In November last year, a creative collaboration between Arts at the Old Fire Station (AOFS) and Crisis Skylight led to an exhibition that has had a far-reaching impact on both those who participated in the project and those who subsequently viewed the results.
ICON brought together Crisis members – people with experience of homelessness – to work with internationally renowned photographer Rory Carnegie and both Crisis and AOFS staff to recreate and exhibit a series of iconic British photographs; think of that memorable image of the Bullingdon Club (complete with two future Prime Ministers) or the engagement portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
Oxford Executive was a proud supporter of the project because, like AOFS, we believe that everyone has potential and everyone deserves the opportunity to explore and hopefully fulfil that potential.
AOFS has recently published a report – Evaluating impact through storytelling – which outlines the impact of ICON on those who took part. There are many themes in the narratives provided by participants that reflect the positive learning experiences that we hear from the people and teams that we coach. For example, the ICON report shows that the people involved learnt how to collaborate, felt a part of something, discovered new things about themselves and built confidence, developed creatively, made connections and felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Support, clarity, structure and flexibility were key to achieving a successful outcome for the diverse group of 24 Crisis members involved – as was the sense of feeling valued – and these are key factors in any type of positive teamwork activity.
The ICON project was emblematic of what makes the Old Fire Station such a special place – it was a product of a deep collaboration between AOFS and Crisis, which brought together Crisis members, artists, staff and members of the public to re-imagine what constitutes an iconic image. As one collaborator said, “I was much happier being part of that group than I ever thought I would be, because it’s very easy to find fault with things… If you’ve got people with all different abilities, different points of view and so on. But it was ‘leave your ego at the door’. Do your best, do your bit. Appreciate what everybody else is doing. “
We couldn’t say it better. The final exhibition was visited by around 7,000 people with wide coverage on social media and in both local and national press, including an article in The Sunday Times. You can read all about ICON, the participants stories and enjoy the wonderful photographs the group created here.
The full report is available here.