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Portrait of Black Britain (PoBB) is a groundbreaking initiative led by Cephas Williams. Our mission is to showcase the diversity and dynamism of Black individuals in the UK through a comprehensive portrait series.


Collaborating with allies from various sectors and members of the Black community, we aim to spotlight and celebrate the significant contributions of Black British people to society today.


This photographic series is not just about increasing visibility; it's an ambitious effort to provide a nuanced, holistic view of Black identity and achievements in the 21st century, serving as a beacon of inspiration and understanding for all.


Join us in making history by contributing to a rich and robust collection of photographs of the Black British population.


Since it's inception we've had 2 major exhibitions and taken this series nationwide with a billboard campaign that highlighted these individuals and their contributions, whether they're making strides in their respective fields or leading their own enterprises we aim to explore what it looks like and means to be Black living in the UK today.

created by

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supported by

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The first phase of Portrait of Black Britain was released at the Manchester International Festival in July 2021 and exhibited at the Arndale Centre

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executive quotes

I was inspired hearing Cephas talk about how we all need to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement – and his focus on the changes needed here in the UK.  As the leader of an arts organisation, I know our sector has a huge part to play in the stories we tell and the questions we ask, but I also know that we need to change ourselves and our structures to truly achieve that impact.  Cephas brings an artist’s and an activist’s perspective to institutional change. He is ready to work with and within organisations to help make change happen.  He is helping us think differently and do better.


The letter combines humane, loving experience:  ‘you have given me the opportunity to see humanity in its purest form at a time of chaos’ with specific and clear guidance for action: ‘In order for us to truly progress we need to have uncomfortable conversations that create tangible solutions.’  We need to hold both of these attitudes together in our hearts and minds as we move forward.

John McGrath

Manchester International Festival, Artistic Director & Chief Executive

Portrait of Black Britain is a creative and impactful exhibition with people at its heart – from the individuals who are featured, to those who are inspired to call for or deliver change as a result. Cephas and the team have done a fantastic job in ensuring the installation remains impactful in such a large, busy space and it really takes visitors on a journey through the Centre, starting on the external steps facing Exchange Square. After a difficult 18 months during the pandemic, visitors to Manchester city centre are seeking meaningful experiences and Portrait of Black Britain offers that as well as encouraging discussion and action in the local community.

David Allinson

Arndale Centre, Director

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