How it all started
I AM MORE THAN is a project that grew from a conversation that Janie Pamment, the Service Manager at the SIG EQUINOX Brighton Women’s Service (BWS), had with a woman experiencing homelessness. At the time, she was a drug and alcohol outreach worker for Equinox, a homelessness charity that supports women experiencing homelessness.
“One evening, I was sitting with a young woman experiencing homelessness, watching a team put up a large tent to be used as a performance venue by St Peter’s church. She asked me what was going on, and I told her about the Brighton Fringe Festival and what it was. She told me it wasn’t for people like her, and that’s when I was really struck by how marginalised people experiencing homelessness are and how disconnected from their own community they are. From this came the idea to support women to create art that connected them back to their community.”
About the exhibition
I AM MORE THAN supports women in Brighton who are experiencing homelessness to use their creative voices to tell their communities who they are and that they are not defined by homelessness or any of the many issues that run alongside it. It aims to help women to challenge their negative belief systems about themselves and help them regain self-worth and confidence.
I AM MORE THAN is also about challenging the stigma attached to women experiencing homelessness and inviting the community to re-evaluate what they know and think. The hope is that we can close gaps and bring the women back into their community where they can be valued and supported.
A collaborative project
Brighton Fringe works closely with local and national organisations to offer bursaries and opportunities to participants to bring their work to life at Brighton Fringe.
This year, BWS is working with Justlife, a charity providing outreach health support and Brighton University on this project. Last year, the team worked alongside Bloom Café, Brighton, a project of Safehaven (St Peters), and Brighton Probation, to participate in the festival.
The 2023 edition of the Brighton Fringe Festival also saw I AM MORE THAN win a bursary prize. This bursary aimed to support an artistic project that engaged with marginalised and vulnerable communities, as well as being an event centred around African & Asian Art Forms, Urban Art Forms, Spoken Word, Physical Theatre or Visual Art.
For the 2024 Brighton Fringe Festival, the I AM MORE THAN exhibition will be going digital. Over the years, the I AM MORE THAN exhibition has included a wide range of media, such as photography, masks, poetry and tapestry. This year, we are creating animated stories depicting health inequality for women experiencing homelessness.
The Brighton Fringe Festival will run between the 3rd May and the 2nd June in 2024. You will be able to visit the I AM MORE THAN exhibition when you visit our website, so watch this space!