The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of SafeLives, hosts a reception to launch Allie Crewe’s exhibition, ‘I am…’

Today, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a reception at Manchester Central Library to launch photographer Allie Crewe’s exhibition ‘I am…’, in partnership with SafeLives and SICK! Festival, which is taking place in North and Central Manchester this May. The event brings together The Duchess of Cornwall, survivors of domestic abuse, practitioners and stakeholders from around Greater Manchester.

I am… is a new collection of portraits by award-winning portrait photographer Allie Crewe, which bear witness to the lives and experiences of survivors of domestic abuse across the UK. The project was commissioned by SICK! Festival and developed in partnership with national domestic abuse charity, SafeLives where Crewe was artist in residence during 2020 and 2021, supported by Arts Council England. Twelve of the images from I am… are being exhibited in St. Peter’s Square Manchester and across Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network throughout the month of May. Taking the project into the heart of the city, the project aims to challenge the narratives around domestic abuse and is working with a whole range of local domestic abuse organisations.

When a person leaves a violent or controlling relationship, they have often lost their core identity. I am… is an opportunity to transform, to witness a new identity emerging… I’m compelled to make work about social injustice, patriarchy, to study transformations and to seek beauty.

I grew up with domestic abuse. I knew how to keep secrets and I knew broken bones, depression, and the longing to escape and build a new life. The survivors I photographed made me face my fears. In the end I too understood that I needed to forgive, or at least learn how to let go of my pain and anger

Allie Crewe

We’re so grateful to our patron HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall for hosting this launch event today and for her continued support both for SafeLives and for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

The voice of survivors is at the heart of all we do at SafeLives, and every survivor we work with wants to use their voice for change. Placing Allie’s images right in the heart of Manchester is an amazing opportunity to bring domestic abuse out into the light, to demonstrate the strength and power of survivors, standing together to end domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can happen to any of us.

We hope ‘I Am…’ will encourage people to reach out for support, and for those on the outside to reach in to check if someone we care about is OK – or to tell someone when their behaviour is not OK. We have loved having Allie as artist in residence and it’s great to have these images out in the world, and to lead in changing the conversation.

Suzanne Jacob OBE, CEO of SafeLives

It has been a real honour and a privilege to work with Allie Crewe and SafeLives on the development of I Am. It is an incredibly moving and important body of work. Through this exhibition, we want to raise awareness, and we want to let survivors and those currently experiencing domestic abuse know: you are not alone!

Tim Harrison, Creative Director of SICK! Festival

Notes to Editors

Domestic abuse includes any of the following incidents or patterns of behaviour between intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality, over the age of 16.

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse
  • Psychological, emotional or other abuse
  • The new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 also recognises children as victims for the first time.

Domestic abuse is experienced in the UK by more than 2m people and more than 100,000 people are at high and imminent risk of serious harm or murder as a result of such abuse.

Helplines for people experiencing abuse:

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.
  • If you are not in immediate danger, the following numbers might be helpful:
  • England: Freephone 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • Scotland: Scotland’s 24h Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234
  • Wales: 24h Life Fear Free Helpline: 0808 80 10 800
  • Northern Ireland: 24h Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
  • LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
  • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
  • Karma Nirvana, UK Helpline for ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage: 0800 5999 247
  • Victim Support National 24-hour Support line: 0808 1689 111

About Allie Crewe

Allie Crewe (b. 1967) is a portrait photographer whose work on challenging perceptions about gender construction and performance won her the 2019 BJP Portrait of Britain award. With a research-based approach, Crewe works from the inside of marginalised groups. Using both film and digital cameras, she collaborates with those she photographs, and encourages them to write down their stories and make decisions about how they wish to be represented. I Am is the result of her residency at SafeLives during 2021. She lives and works in Manchester, UK. More at

Allie Crewe – I Am is supported by Arts Council England.

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