Rommi Smith: Changing the story – Photographs of British life in black and white (1917-1962)


10 January 2022

29 January 2022
The North Wall Arts Centre
South Parade

Rommi Smith: Changing the story - Photographs of British life in black and white (1917-1962)

About Rommi Smith: Changing the story – Photographs of British life in black and white (1917-1962)

Changing The Story centres on an overlooked part of British history through a series of striking photographs documenting British life from 1917 to 1962.

As the inaugural writer-in-residence at leading photographic archive TopFoto, Dr Rommi Smith explored a lesser-known archive of photographic images and was struck by the diversity of the subjects in them; how the images disrupt ideas of Britishness as, solely, white.

Thirty-four of these photographs are on public display together for the first time, alongside new writing by Rommi interpreting these works.

As part of the exhibition, audio recordings of Rommi’s work are accessible via QR codes; with music by Christella Litras, the texts are performed by Rommi Smith, Christella Litras and actor Lladel Bryant.

Founded in 1927, TopFoto is an independent picture agency of fascinating range and depth, with its archive utilised in education, branding, marketing, advertising and the media globally.

“I open the album and am spellbound; immediately struck that what unites these temporally disparate photographs – these stories of people and places across time and space – is the racial diversity of the protagonists in them. These photos flip the script on Britishness: my history lessons did not look like this.”
—Dr Rommi Smith


Rommi Smith: Changing The Story

Thursday 20 January 2022 at 7.30pm | £10/£5 Students

Join award-winning writer and performer Dr Rommi Smith in conversation with her collaborator, the musician and composer Christella Litras, chaired by Flora Nedelcu-Smith, Managing Partner of TopFoto.

Rommi and Christella perform new work inspired by exhibition images, including one by photographer/filmmaker Ken Russell. This new work is made possible by Writers Mosaic, an initiative of the Royal Literary Fund.

Book tickets

Good to know

The North Wall Gallery is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Monday to Friday and from noon to 4.00pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.

To ensure an enjoyable, safe and comfortable experience for everyone, visitors are asked to continue to follow the organiser’s COVID-19 safety measures.