What is Black Britain? asks the exhibition Home is Not a Place

Home is Not a Place by Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson
Former premises of the Horse & Lion Pub, Sheffield (2016) (Image credit: © Johny Pitts)

A new photography exhibition titled, Home is Not a Place, will be available to visit until 24 December 2022 at the Graves Gallery, Sheffield Museums. The exhibition will then move to the Stills Gallery in Edinburgh from 9 March until 10 June 2023. 

Photographer and writer, Johny Pitts, and poet, Roger Robinson, scoured the British Coast in the creation of the project, presented as both an exhibition as well as a book to be published by Harper Collins later this month. 

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Home is Not a Place reflects on Black British culture, with a focus on people and geographies, while exploring the notion of home. 

Johny Pitts describes his photographic practice as "trying to celebrate Black spaces, capture them while they’re still here and give them a home. If not in a literal sense in a figurative sense, for me home is somewhere that you take with you." 

Home is Not a Place cover by Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson (Image credit: © Johny Pitts)

The new exhibition and book from the photographer titled Home is Not a Place, and in collaboration with poet Roger Robinson, does exactly that in a moving manner. 

The duo set off in 2021 travelling in a red mini cooper along the Thames, and then from Margate to Land’s End, Bristol to Blackpool, Glasgow to John O’Groats and then Scarborough to Southend on Sea, following the coast clockwise. 

The Activist, Cop 26, Glasgow (2021) (Image credit: © Johny Pitts)

Pitts and Robinson set out with a goal to document and respond to the many manifestations of Black British culture, and present an alternative to the official and media narratives. Robinson has previously been awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize for his poetry, which will be combined with photographs to narrate the project in the upcoming book to be published in late September by Harper Collins. 

Pitts is a self-taught photographer from Sheffield, working in the tradition of British documentary photography, and has been supported by the inaugural Ampersand/Photoworks Fellowship that involved working closely with the Photoworks team for twelve months to develop this new series.

Building upon his ‘Afropean Archive’ of over 100,000 images that document the Black experience in Europe, his newest images from Home is Not a Place reflect upon the complexity and resilience of Black Britishness at this particular point in time.

Man through rain dappled window, Carnaby Street, London (after Sade) (2019) (Image credit: © Johny Pitts)

Johny Pitts is the curator of the ENAR (European Network Against Racism), the award-winning online journal: Afropean.com, and the author of Afropean: Notes From Black Europe (Penguin Random House) which won him not only the 2020 Jhalak Prize but in addition the 2020 Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing.

And if this weren't enough – he is also the recipient of the 2021 Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. 

Pitts has contributed words and images for The Guardian, The New Statesman, The New York Times, and Condé Nast Traveller. His first solo exhibition Afropean: Travels in Black Europe was exhibited at Foam, Amsterdam in 2020.

Pitts currently presents Open Book for BBC Radio 4 and a forthcoming Afropean podcast that is being funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society. 

The exhibition by Pitts has been commissioned by Photoworks for the inaugural Ampersand/Photoworks Fellowship, a new biennial research and development opportunity for mid-career artists using photography.

Man at bus stop with blue light leak, Glasgow (2021) © (Image credit: © Johny Pitts)

You may also be interested in our guides to the best books on portrait photography, as well as the best books on street photography, and find out why Annie Leibovitz is under-fire: "she can’t photograph Black women".

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.