Homeless History of Newcastle Project and Crisis Skylight Announce ‘Missing Pieces’ Exhibition

Opening 22 February at venues across Newcastle, 'Missing Pieces' is a unique and fascinating new exhibition exploring the history of homelessness in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This free exhibition is the work of the Heritage Lottery Funded 'Homeless History of Newcastle' project which has worked to team up Crisis Skylight Newcastle staff and members (service users) with historian Kristopher McKie and museum curator David Wright.

 The aim is to explore local archives in the search for evidence of homelessness in the city's past. 'Missing Pieces' will feature rarely seen documents and photographs from the archives, as well as personal storiesfrom past and present to find out what history can tell us about the ongoing homelessness crisis in Britain. ‘Missing Pieces’ provides us with a fleeting glimpse into the lives and experiences of those who have been homeless in historic Newcastle.

Says Kristopher McKie, Project Lead, “We believe that a crisis as deeply rooted as homelessness cannot be viewed in isolation from its history.”He continues, “This exhibition aims to give a glimpse into this history and finds out what it can tell us about homelessness; its causes and its effects on people, and where our attitudes and ideas about homelessness have come from.”

The Homeless History of Newcastle team worked alongside Crisis service members to explore Newcastle’s cultural organisations, such as museums and galleries, and reveal the gaps in their narratives - to challenge the omission of historic homelessness from the history of the city. These gaps were used to inform the narrative of ‘Missing Pieces’, to form questions around why the information is missing, and identify what this shows around attitudes to homelessness, both throughout history and in the present-day.

The exhibition is the result of a year of research and aims to use historical archives to highlight present issues around homelessness: mending the gap between the past and present. The fragments of information from the past highlight the lack of visibility given to homeless history and the invisibility homeless figures in Newcastle have experienced. The exhibition aims to provoke questions from its visitors and encourage them to consider current attitudes towards homelessness, specifically in present-day Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Missing Pieces opens 22 February and will run through early 2019 in the following venues: Newcastle City Library, St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Discovery Museum, Laing Art Gallery, Bessie Surtees House