Project information

Never Failed Me Yet

Partners The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Museum of Homelessness, the BBC Singers and Streetwise Opera (TBC) will bring people with experience of homelessness together with professional musicians and visual artists for an overnight immersive installation of Gavin Bryars' iconic piece

September 2017 - September 2018

Charity information: Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Academy of St Martin in the Fields logo
  • Need


    Homelessness is on the rise, due to the shortage of housing, ongoing effects of the recession and cuts to housing benefits. Homeless people are invisible, ignored and forgotten, and often affected by experiences of rejection and addiction. 80% of homeless people have mental health issues and isolation and lack of activity can exacerbate this.


    Solving homelessness is about more than providing accommodation; the personal, social and therapeutic benefits of singing, art production and music-making that we will provide are to alleviate isolation and lack of activity. Over many months, professional artists will work with homeless people, raising confidence levels and creating communities where people can explore and address personal issues, and begin the process of making long-lasting changes to their personal circumstances.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To increase people's confidence in order for them to engage with other professional services


    » » The structure and therapeutic elements of making music and artistic activity will help people to move on with their lives in a productive way.
    » We are partnering with leading homelessness organisations and will signpost participants to their progression and health services.

    Success will be having worked with 60+ homeless people and them having had a confidence boosting experience that may enable them to make positive steps in their lives.

    Aim 2

    To provide 100+ hours of singing, music-making and artistic activity for 60+ homeless people


    » ASMF will work with 3 hostels and day centres, providing weekly workshops where homeless people can explore and respond to the music and its themes
    » Streetwise Opera will work with two groups of homeless people, providing weekly workshops to explore and respond to the music through song. (TBC)
    » The BBC will provide access to their spaces and singers and work with the group during the final intensive rehearsal period

    Success will be having shared the achievements of the group with a live audience of 1000+ and an online/broadcast audience of 3 million+

    Aim 3

    To engage 60+ homeless people on themes of optimism and connection & produce a video artwork


    » MOH will train 5 formerly homeless people in archive and research skills to become 'peer researchers.'
    » They & MOH will deliver 6 x research workshops in hostels and day centres on the themes of optimism and human connection.
    » The resulting testimony and footage will be used to create a video artwork to form part of the installation, alongside live musical performance.
    » All participants will be invited to experience the piece.

    A live audience of 1000+ and online/broadcast audience of 3 million+ enjoy a unique experience which challenges perceptions about homeless people.

    Aim 4

    Raise the profile of issues associated with homelessness with an overnight immersive installation


    » Over the course of 12 hours, 1000+ people will see the performance at a leading cultural institution, challenging perceptions about homeless people
    » It is possible that the performance will be recorded and transmitted on radio 3, reaching a vast and new audience, challenging perceptions further.
    » The audio and film footage will be freely available on ASMF's website, reaching millions around the world.

    Success will be having shared the achievements of the group with a live audience of 1000+ and an online/broadcast audience of 3 million+

    Aim 5

    To ensure a solid legacy by providing a permanent home for the audio visual installation in the MOH


    » Once the MOH has a space, the piece will be on permanent display ensuring that a significant number of people engage with it in the long term

    Success will be a permanent home for the piece, encouraging a deeper understanding of homelessness and demonstrating the powerful role that music can play in people's lives.

  • Impact


    Some of the participants in this project will be leading chaotic lives; sleeping rough, coping with addictions and/or having recently arrived in the country. It will not be easy to formally track their progress but wherever possible, we will develop long-term relationships with participants (all groups will continue in one form or another once the project has finished) enabling us to record the positive changes that people have made.


    Due to the nature of people's lives, we expect a high drop-out rate and have countered this through the design of the project (people can join at any time, and need only take part in the rehearsal period to be able to perform.)
    Also, as this is an ambitious project with a large budget, raising funds is a risk-however, we have mitigated this by putting together a comprehensive fundraising plan involving a multi-streamed approach.


    Donors will be invited to attend workshops and meet participants, musicians and artists and will receive fortnightly emails detailing participants' progress. They will be invited to the final performance to enjoy the success of the project, and witness first-hand its benefits.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 Artists Fees for musicians, singers, artists and animateurs
      £3,000 Participants' expenses Travel and meal allowances for participants attending rehearsals and workshops
      £1,000 Marketing Digital and print materials to attract people to project and performance
      £2,500 Filming and recording Studio fees for recording music and fees for filming event
      £1,500 Video artwork equipment Laptop and digital resources for video artwork.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Donor £2,500 Guaranteed
  • Background


    This project will take place in several boroughs across London, although there is the potential to tour it through Streetwise Opera's strong links in other UK locations. London is the richest but most unequal part of the country, with it's most expensive property but with 7500 people sleeping rough in it each year. By placing this performance within a national cultural institution, we hope to bring together Londoners from all walks of life, countering prejudice and mistrust


    We need to change attitudes towards homeless people-2/3 of rough sleepers surveyed said they had been insulted by a member of the public, and 1 in 10 said that they had been urinated on. By showcasing that homeless people are no different from anyone else, we can shift audience's perceptions, whilst also providing a safe space for homeless people to address their issues and start to make positive changes in their lives.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The ASMF is one of the world's leading chamber orchestras working with some of London's most talented musicians. For nearly 20 years the Academy has been working to empower homeless and vulnerable adults, raising confidence and aspiration through the therapeutic benefits of group music-making. This experience, plus partnering with high-profile organisations who are also leaders in their field in terms of working with homeless people, ensures that we are best placed to deliver this project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jessica Turtle

    Jessica Turtle has over 20 years experience in the arts and is co-founder of the UK’s first Museum of Homelessness. She will co-lead the project

    Charlotte O'Dair

    Charlotte is a Producer at ASMF and will co-lead the project. She has managed national arts projects with £2.5 million budgets.

    Naomi Selwyn

    Naomi is a Learning Co-ordinator BBC Learning and will manage the BBC's involvement.

    Jenna Omeltschenko

    Jenna is Programme Producer at Streetwise Opera and will manage Streetwise Opera's involvement