Home is a lot more nuanced than a mere hearth, especially for a generation whose priorities and identities mark major changes from what preceded them.
“Home Truths,” a short film created for U.K.-based department store Selfridges and directed by Kathryn Ferguson, explores what home means now. Some answers will always be the same: “Just finding that sense of belonging,” says dancer Solomon Golding, whose simple statement masks the complexity of his own dual identity.
Others might surprise. In addition to Golding, the film includes photographer Campbell Addy, journalist Kieren Yates, and Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt of Art School.
Director and resident filmmaker Ferguson has tackled gender diversity, ageing and body images before, notably Selfridges’ “Incredible Machines” from 2016. She’s also worked with Nike and Dove. “Home Truths” takes the formula seen in her last Selfridges spot—letting a diversity of women speak for themselves—and applies it to young creative people.
Golding is half-white and grew up in a Tottenham-based Rastafarian family. He’s since joined the Royal Ballet. For him, home is partly composed of identity, the ways you both integrate in and defy your surroundings. “We’ve all got a lot more in common than we think,” he says. “And it’s one of those things that—unless you don’t travel, and put yourself around people who are different, physically different than you—you won’t ever realise.”
Meanwhile, Kieren Yates talks about her zine project, British Values, which explores notions of diverse Britishness. Her identity is as much composed of her family’s immigrant background as it is her generation. “If you’re part of a generation who’ve made peace with the fact that you might never own a home, for sheer self preservation you have to work out how to make a home on the move, and find your center,” Yates says.
Then come Loweth and Barratt, whose home is composed of a creative fashion community where gender is understood as fluid and worth exploring in all its states. “We found our home just in working, being passionate about a project, being creative. That gives you a sense of belonging, which I think is similar to that feeling of home.”
Lastly, photographer Addy founded Niijournal, which he describes as “a journal of affairs exploring sexuality, race and representation in a tightly-bound, safe space.” While Addy himself is English, his grandmother came from Africa.
“No matter where you are in the world, if you’re of a diaspora in any shape or form, there’s a sense of a question mark, to where you belong,” he says, going on to describe a recent trip to Ghana that inspired his creativity.
“I was just excited again for the first time in a long time. I was taking pictures, learning about my history,” says Addy. “The sun, colors were just so vibrant. I was like, I need to create something that explores and expresses those themes—because it’s there, burning and bubbling underneath the surface in everything.”
The film ends with him exhorting viewers to “release your inhibitions,” no small message to a generation that will now be asked to deal with the disruption of Brexit. Add to this latter the general political atmosphere in other major countries, and it’s easy to assume the world is only becoming less stable and more divided.
But the message here is that people adapt. They create safe havens where they can and seek to share them. Far from being limited to any fixed structure or place, home manifests as connectivity that isn’t afraid of exploring and embracing its own variances.