Media Release: INSP launches unique exhibition to celebrate #VendorWeek


UNCOVERED: still homeless, still an issue

runs from 10 February – 9 April 2017 at The Lighthouse, Glasgow

GLASGOW is set to host the world’s first exhibition celebrating the creativity and social impact of street papers, worldwide.

Launching as part of INSP (International Network of Street Papers) #VendorWeek 2017, the exhibition – UNCOVERED: still homeless, still an issue – will be the first time that audiences have had the opportunity to explore the outstanding design of street papers and the story behind the global street paper movement.

The free interactive exhibition, created in partnership with ideas agency Equator, starts with a launch event on the evening of Thursday, 9 February and will be open to the public from 10 February – 9 April at The Lighthouse in Glasgow.

While The Big Issue is well known throughout the UK, many people are unaware that there are 110 papers in 35 countries that use the same model to offer ‘a hand-up, not a hand out’ to people facing homelessness and social exclusion.

Glasgow is at the heart of this network, as the home of INSP – the network organisation that brings these papers together, offering support, advice and resources.

#VendorWeek is INSP’s annual, global celebration of the 10,000 men and women who are currently selling street papers.

Maree Aldam, chief executive of INSP, said: “At INSP we are wowed by the creativity of street papers on a daily basis. This unique exhibition is an opportunity for everyone to share that feeling.

“We hope visitors will come away from the exhibition with a sense of the strength of the street paper movement across the world. By challenging people’s preconceptions, we believe we can encourage respect for the men and women who sell street papers.

“We hope that people will leave the Lighthouse filled with pride in Glasgow and its place at the heart of a global network for social change. And – most importantly – we hope that they will be inspired to go and seek out a vendor to buy their magazine.”

Chief creative officer and co-founder of Equator, James Jefferson, added: “This exhibition is an amazing way to highlight an issue that’s right on our doorstep. Homelessness is unfortunately still an issue in 2017.

“Glasgow has been at the heart of the global street paper movement and we’re proud at Equator to be a part of that. We wanted to hero the vendors that sell these street papers from all over the world and provide them the recognition they deserve, but in a way that allows visitors to understand what goes into not only selling each issue, but producing them too.

“Anyone who has picked up a copy of The Big Issue or any other street paper will know the fantastic level of journalism and design work that goes into each copy – with the Dalai Lama and the Pope among those who have given interviews. This exhibition will help highlight all the work that goes into crafting each issue.”

Ian Elder, economic development manager, The Lighthouse and Creative Industries, said: “The Lighthouse is delighted to have the opportunity to take part in INSP #VendorWeek. The exhibition and the events celebrate the work that is delivered across the globe and coordinated from Glasgow.” -

The exhibition will launch on Thursday, 9 February. Tickets will be available for the launch night, as well as events throughout the exhibition from 22 January at:

Follow the story on social and join the conversation using #UncoveredINSP.


For more information, contact Laura Dunlop on 01413026554 / 07812179206 or or Pauline McLaughlin on 07964 920 329 or

Notes to editor:


Founded in 1994, Glasgow-based charity INSP (International Network of Street Papers) supports and develops 110 street paper projects in 35 countries, in 24 languages. The network has a combined readership of 5.8 million per edition. In the last year, INSP street papers sold a total of 23.3 million copies, putting £25 million in the pockets of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Street papers are independent newspapers and magazines that operate on a social enterprise and self-help model to provide an innovative solution to urban homelessness and unemployment.

Street paper vendors purchase copies of their local street paper and become micro entrepreneurs, selling their product on the streets, to earn their own living and support themselves and their families. In addition to employment, many INSP street papers offer their vendors on-going social support and training opportunities.

INSP supports the development and sustainability of its members, and adds value to their work so that thousands of homeless vendors – almost 300,000 so far – can earn a living and improve their lives. INSP does this by providing a range of services and projects, including its annual #VendorWeek celebration, the Global Street Paper Summit and the INSP News Service.

Follow global #VendorWeek updates at

Twitter: @_INSP


Glasgow-based Equator has been at the forefront of digital technology and transformational thinking since it was established in 1999. The company’s 170 experts create connected experiences that grow brands and improve lives.

The Big Issue

The Big Issue is a magazine sold by homeless and long-term unemployed people. Vendors buy copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.

Since The Big Issue was launched in 1991 it has helped thousands of vulnerable people take control of their lives. It currently works with around 1500 individuals across the UK, offering them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income; to ‘help them to help themselves’.

Over the past two decades, the magazine has become synonymous with challenging, independent journalism, and renowned for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 70,000 copies every week.

And they don’t stop there. Earning an income is the first step on the journey away from poverty and The Big Issue Foundation, a registered charity, exists to link vendors with vital support and services.

Created as a business solution to a social problem, The Big Issue has inspired other street papers around the world. The magazine was one of the founding members of INSP.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, is a multipurpose visitor centre in the heart of Glasgow, attracting around 250,000 visitors a year. The primary purpose of The Lighthouse is to promote the impact of design on everyday lives through a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and workshops.

The building has its place firmly in Glasgow’s history as it was the first public building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and was home to the Glasgow Herald for many years.

Part of the Mackintosh Trail, The Lighthouse is the ideal starting point for exploring Mackintosh’s work. The Mackintosh Interpretation Centre, our permanent exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is a must-see exhibition for any Mackintosh enthusiast. From here you can also access the helical staircase, which leads you up to the viewing gallery at the top of the Mackintosh Tower where you are rewarded with spectacular views over Glasgow.


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INSP contact details…

Contact: Laura Kelly Dunlop