Homeless Art Exhibition ‘My Manchester’ Hits Chapter One Books

Over 20 homeless people are exhibiting their Manchester-inspired art through photography, sculpture and poetry from March 2nd till April 1st.


Annual figures show that homelessness is an increasing problem for Manchester, with the number of people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester rising by nearly 50 per cent in a year.

Manchester Booth Centre – a charity dedicated to helping homeless people rebuild their lives, decided to approach homelessness in a different way; through creativity. The homeless people that attended their art workshop were given a disposable camera and were asked to go out to capture art.

The ‘My Manchester’ photography exhibition is located in the independent bookshop Chapter One Books in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The touring exhibition is showcasing work of photographers that have experienced homelessness in Manchester and captures different perspectives of the city.

‘My Manchester’ Photography Exhibition


The photographs featured in the exhibition were taken by both the homeless community of Manchester and by more experienced photographers.

The smaller printed photographs were disposables taken by the homeless and ex-homeless community and shows their different views of the city.

The larger printed photographs were taken by those with more photography experience. The photographs in this part of the exhibition were chosen by different members of the homeless community for their own particular reasons. Their reasons for choosing the exhibited photographs can be found underneath them.


Mr Streetwise


‘Mr Streetwise’ is a sculpture created by ex-homeless and Booth Centre volunteer Danny Collins, who played a huge role in the exhibition.

Danny, 60, originally from Liverpool, was on the streets for four and a half years but was housed a couple of months ago. He believes that the sculpture is a ‘representation of his former self’ and has said that he aims to ‘get people thinking about homelessness’.

All of the artwork was made out of scrap material found in skips and the sculpture wears Danny’s own clothes from when he was sleeping on the streets.

Small poems written by some of the homeless people of Manchester have been stuck onto Mr Streetwise and Danny has said that “Mr Streetwise has become a part of me. I don’t want him stuck in the corner somewhere, this is what I wanted. I wanted people to read the poems and see their reactions”


He says the project has been a moral boost for people often lacking confidence as a result of living on the streets and has praised the Booth Centre for it’s work with Manchester’s homeless problem. Talking to Danny he said that the Booth Centre “put the confidence back in him” and that “it was nice to find a place and be able to go in for a couple of hours in the day and forget your homeless” 


Danny’s poem

The Booth Centre hope that the project will get rid of the stigma associated with homeless people and that awareness through art will push people to donate.

When talking to Danny about whether or not he believed that the government could do more to help the homeless he replied:

“I don’t want to make this a political matter. With this project we want to change current opinions about homeless people through art awareness. Comments and feedback mean more than anything and we hope that this will make the public come back to fight for us”

The public were invited to write comments and stick them on the wall to offer moral support for those who were involved in the project.

Lauren Ward, 22, a University of Manchester student that attended the exhibition said “this exhibition really opens your eyes to life on the streets. The different photos tell a story of hardship but also hope”.

The Booth Centre continues to work with homelessness in Manchester and needs donations to fund similar projects.

“Projects like this wouldn’t be possible without public donations. We are a non-funded charity so we need money for art materials. Buying equipment in bulk really eats away the budget, but we think that engaging in the homeless community in this way is really helpful”

The Passion

The Booth Centre are currently working on a new fully-staged opera that will take place on the 25th March – 26th March.

The production stars performers who have experienced homelessness from Streetwise Opera Manchester, groups from the Booth Centre and professional singers and instrumentalists from The Sixteen.

The Passion trailer:


For more information about what The Booth Centre plan on doing in the future visit their website:

Chapter One Books – Keeping Independent bookshops Alive in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

The number of independent bookshops on British high streets has fallen below 1,000 – a third fewer than nine years ago, amongst competition from supermarkets, e-books and Amazon.

Booksellers have warned that the future of the publishing industry is at risk as new figures revealed more than 500 independent outlets have closed since 2005.

Booksellers Associates chief executive Tim Godfray said:

“Everyone should sit up and take notice of this.

“The book trade, the government and the general public need to realise that if we don’t take action now, the future of our bookshops – and therefore the health of the publishing industry and reading itself – is at risk”. (Read his blog on the topic here).

Although digital publishing trends have taken their toll on independents, surviving UK booksellers must act quickly to prevent extinction and reinvent themselves to create a sustainable future.

Chapter One Books located on Lever Street is the Northern Quarter’s first independent bookstore. Opened in Autumn last year, it aims to encourage customers to not only read great works but also attempt to create their own.


With over 4,000 square feet of unique, hand-picked titles, a spacious café and an events space for live readings and book launches, the bookstore has already impressed many literacy lovers.

The store has a main focus on fiction but also covers areas such as biographies, personal development, art, entertainment, religion, spirituality, travel and languages.



Christine Cafun and Lyndsy Kirman, sister owners of the indie bookstore have said they will focus on titles which aren’t available elsewhere and will regularly change their stock.

Their coffee shop is also a huge success – making up most of their financial income.

Kirman said:

“It’s fair to say that our wonderful coffee has been keeping Chapter One Books financially alive.

“With other coffee shops in the Northern Quarter opening at the same time it was a worrying time for the Chapter One team.

“However, we have thankfully provided something ‘different’ in the stores ambience and something delectable in the coffee’s smooth City Warehouse roast – to a profitable effect”


Their venture is brave, with low profit margins and high overheads: Waterstones founder Tim Waterstone has warned against new openings and highlighted a digitised new era dominated by corporations.

“Book sales for us so far have been so so. We have sold over 20% of our starting stock which is great but we had greater ambitions” the sisters said.

The importance of independent bookstores is still prominent and the sisters believe that the authenticity of reading a great book shouldn’t die out.

Cafun said:

“Picking a book to read in a bookshop, with the smell of the pages, the gold foil, the clothbound cover and the quality in the weight of a real book is as much fun as reading the book itself, something an e-book can’t do for you.”

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The ‘reading nook’ area

The freedom of owning an independent bookstore means that the store hosts a number of  events that wouldn’t be seen in mainstream bookshops.

This month over 20 homeless people will be exhibiting their Manchester-inspired art through photography, sculpture and poetry at the ‘My Manchester’ event. The event takes place from March 2nd till April 1st. (Read my blog about the event here)


Independent bookstores are in constant need of support. Why not pay Chapter One Books a visit next time you visit Manchester’s Northern Quarter?

What’s on at Chapter One Books

Chapter One Books website


Curry and conversation – No Such Thing event

Manchester’s Kabana Curry Cafe is hosting a monthly event entitled ‘No Such Thing’ where you get a free lunch in exchange for half an hour of conversation.

No Such Thing is a long term project set up by Quarantine to engage strangers in conversation over a meal. The non-profit organisation, that makes original performance and public events, believes that the event will make strangers engage in ways they never thought they would before

“We talk about stuff we’re thinking about, things that are on our mind, what’s happening in the world. We hope that you will too.”

For each event you are given a lunch and a menu of conversation topics that you can choose from. On the menu there will always be a ‘Today’s special’ which is something current and topical.

For more information about upcoming events visit the website:

Quarantine No Such Thing

Afflecks first creative space hits 5 month mark

Affleck’s first creative space has hit its 5 month mark.

Described as a place where shoppers can show off their creative side, anybody can use the space to paint, write, draw, perform and recite poetry.

Established in October 2015, Afflecks Creatives has grown into an independent space which celebrates and promotes creativity.

Poet and writer Joy France was the brains behind Affleck’s first creative residence, which she believes is a “safe place” where “people have gone when they don’t know where else to go”.

Refusing PR advertisement, Afflecks Creatives hoped the space would become a place that would continue to grow and change over time. All art forms featured in the small room are donated by the public – making the space a collaborative project.

Joy said that everyday there is something different

“Art is like a domino effect. Someone writes or draws something on the wall and people build upon it. It’s amazing to see how it has all come together.”

Although the space is non-profitable, it regularly holds free events and workshops that anyone can go to and has been praised for good business as it brings diversity to the alternative department store.

Shoppers are invited to display their inner creativeness and leave their mark on Afflecks, through drawing, words or anything else, this is the space to visit and where all things  will be “shared, celebrated, fostered & recorded.”

Afflecks first creative residence can be found within the Creative Space on the 3rd floor.

Visit the Afflecks Creative Facebook page by clicking on the link below:

Afflecks Creatives Facebook

Visit the Afflecks Creative Tumblr page by clicking on the link below:

Afflecks Creatives Tumblr