We are still seeking financial assistance to support the UNSEEN Project in raising funds for services for women who are experiencing homelessness and housing in security. The Women’s Electoral Lobby have supplied the tax deductible donations portal to assist this being realised.
The UNSEEN multimedia arts projectis a collaboration between Blur Projects and the Women Electoral Lobby NSW, which gives voice to the faces behind the statistics of women’s homelessness. The visibility of women experiencing homelessness in our community is hidden as a result of linked factors including the historical association of homelessness with older alcoholic men, combined with the need of women experiencing homelessness to avoid stigma and maintain a sense of independence; fear and concern for safety; and an expectation that service contact will not satisfactorily resolve their situation. Often this is done to protect their pride and themselves from further discriminatory treatment. As a result, while some women do approach homeless support services, many stay under the radar and have little or no involvement with services. Unless the women who have or who are experiencing homelessness have the opportunity to stand up and speak out, the community cannot be afforded the opportunity to understand the nature and scale of this problem. Removing this barrier is the objective of the UNSEEN multi-media project.
UNSEEN offers an innovative opportunity to empower artists to bring women from diverse backgrounds together. UNSEEN is multimedia project sharing the hidden experiences of women and homelessness. Some women experiencing homelessness sleep rough, however, many others remain UNSEEN, hidden from view through fear of stigmatisation. The UNSEEN car reflects the hidden nature of their experiences of homelessness and housing insecurity and how, for others a car is the only safe place to live with their children. Too often these women are told to ‘move on’ by people living in nearby houses. The UNSEEN couch recognises how women who experience housing insecurity often “couch surf’ between the homes of friends and family, hoping to not wear out their welcome. The UNSEEN tiny house highlights how the Australian housing market lacks affordable rental housing and the tightly targeted social housing with long waiting lists. UNSEEN offers women who have, or are experiencing homelessness, to engage with artists and advocates to generate greater public awareness of the impact homelessness has had or is having on their lives. By sharing their stories, the women provide a first-hand insight into the diversity of who finds themselves homeless and why. Some women have chosen to remain anonymous and translate their stories in private, while others have choosen to disclose all or part of their identities through creative expressions of song, theatre, poetry, sculpture, writing or weaving. The purpose of UNSEEN is to ensure the voices of women who have, or are experiencing homelessness are included in conversations about which can inform and improve social policy.
Between March and December 2021, the UNSEEN Tiny House, UNSEEN Car and UNSEEN Couch will be temporarily installed in various locations across in the Sydney CBD in conjunction with monthly events including International Women’s Day, Youth Homelessness Week, Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, Elder Abuse Awareness Day, White Ribbon, Homeless Awareness Week, Homelessness Awareness week, RUOK?, World Mental Health Week, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The artists, who include women who have experienced homelessness or are currently homeless, will be using arts as a tool for advocacy to create a platform for the voices and narrative surrounding women’s experiences of homelessness. UNSEEN’s artists include First Nations weaver Nadeena Dixon, artists with disability multi-media artists Belinda Mason, Denise Beckwith and Deter Knierim and Elder in Residence Aunty Dixie Link Gordon.
In August 2021, during Homelessness Week the content created by all the artists and women participants will be showcased as an exhibition at NSW Parliament House and a forum UNSEEN Tiny House will feature as part of Sydney’s VIVIS Ideas. Launched at a fund-raising dinner to create the podcast series and raise money for the women to take their stories to the 2022 United Nations Commission of the Status of Women in New York. A documentary of the women will be produced by Dieter Knierim with the intent to offer the short film to the ABC and the Sydney Film Festival for 2023.
UNSEEN thanks all those who have engaged with us to realise this project
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