26, 2011

An Inspiration

Just heard one of the most inspiring things from a truly inspirational girl a couple of days ago that I wanted to share with you;

"We're all Artists, and Life is our Canvas, we make of it what we wish" - Young woman, aged 20;

Homeless at 16,

Drug Dependant from 16 - 18

Has previously been sexually exploited

Now she studies at University to become a Doctor.

Just wanted to share that with you, I don't know about you but it certainly made me sick of whinging about work all the time now..

Posted by: James McNaughton, Wed, Mar 30, 2011

Installations 1 & 2

Quick update on two of the installations we'll be working on for our next Project.

"Defaced Generation"

Black and White Portraits (Photography) Of Young, Homeless people, playing the characters of themselves (essentially, pulling whatever face they want) taken and printed to the largest size possible.

The young person, is then allowed to annotate, cut and re-arrange, and pretty much do anything they want to give their photo their own personal touch.

We are aiming to have around 80 different photo's in total by the time we host our Artistic Event.

The aim of this particular installation will be to challenge the perception that young people lack ambition and motivation, this installation will give the young people a chance to show their passions, and expose any subject that they feel passionate about, be it art, mechanics, education, environment, or their own personal ambitions.

"Unspoken Emotions"

This installation will focus on Poetry and Literature, as we have already recieved some excellent pieces of poetry from young people as far as Australia and America which we would love to include in this work!

The poetry/short stories/literature will be focused on a topic of the young persons choice, be it their personal experiences, goals they wish to achieve in their life, etc.

The aim of this installation is to envoke emotion in the public with regards to traumatic experiences and issues which are generally regarded as "taboo" in todays society, everyone hears about traumatic stories in the news, but rarely hear a young persons first hand, un-censored story.

Another aim of this installation is to challenge people's perceptions, and question their morals, for instance, one piece of poetry submitted to us, entitled "Where You're Standing Now" forces readers to acknowledge how easily they could become homeless, one missed paycheck, one missed deadline, and your job could be gone, meaning you can't keep up with mortgage payments, meaning your house is re-possessed, and you become homeless...

More updates will be coming as work begins on these installations and as we also begin working on other installations/Documentaries.

If you're under 25, and have a piece of artwork you think will fit our Project, and want to have it shown at our event(s) feel free to get in touch!

Artists will be fully credited on our website;


And will also be fully credited during the event too.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Mon, Mar 28, 2011

Proper Domain Name :D

We have a proper domain for the website now! :D


Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, Mar 17, 2011


We now have a website!


It's very basic, but functional, and considering I have no former experience of building a website, I'm very pleased!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Wed, Mar 16, 2011

Posted by: Think Big, Tue, Mar 15, 2011

Work has begun!

We've started making appointments with possible venues to host our event, and also have a confirmed event at the Youth Homelessness Consultation, where we will be running an activity that can help us with our research.

Still need to think of an activity to do though, but I'm sure we'll think of something :)

James Mc.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, Mar 10, 2011

Facebook PROFILE! Woooh!

I've made a proper Facebook Profile for the Project (Add me as a friend and I'll love you forever.)

Look up "Homelessness Arts" on Facebook and add us as a friend, and please reccomend us to any friends you have that may be interested too!

Posted by: James McNaughton, Wed, Mar 9, 2011

An Inspiration

I want to show you someone who has inspired me lately, a Street Artist named "JR";

JR’s career as a photographer began when he found a camera in the Paris subway. In his first major project, in 2001 and 2002, JR toured and photographed street art around Europe, tracking the people who communicate their messages to the world on walls. His first large-format postings began appearing on walls in Paris and Rome in 2003. His first book, Carnet de rue par JR, about street artists, appeared in 2005.

In 2006, he launched “Portrait of a Generation,” huge-format portraits of suburban “thugs” from Paris’ notorious banlieues, posted on the walls of the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became official when Paris City Hall wrapped its own building in JR’s photos.

In 2007, with business partner Marco, he did “Face 2 Face,” which some consider the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever. JR and a grassroots team of community members posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on both sides of the security fence/separation barrier.

He embarked on a long international trip in 2008 for his exhibition “Women Are Heroes,” a project underlining the dignity of women who are the target of conflict. In 2010, the film Women Are Heroes was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and received a long standing ovation.

JR is currently working on two projects: “Wrinkles of the City,” which questions the memory of a city and its inhabitants; and Unframed, which reinterprets famous photographs and photographers by taking photos from museum archives and exposing them to the world as huge-format photos on the walls of cities. It asks the question: What is the art piece then? The original photo, the photo “unframed” by JR or both?

JR creates pervasive art that spreads uninvited on buildings of Parisian slums, on walls in the Middle East, on broken bridges in Africa or in favelas in Brazil. People in the exhibit communities, those who often live with the bare minimum, discover something absolutely unnecessary but utterly wonderful. And they don’t just see it, they make it. Elderly women become models for a day; kids turn into artists for a week. In this art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.

After these local exhibitions, two important things happen: The images are transported to London, New York, Berlin or Amsterdam where new people interpret them in the light of their own personal experience. And ongoing art and craft workshops in the originating community continue the work of celebrating everyone who lives there.

As he is anonymous and doesn’t explain his huge full-frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passerby/ interpreter.

This is what JR is working on: raising questions...

Posted by: James McNaughton, Thu, Mar 3, 2011

Globalisation has well and truly commenced!

Bit of a catchy title I think, just a quick update on something else that's happening within the Project, as part of our artistic event, one of the things we showcase is Poetry, and I now have around 72 pieces to choose from, some were sent to me by people as far as Australia and America! (YAY!), so I want to share one of my personal favorites with you;

"Where You're Standing Now"

I pass you sightlessly every day

as I travel to work on the city subway.

I try not to see the holes in your shoes

are patched with the pages yesterdays news.

I don’t want to see your belt pulled so tight

or wonder where you go to sleep at night.

One reason that I turn my eyes from yours

is the despair you exude from your dirt covered pores.

Don’t judge me harshly for refusing to see you.

I’m afraid to acknowledge I could easily be you.

There’s not much that separates your own life from mine,

one paycheck, one poor choice, one missed deadline.

I can’t let myself see your raggedy clothing.

Your smell fills my nose, yet it’s not with loathing.

It’s the scent of my own fear that drifts on the breeze

and makes my mind blind to the pain that it sees.

It scares me to think, so easily, how

I could be standing where you’re standing now.


Again, one of the things we hope to do is to showcase the talents of Young People who have experienced Homelessness, racism, Discrimination, Bullying, or anything along these lines, so if you have something you want us to show in our events, be it Poetry, Literature, Photography, Artwork, or Music, feel free to get in touch;


Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Mar 1, 2011

Facebook Group And Twitter Page

Finally got round to making a Facebook group...


It's kinda bare since I haven't had a chance to invite many people to it, or manage to update it with anything exciting yet...or even visit the Group since I started it...but hey, it's here now! And I shall give it all the attention and love it deserves like an over-protective parent! :)

Visit it, join it, invite your friends to it, and I shall love you forever! (Serious, I may even consider sending valentines days cards, nomatter what month it is!)

And the Twitter page is;


I think...I'm still not sure how Twitter works to be completely honest, never used it in my life...but hey, life's a learning curve and all that jazz :)

Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Mar 1, 2011

Young and Homeless Short Film

This is a short film I was involved in from a previous Project, and was also shown at our first event, aired on ITV Late Night News, and from numerous comments we've heard, shown across the country! Hope you enjoy it.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Mon, Feb 28, 2011

Contact Information

Right, another thing we're curious about, is working with any other O2 Think Big Projects who are primarily focused on Artwork, or on the Inclusion of Socially Excluded Young People, but we're pretty open to working with any Young Person who wants to get involved.

If you want to get involved, or are running a Project you think we can work together on, my email addresses are:



Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Feb 8, 2011

Level 2 Acceptance

Right, so we've been accepted for the Level 2 stage of Think Big, and will have £2500 funding to play around with :D So here is the brief outline of what we will be doing:

Working with University Students studying Media and Film Production, Organisations and Charities across Tyne And Wear, and members of the General Public who wish to get involved. We will be filming two Documentaries, each lasting around 30 mins (Or as close as possible)

the first film will be centred around Homelessness, the support available, the general view of Youth Homelessness in the eyes of the public, and featuring success stories with regards to Young, Homeless people who have taken a positive step in their lives, either professionally, academically, or personally.

The Second film will be centred around Racism, Homophobia, Discrimination, Physical, Emotional, and Psychological Abuse, and Drug and Alcohol Dependancy.

Once these Documentaries have been created, we will be hosting an artistic event, like our previous one, featuring artwork created by Young People with personal experience of the issues we will be tackling, and showcasing our Documentaries there.

Once this Project has been completed, the Documentaries will continue to be shown at events hosted by any Organisation we work with.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Mon, Feb 7, 2011

Logo number 2

The second Logo we have, which is the main Logo we use for now.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Jan 28, 2011


Homelessness And The Arts Logo - Not the best in the World, but it will do until we find something better :D

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Jan 28, 2011

Level 1 complete

£300 project complete

Posted by: Think Big, Fri, Dec 10, 2010

Article in the Chronicle about the event :D


It's more focused on the fact a local celebrity came, but it's still in a newspaper ^^

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Oct 10, 2010


The band (Cheap Charisma) Setting up for their session at the event.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


The "Any Street" installation.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


Ken (helped with preperation, set up, and running of the event)

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


Matty Down (Workshop) posing with the visitor again

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


Matty Down (Workshop) from barnardo's posing with a visitor

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


The "Any Street" Installation, as well as the "Young And Homeless" Installation hanging up on the wall, with quotes from young homeless people, hung up either side.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


A visitor looking at the "Any Street" Installation

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


The photographer from the Chronicle, myself, and a homeless person created for the event.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


Claire (interactive workshop), Charlie Hardwick (Val from Emmerdale) And Lee (Helper at the event)

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


The "Any Street" Installation

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


Myself, and a photographer from the Chronicle.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010


Claire, running the interactive workshop at the event.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010

more photos

"Ideal Homes" Photo

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010

Evaluation Of The Event

Soooo the event happened yesterday and it was a huge success, we hit all our targets and milestones in the space of a few hours which was incredible, so I've written a detailed evaluation of the event here, more photo's and visitor evaluations are on the way as well.

The event happened on 7/10/2010, 3pm - 8pm

Given the small budget we had for advertisement and promoting, combined with the limited timescale we'd allocated to ourselves for this project, the predicted turnout was between 50 - 60 people for the entire day, we achieved this in the space of 3 hours and overall, 68 people visited the exhibition (Excluding young people and support workers who had helped us and came to visit.)

We had 4 installations on display all centred around homelessness, the steriotypes associated with homelessness, and the flaws that young, homeless people (myself included) had identified within the UK's homelessness system;

"Any Street" - The main installation, was a street of cardboard houses and tower blocks, all created by young people, and highlighted their own personal stories of homelessness, how they became homeless, the numerous problems they encountered whilst they were homeless, the organisations that helped them, and what they would like to see changed within the homeless system.

"Ideal Homes" is an installation from another project within Barnardo's where young people have decorated houses to represent their ideal home, and what they would like to have from their ideal homes, such as confidence, safety, furniture etc. One of these houses was seperated from the installation and raised on a plynth, as the young person who decorated this particular house stated that all they want from their ideal home is: 4 walls, a roof, a bed, and possibly somewhere to put their clothes.

"100 faces 100 stories": this was a proffesional installation created by a photographer for Crisis Skylight, with 100 photographs of people who are currently using Crisis Skylight for support, or volunteer with Crisis Skylight, and alongside, are a couple of paragraph summaries about their life, and significant events that have happened in their life.

"Young And Homeless" is a piece of artwork, created by a young service user of Barnardo's Palmersville, the piece depicts a face surrounded by newspaper quotes, stating the steriotypical homeless young person, with the aim of challenging the steriotypes of the homeless.

Out of all the people who attented, we recieved only one piece of feedback that could be interpreted as constructive criticism, every other piece of feedback we recieved was positive, and we had around 25% of the visitors ask about volunteering within the homeless system in the future.

Charlie Hardwick (Stage name "Val" from Emmerdale) also attended the event and the feedback we recieved from her was incredible, she was amazed at the work that was done by the young people and she loved the idea of the project and where we want to take the project in the future.

Our plans for the future are to turn this project into a national campaign to change the leglislation surrounding homelessness, and the support available.

There are a couple of photo's attatched, although more photo's are on the way :D

Posted by: James McNaughton, Fri, Oct 8, 2010

Poster ^^

Here's one of the posters we'll be using to advertise our event. I think I done quite well considering it was all done on Powerpoint =-\ .....

Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Sep 7, 2010

Slowly Coming Together

Everythings slowly but surely coming together now, the venue for the event has been paid for, all the materials have been paid for and have already arrived, and we have a handful of organisations wanting to work with us on this project :) Everythings going well.

Yesterday we took a trip to Your Choice Homes in Regent Centre, Newcastle to visit the Youth Voice Forum, a group of young people who have all suffered from homelessness at some point in their lives, they gave their personal stories about how they became homeless, the troubles they faced whilst homeless, their experience of life in hostels, and where they are at with their lives right now. They also took their time to create their own houses for the ''Any Street'' installation which is quickly taking form now.

The cover for the leaflets we will be handing out to promote the event has nearly been finished too, it's still a very rough draft of the leaflet though...

Posted by: James McNaughton, Tue, Aug 24, 2010


Since the websites being a tool I'll put the description of the project on here :)

The first event will be held at the Holy Biscuit Art Gallery in Newcastle on October 7th, and the main installation called "Any Street" is a cardboard street of houses and flats with young peoples stories of their experiences whilst homeless.

Also on show will be a DVD titled "Young And Homeless" and is created by young people telling their stories of homelessness and what they think should be changed in regards to the homelessness system.

There will also be drama scenes acted out based on homelessness on the day of the event, as well as other intereactive shows on display.

Posted by: James McNaughton, Sun, Aug 8, 2010

If you need any help or support with your Think Big project then get in touch with the Think Big Team at:

Think Big Email: hello@o2thinkbig.co.uk

Think Big Helpline: 0800 902 0250

Think Big Facebook group page: O2 Think Big