Picture postcard


Each summer, Sheffield homeless charity The Archer Project raises awareness and funds through an exhibition. In 2023, they asked us to take the reins. They’d already created a powerful collection of stories told by some of the Project’s attendees and documented by photographer Mark Harvey, creating a pictorial history that dovetailed with their narratives. The stories were personal and often painful. We wanted to give the people sharing them the exhibition they deserved. One which would turn heads and get The Archer Project talked about all summer long.


We had two sets of elements to work with - personal stories and the related images of underpasses and dingy doorways. Together, they appeared to us as the world’s worst holiday reviews. This led to our ironically named ‘Wish You Were Here’ campaign, which included traditional British holiday postcards featuring the most unattractive destinations.


To create the exhibition, we enlisted the help of Sheffield Galleries and were given gallery space within Sheffield Cathedral for a month-long summer exhibition. The postcards were printed in large format and carefully crafted to mimic classic tourist postcards. Authenticity was added to the rears with contrasting handwriting styles, intentional errors, and different postal marks. Stories were sympathetically rewritten to fit the small type area whilst retaining all of the brutality and fear of living on the streets.

To up the PR stakes, we also asked some of our contemporary artist friends to each create a piece to be exhibited. The format would be a coffee cup, a symbol synonymous with begging, and inspired by the stories of homeless people who used The Archer Project but had sadly died on the streets. (Huge thanks to Corbin Shaw, George Law, Liah Edwardes, Mikk Murray, Conor Rogers, and our very own Rob Barber, as well as those at the Project who shared their memories.)

The exhibition was promoted with signage around the city, a social media campaign, the distribution of thousands of real postcards, as well as local and national tv and radio interviews. 

The overall impact of the campaign was better than we could ever have hoped for. So many new people were exposed to and educated about The Archer Project. Social media figures were up over 100% across the board, and the donations total was exceeded before the month’s end. Yet seeing people moved to tears, and being thanked directly by people experiencing homelessness, was the biggest impact we personally felt.

“Just managed to catch The Archer Project’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ exhibition at Sheffield Cathedral. Powerful and emotional. It’s an immersive insight into rough sleeping.”

Ross - LinkedIn

“The Archer Project’s ‘Wish You Were Here!’ exhibition is gut-wrenching, thought-provoking and eye-opening on the raw realities of rough sleeping and homelessness.”

Jill - LinkedIn

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