Stories of Home

Jon Tonks


Stories of Home is a portrait of the Central and Eastern European communities living in Sandwell, home to the biggest Polish population in the UK. The photographs document and celebrate the everyday aspects of people’s lives – at work or home, at school or a celebration. The work was made during a two-year period against a backdrop of divisive geopolitical rhetoric following the 2016 EU referendum. It explores the human connection: what binds a community; and what is important about our surroundings that make a place home?

As Jon became known amongst the community, he was invited to family barbecues, scout gatherings, Independence Day events, christenings, New Year’s rituals and foraging trips. Thanks to their generosity, the project reveals much about cultural identity and the hopes and fears for the future of the people who took part.

Thanks to all the participants for sharing their stories and to the following organisations for helping us meet people: Brushstrokes, Emconet, EWA CIC, Nash Dom and Polish Millennium House. Thanks also to Anneka French for her curatorial support.

Produced by Multistory and supported by Creative Black Country.


Jon Tonks is a photographer living in Bath, UK. His work focuses on telling stories about people’s lives shaped by history and geography. He has been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing National Portrait Prize three times, twice for the Terry O’Neill award and, in 2014, Tonks was presented with the Vic Odden Award by the Royal Photographic Society for his first book ‘Empire’ – a journey across the South Atlantic exploring life on four remote British Overseas Territories. 


Press coverage

The Guardian Online Gallery