RIGHT TO WORK – RIGHT TO WELFARE
Since the summer of 2012 over 200 out-of-work people in Belfast have taken part in human rights workshops and creative artwork in partnership with Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) and the Golden Thread Gallery.
Official government statistics cite North and West Belfast as having among the highest rates of unemployment across the UK. Against this backdrop, the ‘Right to Work: Right to Welfare’ group have used the art gallery to collect concrete evidence on the ground of unemployment, training/back to work programmes, and the benefits system.
All of the research was conducted at the golden thread gallery facing the north Belfast Social Security office across the street.
It lays bare the true impact of the NI Executive’s job creation strategy and welfare cuts programme.
The ‘Right to Work: Right to Welfare’ human rights indicators have been launched alongside this unique art exhibition which captures the experience of those directly affected by the issues. It is made up of four parts.
1. The ‘Dole’: This mock up was made as a copy of the dole office across the street – why not walk over and see for yourself? The videos are the thoughts of unemployed people who are usually in the booths listening to DHSS workers talk to them. They are broken into 4 themes in relation to unemployment and the benefit system:
- The Problems
- The Impact
- Wasted Opportunities
2. Messages: The collection of messages from unemployed people was collated over the course of the last ten months as the group developed. Everyone who took part was asked a trigger question and then wrote their message down. Why not add your message in the message book?
3. Group in action: The photo diary illustrates the work of the group since the summer
4. Hydro – Graffiti. The group have used hydro graffiti to clean the wall of the dole office and leave their message whilst also asking the DHSS and government to clean up their act.
In line with the government’s obligations, the ‘Right to Work: Right to Welfare’ group will measure whether things improve on the ground over the next year. This will be done using PPR’s human rights based approach, recently cited by the United Nations as a best practice example of claiming rights.
Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR)2nd Floor, 133 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1FG
Tel: (0)2890 313315 Fax: (0)2890 245847 www.pprproject.org