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Stuart enters the world of homelessness

06 August 2003 @TeesUniNews

 

Stuart Froude moved from Scotland to study Media Studies at the University of Teesside only to find himself homeless in his final year. However, Stuart’s homeless state was purely voluntary, as he slept rough in a Newcastle graveyard and filmed his experiences. The resulting documentary was part of the course work for his BA (Hons) degree.

The documentary ‘Sleeping Rough’ was very much a team effort, as Stuart’s course colleague Graham Chapman and four other students contributed towards it. The team were all students on the BA (Hons) Media Studies degree and the BA (Hons) Media Production degree, and have completed their courses this summer. Stuart has discussed the documentary on local television.

Stuart, 22, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, spent two days and nights in Newcastle without money and identification and wearing charity shop clothes. He kept a video log to record his experiences. Stuart said: “We decided to explore homelessness as it’s a global problem, in all of our major cities. I wasn’t prepared for the December cold when I slept in the graveyard and had to get some extra blankets and socks from a shelter. I didn’t sleep much as there was only one way in to the graveyard, so every time someone came in I woke up wondering what was going to happen. And it was very, very cold.”

The daylight hours also proved a revelation to Stuart. He said: “I walked around a main shopping centre, just people watching. I realised very quickly that I’d become invisible, people didn’t want to look at me and if I bumped into them they’d move quickly away. It’s given me a real insight into the problem. I hope that Shelter or The Big Issue magazine will be interested in our film as it’s stored at the University, and that it has a life beyond the course. My mum was a bit concerned about the film, but my parents have always let me live my own life.”

Stuart is now taking a year out from his studies to travel the world, aiming to visit the USA, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Thailand. When he returns he wants to complete a Masters in Media Production, with the eventual aim of working as a documentary maker.

For more details on the BA (Hons) degree in Media Studies please call 01642 384019 or check the University of Teesside’s web site at www.tees.ac.uk