INSP Awards: Street paper vendors’ writing, art and photography vies for international prize

Experiencing homelessness, poverty and marginalisation, street paper vendors face multiple barriers in having their voices heard.

INSP is delighted that our network of street papers is such a powerful platform for the creative and journalistic output of thousands of street paper vendors worldwide.

Today, our week of INSP Awards announcements culminates with a celebration of their work – as we unveil the nominees for the hard-fought category of Best Vendor Contribution.

The top 10 submissions will now go through to our international panel who will pick our five finalists. We will announce these in May.

Please share your thoughts and your favourites in the comment section below.

After judging from our final panels, the ultimate winners of all awards will be announced in June at the Global Street Paper Summit and right here on

Denver VOICE vendor Dwayne Pride


Word on the street
By Dwayne Pride
Denver VOICE vendor Dwayne Pride interviews Damien Haussling, a formerly homeless staff member of Baltimore’s street paper Word on the Street.
Read the story here.

Groundcover News, USA

Living “Out Here”
By Elizabeth ‘Lit’ Kurtz
Groundcover vendor Lit explains what she means when she says she lives “out here”. She discusses what she’s lost – and what she’s gained – through her experience of homelessness.
Read the article here.

Hus Forbi and Real Change vendors meet in Seattle

Hus Forbi, Denmark

“Take off your shoes and come inside”
By Henrik Pederson
During the INSP Global Street Paper Summit 2015 in Seattle, Henrik Søndergaard Pedersen (above right), who sells Hus Forbi in Copenhagen, met Sharon Jones (above left), a vendor for Seattle street paper Real Change to discuss the challenges and rewards of selling street papers.
Read the interview here.

Speak Up, USA

Requiem for a Lost Generation
By Dustin Lapres
Dustin has lost many friends. This piece is an ode to many of those homeless companions who had passed on.
Read the story here.

Dustin Lapres

=Oslo, Norway

Untitled painting
By Christian
Vendor Christian creates miniature oil paintings. Alongside his paintings – which he usually delivers to =Oslo with the paint still wet – he writes short pieces, with topics like street life, caring for young people and a kind look at everything that is wrong in the world. Christian is now planning a gallery exhibition. An example of his writing:

The future is uncertain
Warm people around the city, boaters appears in the Oslo fjord and the lilacs bloom; it’s finally May. There are many young people who are in an important phase between youth and adulthood. I hope that there is someone there who are trying to capture those who do not seem to know the way forward, with education or job.

By Christian

Street Sense, USA

No Room at the Airport
By Anonymous, The Anti-apathetic and Shernell Thomas
At the end of 2015, Reagan National Airport outside Washington DC changed their rules to, “effectively ban people experiencing homelessness from staying there,” according to Street Sense editor Eric Falquero. In response to this change, Street Sense worked with their vendors, many of whom had been affected by the new policies, to produce essays, photographs and illustration that shed light on life for a person experiencing homelessness at the airport.
Read their writing, and check out their photography and illustration here.

No Room at the Airport. Photo: The Anti-Apathetic

TagesSatz, Germany

Not every child needs to grow up on Facebook: Angelo Kelly interview
By Stefan Marx
Angelo Kelly is the youngest member of the multi-generational travelling band, The Kelly Family, who have sold more than 20 million albums since they first started performing in the 80s. TagesSatz vendor Stefan Marx caught up with him for a candid conversation before his concert at Hanover’s youth church.
Read the interview here.

Angelo Kelly & Stefan Marx Photo: Ute Kahle

The Big Issue Australia

By Julian Ogle
Julian Ogle was terrified by the prospect of going to jail. His experience was indeed scary… but not in the ways he had anticipated. He wrote about the experience of being incarcerated for The Big Issue Australia.

The Contributor, USA

SCUD Missiles and Death Valley: My Experience in the Gulf War
By Brianna C.
Brianna writes about her experiences in Kuwait in the early 90s – and how she was treated when she came home again.
Read Brianna’s article and an interview with her here.

The Curbside Chronicle, USA

How I See OKC: A look into the lives of Oklahoma City’s homeless
By Robert Hatcher
Robert is a vendor for The Curbside Chronicle who participated in the How I See OKC photography exhibition. How I See OKC is a photography project that the street paper does once a year, partnering vendors with photographers to allow them to capture various aspects of their lives. Robert wrote an article about why he participated in the photo project and the importance of the project for the May/June 2015 issue of Curbside. He accompanied the article with a few of his favourite photos from the project. All of the titles and captions for these photos were written by Curbside vendors who participated in the project.
Read Robert’s article here.
This is how it appeared in the magazine:

How I See OKC as it appeared in The Curbside Chronicle