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Artistic approach to research recognised at national awards ceremony

26th March 2015

Academics from Northumbria University, Newcastle have received national recognition for their creative approach to bringing homelessness research to life.

The LARIA (Local Area Research + Intelligence Association) Research Impact Awards recognise the impact of research at a local level, and showcase the very best work from members. Research Fellows, Adele Irving and Oliver Moss, who both work within Northumbria’s Social Sciences and Languages department, won first place in the ‘Most engaging presentation of local area research’ category at an awards ceremony this week (24 March).

The pair were recognised for their research project, entitled Imaging homelessness in a city of care, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Using an innovative participatory mapping approach, the project sought to explore the everyday lives and concerns of homeless people in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  

It culminated in an exhibition of annotated maps and other images launched at Newcastle City Library as part of the 2014 ESRC Festival of Social Science (1-8 November).

The exhibition's centrepiece was a composite map created by artist and former Innocent Drinks creative, JoJo Oldham. The exhibition later toured around five hostels and day centres, various public spaces and two homelessness conferences; thus making the work widely accessible to a range of audiences.

Michael Rowe, Head of Social Sciences and Languages, Northumbria University, said: “The exhibition uses maps of the city to illustrate how homeless people experience life in Newcastle. The maps bring social science to life in really exciting ways and help engage the public in a way that other forms rarely do. I’m delighted that Adele and Oliver have won this award, the project is truly ground-breaking”.

Neil Wholey, Chair, LARIA, said: "The team clearly cared about the people they were researching and the lives they lead. This approach helps everyone in the public sector think about the people behind the numbers and understand why the work of local area researchers matters."

Brent Council and Cambridgeshire Research Group were shortlisted for the award.

image: Bringing homelessness research to life through an artist’s map



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