Cardboard chronicles — writing the homeless into history
The scourge of homelessness and rough sleeping have been around for centuries, yet the stories of people who lack access to housing, sustenance or security are largely missing from the history books.
On 22 November, theatre company Cardboard Citizens, in partnership with the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, will challenge researchers, activists, actors and artists to answer the question, ‘How can we find ways to listen to the voices of those who lack access to housing, sustenance or security?’.
‘Seen and not heard: the untold history of homelessness’, which takes place in London’s Whitechapel from 6.30 – 9.30, will engage the public in a debate about how history has shaped the way we relate to homeless people in the present.
This timely conversation, one of the events in School of Advanced Study’s Being Human festival, includes contributions from Cardboard Citizens’ artistic director Adrian Jackson, Dr Mark Price, a philosopher and official biographer of artist, Robert Lenkiewicz; and artist and book designer Esther McManus.
During the evening a short theatre production based (verbatim) on Robert Lenkiewicz’s previously unpublished survey will relate compelling stories of rough sleepers in Plymouth during the 1970s. These recorded testimonies reveal the tenacity and struggle of people on the margins of British society. Tickets, priced £5, can be booked here with all proceeds going to Cardboard Citizens.
The ‘Seen and not heard: the untold history of homelessness’ workshop is part of the IHR’s ‘Stray Voices: The Unsettled History of Homelessness’ project, which explores the buried stories of homeless men and women whose voices are overlooked in the historical record.