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We are pleased to give an update on one of the research projects that the RKEI funded through our ‘Breaking Boundaries’ scheme in 2022/23: Dr Kim Ross-Houle, Dr Holly White, Dr Nancy Evans & Jenn Robinson: ‘The (In)Human(e) Experience of Poverty’

The project considers the impact and lived experiences of chronic poverty amidst the reported cost of living crisis. A series of workshops have been used to co-produce understanding of issues related to the lived experiences of poverty in the local area with the intention of raising awareness, challenging stigma and positively influencing local policy making.

Breaking Boundaries funding has extended the reach of the research by providing opportunities to share research outcomes with the local community including University of Chester students and staff, local business leaders, local council colleagues and the wider public. The opening of the exhibition will coincide with Challenge Poverty Week, 16th-22nd October, focusing this year on dignity for all, and will tour local community spaces and Cheshire West and Chester Council buildings. Following this the exhibition will be on display the week commencing 23rd October at Exton Park, University of Chester. Finally, the exhibition will be hosted at St Mary’s Creative Space 20-21st November.

A roundtable/panel event will be held during the exhibition allowing for interactive policy and practice debate as a result of exhibits that include: a human library section; a ‘beyond the headlines’ display; promotion of research videos outlining co-production principles and related participatory research in action, as well as policy pledges designed to positively challenge problematic narratives of poverty and raising awareness of current initiatives and new proposals that value people with lived experience shaping and leading on challenging stigma.

The overarching theme of the exhibition, co-produced with inspirers from Cheshire West and Chester’s Poverty Truth Commission, aims to evoke empathic responses to issues of chronic poverty and incite deliberate action to challenge injustice and consider how systemic violence might be addressed. Breaking Boundaries funding has facilitated displays of images and reflections collated by inspirers showing how poverty cuts into people’s lives, providing opportunities for reflection and challenge. They articulate the message that ‘you can’t sacrifice nothing’. This section of the exhibition highlights facts noted in the Local Voices Framework report, (White, H. 2023) that the ‘roll back of the social safety net has created an enduring state of cost of living disaster with moments of intense peril for the most structurally vulnerable.’ The funding has also provided opportunities to challenge agnotologic perspectives perpetuated in media products with disastrous lived consequences through the ‘Beyond the Headlines’ section of the exhibition. In this section, montages of media representations have been created and are scrutinised by those they purport to represent with insight into the effects of such products.

Funding for exhibition materials will also allow for increased networking opportunities for people in the local area with responsibility for policy and practice design and implementation and for those interested in using co-production principle to improve life chances.

Written by Jenn Robinson.

For more information about our work and the upcoming exhibition please email

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