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Celebration for Emmaus Charity Artist in Residence for Encounter Festival

27 October 2023

Emmaus Charity Artist in Residence for Encounter Festival

Emmaus Charity Artist in Residence for Encounter Festival

Encounter Festival, the annual celebration of art, culture, and community, is proud to shine a spotlight on an inspiring project that has added a new strand to this year's festivities. The 'p/reloved' initiative, led by the talented artist Joseph Doubtfire, has captured the essence of creativity and connected with local charities, charity shops, and the Preston community.

This pilot project was conceived as an exploration of how materials purchased from charity shops could be transformed into captivating artworks. It aimed to create meaningful partnerships with charity shops, initiate customer conversations, and delve into the interesting stories behind preloved items. The project stands as a testament to the power of art to uncover the hidden narratives that surround us.

Joseph Doubtfire launched this artistic journey with a vision to discover the distinctive charm of second-hand goods and the sentimental value attached to them. His engagement with customers and donators revealed a treasure trove of memories and emotions, highlighting the impact that preloved items can have on our lives.

One of the outstanding supporters of this endeavour has been Emmaus Preston, a charity that champions social inclusion. Emmaus Preston not only opened its doors to Joseph Doubtfire but also shared its philosophy and facilitated engaging conversations with customers. They generously offered their window space for the display of the artist's creations, further enhancing the connection between art and community.

Emmaus Preston provides a home for people with experience of homelessness and meaningful work in a social enterprise. In Preston, this involves the sale of preloved items and some new goods at three charity shops in the city.

One of the people supported by Emmaus Preston, Lee said:

"Emmaus Preston is more than just a charity shop, it is a charity helping people in Preston to build back from homelessness."

Lee became homeless after he was forced to close his business in event photography during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added:

"We all work together in the charity shops to raise money by reusing what other people no longer need. So, it was a pleasure to welcome Joseph and his artwork, in-store to help us explain what resonates so much with Emmaus Preston supporters."

In addition to Emmaus, Joseph Doubtfire collaborated with Integrate, a charity specialising in recycling wood and supporting adults with learning disabilities. Integrate played a crucial role in crafting the base frames for the artwork, aligning with the project's sustainable and inclusive ethos.

Joseph Doubtfire, the Charity Shop Artist in Residence for Encounter Festival, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, saying:

"It's been a fantastic opportunity to test the idea of being a 'charity shop artist in residence', and as well as new work made with preloved materials, it's been wonderful to connect with local charities and charity shops — who have all been really supportive of the project. I'm looking forward to developing the project and continuing to turn my frequent browsing of bric-a-brac shelves into a more productive activity!"

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture at Preston City Council, said:

"The innovative aspect of this project lies in its commitment to charity at every stage of the art-making process. By sourcing materials from charity shops, collecting people's stories and interests, and finding ways to make art that reflects the rich history of preloved items, Joseph Doubtfire has not only created brilliant artworks but also contributed to the charitable ecosystem in Preston."

Joseph Doubtfire's vision for the future as the Charity Shop Artist in Residence is equally inspiring. He plans to continue collaborating with charity shops to acquire materials, gather people's stories, and create art that resonates with the spirit of second-hand treasures. The project is set to expand, welcoming other artists who share a passion for working with charity shop materials.

Furthermore, the project aspires to make every stage of the art-making process charitable, from sourcing materials to selling the final works. This approach reflects the project's commitment to creating art with a purpose, one that enriches the community and supports the valuable work of local charities.

The 'p/reloved' initiative by Joseph Doubtfire stands as a shining example of the transformative power of art and collaboration, Joseph has created a zine about his experience. Encounter Festival is honoured to be a part of this remarkable journey.

Mark your calendars for Encounter Festival, 20th - 22nd September 2024, a celebration that brings together heritage, art, and community in an extraordinary fusion of creativity.

More information

About Encounter Festival

Encounter Festival is an authentic voice for Lancashire, celebrating the breadth of the County's diverse cultural offer with high quality and high-profile arts. Taking place at the end of September, Encounter Festival sees the city of Preston buzzing with life and alight with creativity. The past Encounters have seen an array of spectacular performances, inspiring arts and impressive music, bringing spectators to their feet.

About The UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government's Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

About Arts Council England 

Arts Council Englandis the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let's Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. 

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with almost 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government's unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Funds

About Emmaus Preston

Emmaus Preston supports people with experience of homelessness by providing a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.

  • The charity has three charity shops, selling second hand and new low-cost white goods and furniture. Emmaus Preston Homeware Store on Lowthian Street, PR1 2ES, and Emmaus Preston Fishergate Store, Emmaus Preston Fashion, Vintage and Retro both located on Fishergate in Preston.
  • Social enterprise is central to the Emmaus model as it provides meaningful work for companions but also generates funding to maintain communities.
  • Companions living in Emmaus communities are expected to sign off all benefits, with the exception of housing benefit, which is used to help to support the community. The rest of the funding that is needed is generated through social enterprise and fundraising.
  • There are currently 30 Emmaus communities across the country, supporting more than 850 companions (formerly homeless people) in the UK. In addition, there are three Emmaus groups, all of which are working towards setting up an Emmaus community in their area

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