The Lost Room

FrancisKnight | Community Engagement | The Lost Room

Deepening relationships and trust with vunerable people

Clients/Partners: Porchlight and The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, with funding from Arts Council England

Artists: Nicola Flower and Mark Hewitt

The Lost Room was a unique collaboration between FrancisKnight, Porchlight and The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge.

The Lost Room explored the relationship people have to belongings; what they represent both in terms of collecting/collections in a museum and those personal items that people carry or keep as memories.

Artists Nicola Flower and Mark Hewitt were commissioned to work alongside the charity encouraging their service users to take part and create their own responses to the ‘The Lost Room’ theme with the resulting work displayed in ‘The Drawing Room’ at the Beaney.

The Beaney and Porchight were natural partners using the arts in a museum context with the aim to make the project accessible and welcoming to all. For the artists and partners working on the project ‘The Lost Room’ has built valuable trust and familiarity and a level of understanding that has made us all aware of how homelessness happens.

As Mark Hewitt notes, “The vulnerability of individuals and the difficulty of holding a life together, surviving, prospering. The unsentimentality of The Fates. The way in which the things of childhood, and the family situation in which you grow up, will maybe make the difference between whether you cope or whether you don’t.

'The Lost Room' installation was exhibited in the Drawing Room, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge 9th Nov - 1st December 2013

Funded by Arts Council England, Porchlight and the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge.

Photography © Manu Palomeque

Nicola Flower - The Lost Room

FrancisKnight | Nicola Flower

Artist Commission

Nicola Flower is a visual artist whose work looks at the every day to which she attaches her intimate thoughts. She is absorbed by the process of making and responding to objects and places. Her work extends from Fine Art Conceptual Installation through to making craft objects using ceramic and textiles. The common theme that runs through her work is narrative, identity and site specific.

For the Lost Room, Nicola took on the role of ‘The Lost Room Girl,’ an interpreter and user of objects. She based herself at the museum sharing her creative skills with the service users. Using the technique of embroidery with its meditative, unassuming yet sensitive response, she encouraged the participants to tap into the subconscious spirit and lose time.

Mark Hewitt -The Lost Room

FrancisKnight | Mark Hewitt

Artist Commission

Artist Mark Hewitt is a writer, director and theatre maker, he has worked collaboratively on a number of projects with visual artists, in the public realm and in galleries.

For the Lost Room, Mark spent time ‘in residence’ with Porchlight. During a week-long residency working with Porchlight hostels Mark contributed to the guided tour of Canterbury from a homeless person’s perspective. The ‘My Streets tour’. He also offered ‘The Lost Room’ creative writing sessions to service users and conducted a number of interviews. Mark’s interest lies in gathering - through conversation - personal stories and ‘memory pictures’ as a counterpart to the personal physical objects that are the focus of Nicola Flowers’ work.

Mark contributed to the final installation by exhibiting lines from his conversations as text on luggage labels.

"I chose 'labels' as a medium for conveying messages and allusions that I found within these stories as a way of evoking transitory existence, impermanence and the dissonance between lives lived and the assumptions attributed to people from the outside, which is always a kind of labeling".

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