We Are Family

Touring Exhibition

This pop-up exhibition of material from The Multistory Collection will tour to libraries and community centres across Sandwell, exploring ‘family’ through stories and images of local people.

Ask someone to think of a family and you might be able to predict their reply: a dad, a mom and two children, maybe one boy and one girl. Adverts show us these same families eating breakfast at the kitchen table, neat, happy, energetic and loving. But think a little longer; how many families do you know that follow this formula?

Families can be messy or complicated, large, loud, quiet or calm. They come in all shapes and sizes: a single parent and a child; three generations living under one roof; remarried parents whose children become step siblings; and others without children. They are not necessarily related by blood or by legal definitions. Some are built through the bonds of friendship and community.

The exhibition highlights the ways that relationships and individual personalities make a family, as well as external factors, such as cultural background. Many of the photographers included here have been drawn to documenting communities that function like families, finding them in places of worship, markets, pubs and local community centres.

Every family has a different story, each woven with moments of joy and sadness. These stories of family and ancestry have great power over our lives. They can be a source of pride or solace; teach us important lessons about how we want to live; and help us understand why we are who we are.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a programme of public events.


Wednesbury Library

11 – 23 August 2018

Tipton Muslim Community Centre

28 August – 8 September 2018

West Bromwich Central Library

11 – 27 September 2018

Tipton Library

1 – 18 October 2018

Thimblemill Library

22 October – 8 November 2018

Gayton Road Community Centre

21 November – 12 December 2018


Pop Up Portraits

Have your family portrait taken at a pop-up studio run by photography students from Sandwell College.

31 October /  11 – 3 pm, at Thimblemill Library, Smethwick

Who Do You Think You Are? Tracing African Caribbean Ancestry with Paul Crooks

This event explores family stories in the African Caribbean community. It features a talk by Who Do You Think You Are (BBC) genealogist and author Paul Crooks; a discussion about West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre’s upcoming project Gone But Not Forgotten, as well as food and music and a chance to view Multistory’s current touring exhibition We Are Family. 

Talk: 2 – 4 pm

Food and music: 4 – 6 pm

Saturday 17 November, 2018 / 1 – 6 pm at the West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre