Footballers from 2016 Homeless World Cup unveil museum display
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Footballers from 2016 Homeless World Cup unveil museum display


Scottish footballers who participated in the 2016 Homeless World Cup (HWC) in Glasgow and Glasgow Museums have jointly curated a display recounting their experience.  The travelling exhibition has gone on show at Glasgow City Chambers as the new team prepares to fly to Oslo for this year’s tournament.

The travelling exhibition is the culmination of a partnership between the Open Museum, Street Soccer Scotland and the Homeless World Cup Glasgow Life Legacy Project.  On show are several football shirts worn by the Scotland team and one from tournament winners, Mexico. They are alongside boots, medals, trophies, pennants, programmes and photographs of the event. The display also highlights the important contribution volunteers made throughout the competition. A separate AV installation accompanies the exhibition, which allows the audience to hear first-hand accounts of the Homeless World Cup from those who played and volunteer during the event. 

Sophie, who played for Scotland Female Team in the 2016 HWC and helped curate the travelling exhibition said: "Playing in the Homeless World Cup in front of a home crowd was something I will always cherish. It was amazing to be part of Team Scotland."

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, added: “I congratulate everyone on their achievement and hope they are rightly proud of the exhibition that’s been created. Glasgow is proud to have one of the finest museum collections in Europe. It belongs to the people of Glasgow, so I am encouraged by the work the Open Museum has been doing with homeless people in the city, using museum objects as powerful tools to engage people in sharing their own experiences. In doing so this exhibition highlights important issues around homelessness, mental health and wellbeing. 

“For the duration of the seven day event, Glasgow’s George Square was transformed into ‘the most inspiring place on the planet’. At Glasgow Life we strive to inspire our citizens to lead richer lives through culture and sport.  This project is a fantastic illustration of how we can work with others to tell the city’s stories and allow our people to flourish.  I wish this group and the team heading to Oslo for this year’s tournament every success.” 
A Fairtrade football, donated by Bala Sport and Scotmid and signed by the Scottish Men’s and Women’s 2016 teams, was gifted to Glasgow Museums. Open Museum outreach assistant Kevin Kerrigan began a project to record and showcase the 2016 Homeless World Cup from the point of view of the players and volunteers who participated. He was assisted by HWC Team Manager Ally Dawson and several members of the Men’s squad. The group learned how Glasgow Museums use objects as powerful tools to tell stories. They spent time behind the scenes in Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, participating in tours, interacting with objects, doing workshops, skill sharing and talking about what they wanted from the project. 

Over several months the group curated the exhibition, deciding what it would feature and where and when it would be located.  Together they collected objects, images and stories from many people associated with the event.  A series of interviews were also recorded and edited into the accompanying AV film.  

Like many of the Open Museum travelling exhibitions it was designed through direct engagement with community groups based in the city, who, through the Open Museum, are encouraged to use objects as powerful way to tell their own stories and to mark their own histories.  The Homeless World Cup 2016 display is one of a range of small free-standing exhibitions that can be displayed in community venues such as libraries, shopping centres and community centres.  On average they measure around 1.5m x 1 m.  

The HWC was conceived to energise and engage people who for whatever reason had become socially excluded. The event was set up by the International Network of Street Papers and Mel Young, who founded the Big Issue in Scotland. More than 500 men and women from 52 countries around the world competed from 10 to 16 July 2016, in four-a-side matches in George Square, Glasgow in front of almost 100,000 spectators.  Mexico won the Men’s tournament for the second year in a row. Scotland’s Men’s team finished 21st overall, with Scotland’s Women’s team finishing in 4th place overall.

To coincide with the event the Homeless World Cup Glasgow Life Legacy Project, Glasgow Life and the Big Lottery Fund created a project that recruited 96 local volunteers who assisted throughout event. All volunteers were people from Glasgow who had experienced homelessness and who committed to a total of 50 shifts during the tournament, which amounted to 3,000 volunteering hours. Following the event, volunteers engaged in a 15-month legacy project with the aim to enhance awareness and challenge the myths and misconceptions about homelessness. The project developed the volunteers’ confidence and skills, improved social connections and built networks to help address the isolation and loneliness some volunteer’s experienced.

Hope Gourlay, Sports Development Officer, from the Homeless World Cup Legacy Project added: “The impact of the project has been incredible. I have seen so many of our participants develop new skills and grow in confidence. Many of our volunteers have continued to take part in sport and physical activity through volunteering in communities or at sporting events. They have attended training and coach education courses and leading heathier lifestyles through being active members of our Glasgow Club offer and through accessing other services. 

“Another huge success of the legacy project has been our Creative Writing programme which for many of our volunteers was an empowering experience allowing them to express their creative abilities in writing a book inspired by the HWC called ‘Home Ground’, it was launched at the Aye Write! Festival 2017. 

“The opportunity to support this group of volunteers has been an unbelievably rewarding experience and something that has changed my perception that homelessness can affect anyone at any time.’’ 

The Homeless World Cup travelling exhibition will be at Glasgow City Chambers until 18 September. For more information please visit

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