The book, entitled Somewhere Nowhere: Lives Without Homes has been produced as part of a two-year research project that took place in Stoke-on-Trent to explore the life courses of homeless individuals.
Research Associate Gareth Morris explains how he came up with the original idea: “We wanted people to engage with our research in an accessible way.
“I interviewed many people experiencing homelessness and found their stories deeply interesting, moving, and sometimes shocking. The novel is a way of talking about homelessness to the public without doing it the traditional academic way.”
After being introduced to Sam Dahl, a postgraduate student from the University who was keen to help, the research team chose five stories for Sam to illustrate which shows the diversity of life experiences.
The title Somewhere Nowhere was chosen in connection to the displacement that people often described in their life story: they knew where they were in time and space, but were unclear of their place in their life journey.
The research team decided to take control over the publishing process and published the book independently through Lulu, a company that offers printing and publishing services, and also plan to make it available on Amazon soon.
“Our main goal is to raise issues we encountered during the research and inform and educate people who normally wouldn’t have an interest in homelessness. We’ve made the book available for the lowest price the distributor allows so we can reach as many people as we can,” Gareth said.
The findings from the two-year study, along with the graphic novel, will be revealed at a homelessness event on 25th May in Stoke chaired by Sara Williams, Chief Executive of the North Staffs Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where key business people and policy makers will meet to discuss opportunities that can be created for homeless people in the city.
The research has been led by Dr Philip Brown with Salford Housing and Urban Studies Unit colleagues Dr Lisa Scullion, Gareth, and Professor Peter Somerville of the University of Lincoln. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Department for Communities and Local Government.