Glasgow welcomes international delegates to the 2018 INSP Global Street Paper Summit

INSP launched the 2018 instalment of the Global Street Paper Summit in its home city of Glasgow on Monday.

The summit is an annual opportunity for staff at all levels of street paper organisations to meet up and discuss the inspiring and innovative ways they are approaching the street paper model.

Before things really kick in to gear for three days of workshops, speakers, and a chance to catch up, delegates from 43 street papers and 26 countries arrived in Glasgow and were met with an array of activities to settle them in to the city.

As is tradition, attendees from German language street papers set off to discuss what is unique to them, before getting the opportunity to visit the offices of Turning Point Scotland, a social care organisation using the Housing First model – a system being explored by branches of numerous street papers within INSP – to get vulnerable people living in long term poverty and homelessness, many of which deal with addiction issues, into social housing and providing round the clock support.

German language delegates at Turning Point Scotland

Delegates from Hempels, CEO Lukas Lehmann and Georg Meggers, quizzed Turning Point service manager Liz Littler about the organisation’s work and how it compared to street paper experiments with Housing First.

After a lunch at social enterprise The Spoon Café in the city’s Trongate area, attendees from Surprise, Hempels, Asphalt and Draussenseiter were then joined by another group, made up of delegates trickling in from their various home nations, on a double visit to The Big Issue – Scotland’s street paper representative which covers much of the UK – taking in both their distribution and editorial offices, and getting a chance to discuss how each operates with Scotland distribution team leader Rhys Morgan, and Big Issue editor Paul McNamee.

Big Issue editor Paul McNamee talks to one of the summit arrivals day groups on a visit to the Big Issue office

The Big Issue's distribution team leader for Scotland explains to German language delegates about vendor pitches

After a quick visit to where the magic happens – INSP’s office – the groups were led round Glasgow on an alternative city tour by one of the Invisible Cities guides. The organisation trains people who have been affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides in their city, offering the trips to locals and tourists, to give them a flavour of Glasgow they may not have experienced.

Tour guide Paul, from Invisible Cities, shows us an alternative side of Glasgow

Invisible Cities founder, Zakia Moulaoui, who was inspired to set up the organisation after seeing Greek street paper Shedia’s vendors lead similar walking tours when she visited Athens as part of the 2016 summit, said: “We started in Edinburgh in 2016 and now work with people like Expedia or Airbnb to promote our tours. 2018 is an exciting year for us as we are launching in two new cities.

“We were very much looking forward to meeting INSP delegates and show them what we do, as INSP as an organisation has been a real support to us and some of the street papers have actually been the inspiration behind what we do – It’s like going full circle. We are so happy that after two years of being up and running, we were able to offer a tour to our friends at INSP.”

German language delegates at the INSP office in Glasgow

German language delegates (and INSP's editorial officer Tony Inglis, far right) at the end of their Invisible Cities tour, with tour guide Paul

The arrivals day was rounded off by a civic reception at Glasgow City Chambers, right in the heart of the city, where delegates were welcomed by Glasgow’s Lord Provost Eva Bolander.

Delegates at the Glasgow City Chambers for the welcome reception. Credit: Brant Adam Photography.

Get a taste for what happened on the opening night of #INSP2018 by watching this video from Glasgow City Chambers.