With One Voice at Rio 2016

Matt Peacock gives an update on our international With One Voice work:

For our third With One Voice exchange in Brazil (now widely known by its Portuguese name, Uma Só Voz), we are bringing a delegation of 18 practitioners, people with experience of homelessness and policy-makers from around the world to Rio in July 2016 as part of the Rio 2016 Cultural Olympiad.

Our partners in Brazil (including the Homeless People’s Movement, local government officials, homeless centres and practitioners) have now formed an arts/homelessness committee and network which is overseeing this part of the project. They want to create an ‘occupation’ of the streets of Rio by homeless people through the arts. They hope this will create visibility, dignity and respect for homeless people.

The week-long exchange will include:

- Workshops in homeless centres, cultural venues and on the street given by Brazilian and international partners in a wide range of artistic disciplines including music, theatre, poetry and dance
- Cultural exchange between arts practitioners from Brazil and other countries
- Pop-up performances around the city – by the 11 choirs that have developed through With One Voice (led by Ricardo Vasconcelos) and a verbatim theatre piece developed by Marcus Faustini working with women who live on the streets
- An exhibition of arts and homelessness from around the world
- A main celebration event at Biblioteca Parque at the end of the week including performances from: some of the choirs (including the results of a widely-anticipated collaboration with Rio social circus Crescer e Viver); theatre from Brazil; dance from Japan; music from Portugal; and the launch of an international arts and homelessness movement/network that we have been developing through With One Voice

The international delegates taking part in the exchange include staff, practitioners and performers (including those who have experienced homelessness) from the UK, Portugal, Australia, the USA and Japan.

We have focused a great deal of developing choirs in Rio, building on the one existing choir which was in operation when we began the project. We have been working with the choir leader, Ricardo (Rico) Vasconcelos, who is now working full-time on the project. He has set up a further 10 choirs (some based in hostels and day centres and some based on the streets, such as the one pictured above) and has been training choir leaders. Pete Churchill from The Choir with No Name has given support and training to Rico and will be training other leaders in Rio in July.

Following the Cultural Olympiad, we will put in place a sustainability/legacy programme that will continue to build the capacity of arts and homelessness projects in Rio and Brazil.

Huge thanks to all our partners in UK, Brazil and around the world, including the main supporters – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, British Council Brazil, Macquarie Group Foundation - and our main delivery partner, People’s Palace Projects.

Visit the With One Voice website for more information about exchange delegates and partners as well as photos and videos of the Uma Só Voz choirs.