As part of our #HOMEinspires programme we’re exhibiting a selection of works from the visual arts engagement project, Trashformations. This project was facilitated by M.A.S.H. (Manchester Action on Street Health)*, a charity for female sex workers in Manchester, that provides valuable services for health, addiction and housing. Over the last twelve months M.A.S.H have been holding drop-in sessions at their centre in Ardwick, with participating women contributing single ideas to pieces of collage, painting and everything in between, with all contributions equally valued and enjoyed.
Working with artist Rachel Shore, participants were asked to transform photos of rundown, neglected Manchester streets into new artistic pieces of their own. Through this process, these new artists were able to let their imaginations free, express themselves and reflect their experiences: turning an image of something trashed and broken into something treasured and beautiful.
An emerging theme during the project was the juxtaposition between the neglected and abandoned parts of our city and its people, in comparison to the commercial investment and regeneration taking place, a contrast becoming increasingly defined.
Many of the participants from M.A.S.H have experienced extreme social disadvantage, traumatic histories and issues with addiction. Through Trashformations, they connected with one another and contributed to a public project allowing self-expression and showcasing talent. The project has provided many inspiring moments, with hidden poets and passionate artists sharing their work. Trashformations has also ran workshops in conjunction with WomenMatta and Women’s Direct Access, in which creative contributions were made and shared amongst each other.
“It’s been a different way of looking at what art is, it’s not just about painting pretty pictures.” – Holly, M.A.S.H
“Thanks for listening to my ideas. It means a lot that someone appreciates them.” – Amanda, Women’s Direct Access
The project has been funded by Arts Council England and facilitated by arts engagement worker, Rachel Shore. The original photographs of abandoned parts of Ancoats and Piccadilly were taken by local photographer, Shari Denson.
Thanks to the services, individuals and organisations that have helped develop the vision for the Trashformations project and given their support. This includes Volunteer Creative Assistant, Jaz Stokes, Publicity Consultant, Lucie Fitzpatrick and all the staff and volunteers at M.A.S.H for their commitment and encouragement throughout.
*M.A.S.H services are offered through an outreach van and also within a drop in centre based in Ardwick.