The Division Bell

Refuge from the Ravens Celebration Day, 17 May 2023. Foreground, Richard veteran from Tom Harrison House, Tim Farron MP (speaking), Helen Featherstone, Director Heritage Fund North (background). Photo Julia Grime.

On 17 May 2023, The Refuge From the Ravens project was exhibited at The Houses of Parliament. The event featured performances by seven project participants Dom, Delyth, Amy, Tass, Richard, Ian and Astrid. Attendees included Tim Farron MP, Director of the Heritage Fund, North, Helen Featherstone, Stephen Parkinson the Arts Minister, Michael McGregor, Jeff Cowton and Mark Bains the Director, Curator and Development Manager from Wordsworth Grasmere, the press team from Crisis and David Tovey from Arts and Homelessness International, among many others, including several Lords!

Project participant Delyth writes about the divisions and the things in common that draw borderlines between those who rule us and those who have experienced homelessness.

Westminster: worlds away from homelessness and the ebb of society. There’s a separation in existences which can only be bridged by common humanity. If we could eschew the pursuit of wealth and drive our energies into better for all, imagine what we could achieve. All these unnecessary divisions; are the excesses of wealth remotely worth the human damage it causes?

Better in all directions is better for all. A better world is more important than profits. But this truth is difficult to swallow when many deny the brutalised reality others live. And from the other side, people hate those in power for disregarding their existence, hate them not just for the sheer privilege they flout, but for not facing the realities most of us must encounter. The illusion of choice, propping up the idea that they’d never do that if it were them on the streets. If you never need to, how can you know?

Certain ethics are expensive, luxury goods for Lord and Lady Bountiful. Looking generous and kind is easy when you have plenty of resources to give from.

We must remember we are ourselves and humans before any of the other boxes we are categorised as and used to divide us. We have lost our human connection and must reclaim it: the statement of common humanity always rings true if we could just hear it above the cacophony of clamour for more.

LDHAS, street homeless support centre, Lancaster. Photo: Philip Davenport