UN director general to open Cafe Art exhibition

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in News | 0 comments

Formerly homeless women from the Cafe Art disposable camera photography projects will open an exhibition of photographs titled Women Without Walls with Mr Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva on Monday 1 October.

The Women Without Walls exhibition is made up of 20 photos by women affected by homelessness who participated in Cafe Art's project with disposable cameras, including four women from London.

Women Without Walls - Photography Exhibition, in partnership with the UNECE, UN Geneva and Cafe Art, showcases photographs taken on disposable cameras from five projects for people affected by homelessness.

See the 20 exhibition photos here

Photographs are from photography projects with homeless and recently homeless women in London, Budapest, Sydney, New Orleans and Toronto.

Three of the 20 photographers will be in Geneva at the opening event with the UN director general and also Ms Olga Algayerova, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The photos come from the MyLondon Photo Project and partner "MyCity" projects in the other cities. The annual MyLondon calendar is created after 100 cameras were given to women and men over five days. The resulting calendar is sold by the participants in the project in markets, like the Big Issue, creating an income.

This Women Without Walls: Photography Exhibition showcases photographs taken by women affected by homelessness from all over the world. The powerful images show what these women love about their cities, their friends and their families, whilst also highlighting their plight when they are homeless.

The UN describes the exhibition at illustrating the specific needs of women experiencing homelessness. "Hence, the exhibition clearly links Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls."

The opening reception will take place at 12:30 PM at the Passerelle, Building E, Palais des Nations on 1 October 2018 to celebrate World Habitat Day.

You can see these inspiring photographs from 1 - 12 October at the Passerelle, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

This exhibition is also the opening event of UNECE’s #UrbanWeek from 1-5 October 2018. Please see more information on Urban Week here:

MyLondon photographer to speak at opening event

London photographer Geraldine Crimmins will speak at opening event and also on a panel discussing women and homelessness a few days later.

"As a rough sleeper I was sexually assaulted, bullied, mugged and robbed. I would stay awake most nights and sleep during the day as it was dangerous for me to sleep alone in central London. Due to a mugging I ended up in hospital for six weeks.This led me into the system as I was in a wheelchair for a while and I was given temporary housing for four years and then social housing.

"I continued using drugs and my health worsened. Thankfully I was arrested and detoxed in prison. My head cleared and I decided to stay drug free. I got involved with Café Art volunteering and doing creative projects. This has resulted in becoming a professional artist. I feel creativity and volunteering is food for people who have been damaged by homeliness, addiction, mental health and economic hardship.

"I feel creativity and volunteering is food for people who have been damaged by homeliness, addiction, mental health and economic hardship."

Two other photographers will be at the opening exhibition along with several volunteer organisers from the mainly volunteer-run projects. Hope Magreff ​is frantically fundraising to go to Geneva from New Orleans with MyNew Orleans organiser Heather Milton and Bernadett Fekete is coming from the ​MyBudapest Photo Project.

Can you help Hope get to Geneva?

All of their photos, taken on Fujifilm QuickSnap film cameras, appeared in calendars which were sold by people affected by homelessness in their cities.

See the 20 exhibition photos here

Where DOES the money go?

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 in News | 0 comments

Money raised from selling the MyLondon calendar has helped us employ James Gray. James frames and hangs art in cafes around London.

The profits from the sale of the photos and the annual MyLondon calendar goes to the photographers and also pays for the other art projects run by Cafe Art.

Photographers, artists and calendar sellers affected by homelessness have earned more than £150,000 from selling photos and calendars since 2012. Cafe Art has paid out more money to the artists and photographers than paid staff.

We don’t have office overhead costs, as we are given free storage near Spitalfields market and we use free wifi in cafes. Cafe Art’s paid staff are director Paul Ryan and development manager Sarah Caldwell Watson. James Gray, a formerly homeless artist, began working regularly for Cafe Art this year on the Art in Cafes programme. He works two days a week and we are working on building up his hours. Cafe Art has hundreds of unpaid volunteers.

Profits from this project helps us fund:

- our art in cafes programme (this is where we get our name!): we hang art by people affected by homelessness in many independent London cafes

- This Is Where I Live, an annual exchange of paintings between homelessness-sector art groups in London, New York, Berlin, Mumbai, Auckland and Melbourne

- the mentoring programme of artists in Spitalfields Arts Market. We have been able to help artists set up a pod to sell their art this week

- the Artist in Residence programme at Old Diorama Art Centre. We buy art materials for artists who have been homeless during the residency.

Our main fundraiser is the annual MyLondon Kickstarter campaign which runs for 30 days - this year it ended on Saturday 15 September and we were successful in raising more than the goal of £7,500 to pay for the printing of the calendar.

You can now pre-order the calendar online from our shop here: 2019 MyLondon calendar We are not a charity - we don't ask for donations. We are a Community Interest Company, and our assets are "locked" to a nominated charity (in our case Homeless Link). We can't sell the company and we have to be very transparent about the money we earn! If we close the company we have to give all our assets to Homeless Link.

If you miss the Kickstarter deadline, don't worry. Either find us in Spitalfields after Monday 15 October, or order the calendar and photos on our website.

Remembering Alex

Posted by on Sep 11, 2018 in News | 0 comments

The Artist by Alex Davies

Before she died Alex Davies didn't know she had won first prize in the MyLondon Photography Contest.

I only met Alex once, or at least only once that I remember as I must have seen her when she picked up the camera, but she made a lasting impression on me.

Alex had two photos chosen for the MyLondon top 20 photos in July 2014. She had taken camera number 1 of the 100 we handed out at St Paul's Cathedral a few weeks earlier and I later found out that she had arrived early and was first in line.

I arranged to interview her in a cafe in Islington, metres from where she had taken her winning photos. While both were in the top 20 as chosen by the judges, I couldn't tell her that one of them had actually been awarded the top prize. It was of a man dressed in cream. He didn't even have his eyes open but the shot was perfect - the composition and the colour. Alex told me that it was a pity his eyes were closed as they were strikingly bright blue.

Alex's other top 20 photo was of a friend's dog that she knew from the nearby Thornhill Park.

As with all photographers, I asked Alex questions about her photos and her life. The MyLondon project features photos of London as seen by people who have been homeless, not necessarily what homelessness looks like. Alex was passionate about her art, especially her project to paint dogs as icons. She was a member of the Ten Feet Away art group run in a local church and that's how she heard about our project.

A few weeks later I emailed her the pdf of the man she had photographed in Islington. We decided to call him The Artist. She was happy to see it and I found out later that she had emailed it to several of her friends.

I didn't know that Alex suffered from depression and only found out more about her life after she died on 17 September 2014. She had been an assistant to many well known fashion designers and her job had taken her around the world. She had a loving family: her parents Tom and Sue donated all her winning prize money back to Cafe Art and we created the Alex Davies Portrait Award in her name. She also had many friends who loved her and even invited me to a moving memorial event in Islington a few months later.

One of Alex's closest friends was Janet Awe. This coming weekend Janet is cycling to Brighton from London to raise money for Cafe Art in Alex's memory. We are very grateful for this and urge people to support Janet on the fundraising page.

If you or anyone you know suffers from depression please ask for help. Here is a link to the NHS page which give contact details for many organisations.

Cafe Art fundraiser on 5 September!

Posted by on Aug 23, 2018 in News | 0 comments

MyLondon photographers launch the Kickstarter on 15 August. The fundraising event is to promote it as we strive to reach our target by 15 September!

Cafe Art is holding it's first official fundraiser at Old Diorama Arts Centre on Wednesday 5 September!

With the annual Kickstarter in full swing (it ends on Saturday 15 September), we decided to take advantage of the generous offer by Jacob Stevens at Old Diorama and have an event while exhibiting the full 2018 MyLondon exhibition.

Please join us for the event which will encourage people to order the calendar online and to encourage their friends to also so that we reach our target of £7,500. The Kickstarter has been a great way for us to sell the calendar for the past three years, but we won't be able to receive the pledged money unless we actually reach the target!

Please come to the opening at Old Diorama Arts Centre on Wednesday 5 September. We will be opening the event at 5pm and it runs until 8pm. Please book on Eventbrite here.

The photos were shown at Spitalfields in early August. This is a chance to see them if you missed that exhibition in the market.

Photographs from 70 people affected by homelessness will be exhibited at Old Diorama. All are for sale, with 50% of the sale price going to the photographers and 50% into running the project.

London & Brighton Kickstarters LIVE NOW!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2018 in News | 0 comments

The 2019 MyLondon calendar is available on Kickstarter from Wednesday 15 August at 7pm. The goal is to raise £7,500 to fund the printing of the calendar. Later, calendar will employ people who are homeless and recently homeless in London markets.

This year, as well as handing out 100 single use cameras to people in London affected by homelessness, we helped a group of volunteers do the same project in Brighton.

The MyBrighton & Hove Kickstarter will run for 30 days, and aim to pay for a large part of the printing of their calendar. It started 18.00 UK time on Wednesday 15 August. Please support this initiative on day one if you can!

The Brighton calendar is beautiful - printed on quality paper and the 13 photos were chosen from thousands taken by the participants. The price is a very affordable £8.99 if you buy on the Kickstarter!

The MyLondon calendar Kickstarter launched an hour later at 19.00.

See London top 20 exhibition here

Photos available too - 50% of profits will go to the photographers

By ordering a photograph on either the MyLondon Kickstarter or the MyBrighton & Hove Kickstarter, you support the photographers directly.

This is the sixth MyLondon and we have raised thousands of pounds for the participants in the projects since 2013. The 13 photos in the calendar were voted on by the public from 20 chosen by a selection panel made up of professional and amateur photographers from The Royal Photographic Society, Fujifilm UK, Amateur Photographer Magazine, London Photo Festival, Homeless Link and a formerly homeless photographer. We are a social enterprise and more than 50% of our profits go to artists, photographers and calendar vendors who are homeless or have recently been homeless.

Fujifilm UK provided 100 single use cameras in London and in Brighton for the two projects. A large percentage of the money earned from photo and calendar sales goes back to the participants who are or have been homeless with the rest going into the projects after

More about Brighton: Earlier this year Lucy Groenewould approached us from Brighton and we decided to help her do the MyBrighton & Hove Photo Project at the same time as the MyLondon project.

Like London, Fujifilm UK helped and provided 100 single-use cameras to run the project in Brighton. Jessops developed the film and print the photos and CarterWong are designing it for free. Like London, local Brighton people affected by homelessness who sell the calendar will earn money from selling it once it's printed.

The London Kickstarter will run for exactly 30 days and end on Saturday 15 September. Our target is £7,500 to help print 7,000 calendars.

Roger Jones checks proofs of the 2018 MyLondon calendar. CarterWong have designed the calendars for five years at no charge.

All the profits from the MyBrighton & Hove calendar will go to support the local project and there are no paid staff in Brighton.

We are hoping that by running the Kickstarters at the same time we will help the new volunteer-run Brighton project. Local Brighton people are being asked to support it, but we're telling all our supporters in the UK and overseas to buy either one or the other calendar, or both.

If you have bought the London calendar for a few years, why not support the new Brighton one? It would mean a lot for us to help this local initiative succeed. As mentioned above, you will be able to buy both calendars on either Kickstarter campaign so that you can save on the postage.

Economic uncertainty and this project

The UK economy is unstable while it leaves the EU. This year the printing costs and postage costs have gone up. However we realise that the UK buyers are going through a tough few years financially because of the Brexit trade negotiations. With such economic uncertainty we decided to freeze and price increases and the MyLondon calendar will be £9.99 again (as will the MyBrighton & Hove calendar). They will only be £9 on the Kickstarters!

How to support our Kickstarters:

Cafe Art MyBrighton & Hove 2019 calendar

Cafe Art MyLondon 2019 calendar

Cafe Art in Spitalfields Week starts soon!

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in News | 0 comments

Café Art would like to welcome you to the MyLondon Photo Project exhibition, the public vote (for the 2019 MyLondon calendar) and our artist market week at Spitalfields Art Market from the 30th of July and the 5th of August.

It’s an exciting time for us next week! Not only are we hanging a massive 227 photo exhibition from all the participating photographers that took part in the MyLondon project, when 100 one-time-use cameras were handed out for five days, but also giving you all a chance to vote on your favourite images out of the top 20 finalists! You are helping us create the 2019 calendar!

We also have been given several artist "pods" at Spitalfields Arts Market to showcase and sell artworks by our wonderful artists including James Gray’s “I dream in colour” collection, Tendekai’s “Tenze” collection and various other Café Art artists.

For the first time since we have been given the art market, our artists are working alongside, and be mentored by, professional art vendors at Spitalfields. Sara Sherwood, Steve Yates and Gary Phillips will give them advice on how to sell and showcase their work within an art market environment.

Finally, we have a selection of wonderful exhibition called “L’Atelier - Hard Gold” a collection of Senegalese art made by children that live on the streets and suffer from extreme poverty and dire circumstances. By exhibiting these works we hope to raise awareness and funds for these children to empower themselves out of poverty and violence.

We couldn’t do this without the support of all of you, so please come down to Spitalfields and immerse yourself among the all the talent and beautiful imagery that this year's artists have produced!

MyLondon exhibition in Spitalfields from 30 July

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in News | 0 comments

MYLONDON 100 cameras were handed out on Thursday 21 June at St Paul's Cathedral, resulting in more than 2,000 photos. 20 will be chosen for the public vote to decide the 2019 MyLondon calendar. Another 200 are also on display, and are for sale to earn an income for the photographers.

Photographs and art by people affected by homelessness will fill Spitalfields Arts Market next week for seven days.

The annual photography project - MyLondon - where 100 one-time-use Fujifilm cameras were given out in June has produced amazing results. The exhibition will display more than 225 photos from the cameras returned. With a theme of "my London" the participants show their view on what London looks like to them.

This is not an exhibition of what homelessness looks like. The photographers, all who have been or still are sleeping rough, are living in hostels or have recently been housed, were asked to take photos of their London. This could include homelessness, but as they photos show, show a London most of them love as much as any other Londoner.

Twenty of the photos were selected as being in the final vote. The top 13 will appear in the 2019 MyLondon calendar which will be sold by the participants and other people who have experienced homelessness. All of the participants chose three photos each and these photos were added to the main exhibition.

Also in Spitalfields Arts Market next week will be artists who are being mentored by regular market traders on how to sell their art in the market.

MyLondon Photo Project Exhibition and Cafe Art Artists in Spitalfields Arts Market, Monday 30 July to Sunday 5 August. Opening event Monday 30 July 3pm.

MyToronto film wins Canadian journalism award

Posted by on May 25, 2018 in News | Comments Off on MyToronto film wins Canadian journalism award

Anne-Marie Jackson's report on MyToronto's inaugural photo contest, exhibition and calendar project last year has won her the Single Multimedia Award at the News Photographers Association of Canada Awards.

The video was taken over several months, from the day the Fujifilm one-time-use cameras were handed out to 90 people affected by homelessness until the day the 2018 MyToronto calendar was launched in October last year.

MyToronto is run by the homelessness-sector charity Ve-ahavta who have partnered with Cafe Art and are running the project which is based on MyLondon. (see more videos from Ve-ahavta here)

MyLondon is now in its sixth year. Run by Cafe Art, it has major support from Fujifilm UK, Carter Wong design, The Royal Photographic Society, Spitalfields E1 Market, Qbic Hotels and many other partners.

MyLondon camera handout on 21 June

Posted by on May 25, 2018 in News | Comments Off on MyLondon camera handout on 21 June

MYLONDON 100 cameras will be handed out on Thursday 21 June at St Paul's Cathedral, resulting in more than 2,000 photos. 20 will be chosen for the public vote to decide the 2019 MyLondon calendar.

The 2018 MyLondon Photo Project camera handout, for people who are or have been sleeping rough, will happen at St Paul's Cathedral's Crypt is on Thursday 21 June.

Fujifilm UK are again donating the 100 one-time-use cameras. In the weeks leading up to the handout we will be visiting art groups run by homelessness-sector organisation in London to give short training sessions on how to use the camera.

When the photos are developed, participants get a set of their photos in colour and black and white and a certificate.

The exhibition will be in Spitalfields Arts Market from Monday 29 July to Sunday 5 August, ending with an Award Ceremony.Photographs on display will be for sale: photographers earn 50% of the profits from photograph sales and 20 winners share £2,000 in prize money. From October vendors can earn income from selling the calendar in the same market.

Cafe Art's focus is on helping people who have been homeless transition from benefits to earning their own money. Calendar vendors on the New Enterprise Allowance are allowed unlimited earnings and they will make up the main vendors, alongside vendors still sleeping rough who are not on benefits/government assistance.

Recent examples of vendors who have been on the New Enterprise Allowance, or are still on it, include Cafe Art photographer Geraldine Crimmins and artist James Gray.

Please email if you want to pick up a camera. Please read the contest rules to see if you qualify.

Shining a light

Posted by on May 12, 2018 in News | Comments Off on Shining a light

Shine has trained 8 people to be barristas for the new coffee shop which opened on 11 May.

Shine, a new coffee shop run by vulnerable people who have experiences either homelessness or have been in risk of homelessness, opened in Turnpike Lane London yesterday.

Dozens of local people and supporters of HAGA, recently merged with Blenheim, which has helped many people with alcohol and drug addictions of the years, were there for the opening.

Cafe Art helped with the video for the crowdfunder, based on our experience with the MyLondon Kickstarters.

Crowd funder 

Shine was funded by the public with a crowdfunder last year.

We helped with their crowdfunder run by Spacehive and the Mayor of London. After they were shortlisted to the final 25 projects, they were awarded £9,000 from the Mayor of London's fund and successfully raised £28,861 in total.

The Shine Enterprise Centre, now just "Shine", has an art gallery theme with local artists in recovery and Cafe Art was very happy to be asked to hang a retrospective MyLondon exhibition which is by people affected by homelessness.

The furniture was bought with the crowdfund money but extra stuff was built by clients of the centre. Kevin says last minute requests of stuff, and help painting the coffee shop, came from many volunteers.

Shine will be open weekdays from 10am-5pm for the first few months. The address is 89-91 Turnpike Lane. The closest tube station is Turnpike Lane on the Piccadilly line.

Opening day in Shine which will be open to the public next week.

Kevin Farrell with the Mayor of Haringey and a supporter.

Cafe Art has been given a wall to exhibit a retrospective of MyLondon.

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