The Place I Call Home

British Council and Ffotogallery, 2018-20.

Featuring the project XO, The Place I Call Home has reached an international audience via seven different countries, ten exhibitions and numerous workshops, talks and engagement activities. 

“The Place I Call Home is a project that uses contemporary photography to explore the idea of home related to the experiences of young people living in the Gulf and the UK at a time of rapid change and social mobility.

When away, people sometimes use the expression ‘home from home’ to describe a place where one is as happy, relaxed, or comfortable as in one's own home. ‘Home’ is a word with a strong emotional resonance, beyond its literal meaning of ‘the place one lives’.

Home is represented by a combination of factors, affinity with one’s place of residence, by the proximity of family and friends, by personal and community identity, by how one lives and works, by shared values and experiences. Feeling ‘at home’ in a place is never a given, it is something that needs to be worked at. It requires us to adapt to new situations and surroundings, to contribute to society and to become involved in and engaged with the lives of those around us.

The Place I Call Home uses photography and lens-based media to explore the notion of home as it relates to contemporary experiences

of the Arabic diaspora living in the UK and British people living in the Gulf. With the huge transformational changes happening in the Gulf region and UK – geopolitical, economic, social and cultural – the question of how we create places and spaces where we feel at home is a highly pertinent one. Real estate opportunity, the immense new wealth from oil, gas and mineral extraction, financial speculation, globalisation and technology are powerful drivers for trade and business growth. Equally, intercultural exchange, education, innovation and creativity offer momentum for positive societal change such as increased freedom and mobility, health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability. These factors make our cities and neighbourhoods more liveable, our communities more vibrant and harmonious, and our sense of belonging stronger.

The exhibition content and accompanying public programme aim to stimulate an intercultural dialogue focusing on shared history and culture, a debate which is future facing and globally oriented showing how the world is changing and the new opportunities that presents for young people in the Gulf and UK. The ubiquity of visual culture in contemporary society also underpins the curatorial approach to this project. Forms of visual culture are now readily accessible through the exponential growth in digital and mobile telephone technologies. This creates an opportunity to engage a generation highly active on Instagram and other photography-based social media platforms in a conversation about what it means to live in an increasingly digital and globally connected world. The exhibition is accompanied by a combination of physical activities and resources (e.g. talks and events, portfolio reviews, publications) and immersive online engagements (downloadable web resources, use of social media platforms for presentations, debates and creative participation). The print and online resources are published bilingually in English and Arabic."

- The Place I Call Home. David Drake, Ffotogallery, 2019.

Josh Adam Jones is an editorial, lifestyle, advertising and portrait photographer based in Bristol (UK)

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