The Slaughterhouse Club was our participatory arts project with homeless vulnerable Londoners struggling with booze and addiction issues. The project ran for forty weeks per year for 5 years from 2015 until 2020. We were based at Robertson Street Hostel in Battersea, and Graham House and Martha Jones House in Vauxhall. Above is a film of the highlights.
Five specialist artist facilitators – Mark Whitelaw, Robin Whitmore, Tim Brunsden, Tris Bellotti & Anna Magnowska – served on this challenging project. The participants – about 45 hostel residents regularly working throughout the year – are treated as artists and encouraged to make creative work. Together they made songs, poems, stories, short plays, animations, puppet shows, slide shows, paintings, films and videos. All of the work happens behind closed doors, but some of the films are available to view below on the Duckie website.
The Slaughterhouse Club engaged residents of the hostels to connect with themselves and their community through the creation of these arts activities - to aid harm minimisation and personal growth. The work is very delicate and the hostel environment is very unpredictable. Our participants lead chaotic lives, and struggle with entrenched alcohol and drug addictions, fragile mental health and often run-ins with the authorities. Most of the work was one-to-one, drawing out creativity through personal conversations and developing inventive exercises.
The Slaughterhouse Club was produced by Duckie in association with Thames Reach Hostels and funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Vauxhall One.
“Drink and drugs are used to numb deep emotional pain. Art, even when it is dark, is life affirming because it is the result of a creative act. Even when what is being created is a representation of the artist’s own anguish, the fact that their energy is being directed away from themselves into the creation of something outside of themselves is a very positive act. The unexpected happens whenever you make art. You can never recreate what is in your head, but it is in the gap between your intention and the physical result that your humanity is revealed. Our role as facilitators is to enable the participants to see and believe in their own humanity.” Robin Whitmore, Artist, Duckie
To give the public a flavour of the work, below are seight short films made recently by the participants.
Also check out this Podcast on Soundcloud.
Two of the flmmakers - James and Mark - have passed away since the making of their films.