Faithful Friends – Portraits of Friendships

Since September 2011, Near Neighbours has been encouraging people across the city to come together to make new friends, deepen relationships and transform their communities. We now have 92 projects that have been funded by Near Neighbours – initial feedback suggests 3,000 people have met each other through these events.

To celebrate these friendships between people of different faiths and ethnicities we comissioned 15 portraits taken by a professional photographer, Dee from Outroslide, that give the people and their relationship a context.

We shot the pictures and interviewed all the people involved during June, July, August, September and a bit of October, had bespoke display boards made that could fit in a car and be assembled as quickly as possibly (thanks to John at Morse-Brown Design) , hunted around for funding (thanks Transforming Church and Westhill Endowment) and eventually launched the exhibition on November 17th at St Martin’s Church in the Bull Ring.

The events was hosted by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart working with comedian Barbara Nice and Sajid Khan. Guests browsed the exhibition, heard from some of the participants, danced, laughed and enjoyed afternoon tea.

The exhibition and its launch were featured on Central News – the piece included interviews with people who had been involved with the projects and some of those whose friendships are depicted in the portraits. You can watch the coverage here.

Since then the Exhibition has been seen at the launch of the Christian Muslim report into women’s work, at the national Together In Service event hosted by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It is booked by local primary schools, churches, universities and other places of worship but is available for anyone to borrow.

Booking forms and more details are all on our website – we really want people to see these pictures and think hard about the personal and political importance of friendships that bridge communities, challenge prejudice and broaden our imagination. Have a look at the pictures and stories featured in the exhibition on the Outroslide website.

(All pictures from the launch were taken by Helen Tomblin – thanks.)






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