Johnny Pitts

Born and raised in Sheffield, UK, Johny describes himself as a Northern Soul Child.

His father is African American, from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York and met his mother, a white woman from Sheffield during the late 1960s in one of the many soul clubs in the North of England. Having been born out of a happy union of two cultures, Johny is interested in the interplay of black and European culture as a way of understanding his own identity, and shining a light on second/new generation black European identities.

Johny spent four years as a youth worker with Sheffield Council's pioneering Multiple Heritage Service, the first of its kind in Europe, and mentored young people of mixed heritage at various schools across the North of England.

Having spent ten years working in TV as a writer and presenter with MTV, Sky One, ITV, Channel 4, Discovery Channel and currently the BBC, Johny is also a published author, and won a Decibel Penguin Prize for new writers for a short story about his mixed race heritage published by Penguin books.

As a photographer, Johny collaborated with author and mentor Caryl Phillips on a project for The BBC and the British Arts Council's ‘The Space', called ‘A Bend in The River', looking at immigration, and had his first international exhibition at Liege University's ‘What is Africa to Me Now?' conference in 2013.

His photographs have appeared on the front covers of The Journal of Postcolonial Writing and Harvard University's W.E.B DuBois Institute Transition magazine, with a 2000 word essay about Afropean identity published in the latter.

In 2010 he set up the Facebook page ‘Afropean Culture' which won an ENAR Award in 2013 for its contribution to a racism-free Europe. He is currently finishing a travel narrative and photo essay about black Europe, and working with French publishers Les Arenes on a book about young people changing the world.

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  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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