Home Truths Creative Symposium

Posted on: 29 February 2016

Written by: Molly

On Saturday 20th February, Cardboard Citizens and Camden People’s Theatre hosted Home Truths Creative Symposium, bringing together emerging theatre makers and housing activists to ask the question ‘What can theatre do about housing?’.

Led by our CEO and Artistic Director Adrian Jackson, the event was attended by 60 artists and housing activists who took part in open space discussions and theatre workshops. The day featured provocations from frontline activists and leading experts, including Betsy Dillner, Director of Generation Rent, the historian and blogger Municipal Dreams, Professor of Contemporary British History Professor Nicholas Crowson, and representatives of London Housing Campaigns. We were also lucky enough to have a group of Cardboard Citizens’ Members in attendance on the day, who were able to share their own experiences and perspectives of the housing system.

Supported by the breadth of information provided, working groups provoked creative responses to the issue of housing in the UK, considering what role theatre can play in shaping a national conversation about the history of housing and current housing crisis. We were hugely impressed by the scope and energy of the empowering conversations that took place, and we are inspired by the thought of future partnerships, collaborations and developments between theatre-makers, activists and historians that will certainly come out of the event. From hearing about the successes of the Save Cressingham campaign to the difficulties of hostel life, it was agreed by all that theatre has an increasingly important role in humanising housing issues and challenging stereotypes in order to bring these ever-relevant matters to life.

Here is just a selection of the incredibly positive feedback we have received since the event:

Alex Sayers – Participant
I wanted to say a massive thank you for Saturday's incredible workshops, discussions, and talks. They were truly inspiring and it was very special to spend the day with such imaginative people. I particularly loved how each discussion challenged the role of the arts, rather than ever going for the easier, pat-on-the-back route. It made me think lots of things I hadn't quite formulated in my own head, and spurred on other, half-formed ideas into tangible actions. I felt very lucky indeed to participate in the Theatre of the Oppressed workshop: what a super-charged and powerful way to look at changing the story.

Laura Lindsay - participant
Thank you very much for the fantastic event on Saturday. It was really informative and creatively inspiring. I have no doubt some great work and collaborations will come out of the event.

Alice Ashton – participant
Saturday was such an amazing day! Perfectly run, really inspiring, great mix of people/ experiences/ informants-all in all really glad we made it!

Ailin Conant – Theatre Timoin / Participant
This was an incredible day, very good balance of expert information and networking / discussion, and the combination of people that Cardboard Citizens drew together was truly dynamic. I was inspired as were many others, I think we'll see a lot of playful activism and activist theatre coming out of this event.

Heather Kennedy – Provocation Leader – Hackney Digs
I think it was one of the most charming and engaged groups of people I’ve ever delivered a session to! I came away having made some very useful connections and feeling generally encouraged by the talented and committed people who are part of our growing movement to solve the housing crisis.

Nick Rawling – Participant
There was a groundswell of feeling from people that change was possible although hard!!!

Following this event, through the support of Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Cardboard Citizens hope to support the development of selected projects inspired by the issues raised, in partnership with Camden People’s Theatre. You can still join in on the day’s conversations by tweeting at us using #TheatreforHousing

The Creative Symposium supports the development of Home Truths, Cardboard Citizens’ exciting new multi-year artistic season of work which will explore the history of housing in the UK over the past 150 years. Watch this space!

With thanks to

Arts Council England Lottery funded