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​Art has always been known as a therapeutic outlet. But can it be used to make a difference?

Student-Led Projects, Art Without a HomeDouble Exposure and UCL Film Society, have shown that sharing the skill can be a valuable outlet for those experiencing homelessness. Working with One Housing Group, a charity working to provide quality homes for those struggling to find a place to stay, UCL volunteers held workshops in different art forms, such as sketch and painting, and the use of film cameras to help capture stories into a productive form of expression.

Their final exhibition showcased a culmination of a year’s worth of work on the students’ part: coordinating a project of this size involved working with a variety of people on the various aspects of project management. Representatives from Art Without a Home found it to be challenging, yet extremely fulfilling to see their work come to fruition: working together on art and getting to hear people’s stories as they worked made the whole experience worthwhile. 

Every aspect of the exhibition was carefully planned: the documentary produced by UCL Film Society is a novel work that used smartphone cameras and audio to capture the stories of people running and participating in the project. The project lead, Alexandra, said that she got her inspiration from a workshop on media practices of capturing current events in Cambodia – and in the future she hopes to run similar projects where filmmaking becomes a part of the workshop’s content. Who would’ve thought volunteering presented so many creative possibilities?

The celebratory speeches at the end are filled with chocolates and flowers – to see the strength of the bonds made through this immense collaboration is heart-warming. Events like these demonstrate how UCL students can make a significant impact in their local community and change the world around them by starting at the university’s doorstep.

Written by Anoushka Gandhi- UCL Photojournalist.

You can find opportunities to volunteer with people experiencing homelessness on our Directory. 

Or, if you’re inspired by the amazing work of Art Without A Home, Double Exposure and UCL Film Society - why not think about setting up your own community project?