The Book of Ours – StAnza Poetry Festival 2022

Over 100 people who have experienced homelessness have made a medieval-style illuminated manuscript describing their lives, hopes and dreams, in a 2-year project. A BOOK OF OURS contains a Calendar, songs, an Office of the Dead, and a book of The Joys — all handwritten and illuminated.

The poems, artworks and songs on these pages celebrate a wide cross-section of individual lives, lives that don’t appear in history books, but A BOOK OF OURS aims to change that.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project was devised and directed by poet Philip Davenport and artist Lois Blackburn; it took place at the Booth Centre, Back on Track, and other support centres in Manchester. The book pages and songs were made collaboratively by people with lived experience of homelessness, and vulnerable people in Manchester, 2019-21.

The exhibition features the original book as well as early drafts of some of the artwork. The project will be included as part of StAnza’s film afternoon, and in their digital installations.  You can also visit the project website, view the Book of Ours’ film on its YouTube channel and also visit the Synaptry blog.

A Book of Ours can now be heard in its entirety at

The exhibition has been created for StAnza Poetry Festival 2022 in partnership with Fife Contemporary.

  • Poet Philip Davenport will  take part in a ‘white glove’ Meet the Artist event where the book will be handled and learn more about the project.
    Sat 12 Mar 2022, 12.30-2pm, Byre Theatre (free)