We've been working with Manchester Central Foodbank since January 2020 on a large-scale creative co-production project designed to give foodbank users a steer in their own narratives of poverty, challenging traditional media portrayals of who foodbank users are.
Before COVID-19, the programme was going to include a series of creative workshops, responsive risograph publications, oral histories and three exhibitions taking place at The Whitworth, Manchester Central Library and The University of Manchester. We were also working alongside creative students in Manchester to explore creative distribution and activism techniques in raising awareness of these individual stories.
Since the pandemic our project has taken a different direction, and we have had to pivot our outputs, methods of engagement and understand further the accessibility issues that come with working with a difficult to reach demographic in a national lockdown.
Currently we are working on creating activity packs to be distributed in food parcels for clients. Keeping good mental health practices is important during this period and with libraries and community resources closed, many won't be able to access computers, films or any of the other things everyone has been keeping themselves active with. The packs are designed to help recipients express their wishes for the future, consider utopia and build their political voice.
The second part of the project continues our work platforming stories and narratives of poverty in an online creative archive, hearing the voices of people who have faced difficulties throughout lockdown.
For more up to date information on the project or ways to get involved follow our Instagram.