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Portrait of a man

Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance

Which stories get remembered, and why? This exhibition explores some new stories from history – stories that help us to separate fact from fiction and history from myth.

(Painting) Chantal Joffe, ‘Me, Em and Nat’, 2019 © Chantal Joffe. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro

Real Families: Stories of Change

Sun 10 September - Sun 7 January 2024

Fitzwilliam Museum

Family. It seems like such a simple, familiar concept. And yet the past fifty years have brought far-reaching changes to how families are formed, and how they endure. Some of these changes reflect innovations in science and technology, while others speak to a new acceptance of long suppressed and silenced identities and communities.

Bringing together more than 120 artworks spanning painting, photography, sculpture and film, 'Real Families: Stories of Change' asks us to consider what makes a family today, and the impact our families have on us, through the eyes of contemporary artists.

Alongside major UK and international loans, the exhibition also features historic works by artists including Joshua Reynolds, Nicolas Poussin and Albrecht Dürer to reveal how family life has been portrayed throughout art history. Works by contemporary artists such as Aliza Nisenbaum and JJ Levine challenge the traditional notion of family as made up of two married heterosexual parents and their biological children, while portraits by Celia Paul and Lucian Freud remind us that every family changes over time.

Artists Jim Goldberg, Tracey Emin and Paula Rego are among those whose work challenges the typical ideas of ‘happy’ and ‘unhappy’ families, instead revealing how families are a product of relationships between family members and the environments they live in. Cathy Wilkes, Hardeep Pandhal and others look at how each family leaves its imprint on the next generation – through biological, social and cultural influences.

A spotlight on artist Chantal Joffe brings together ten of her paintings made over the past two decades, capturing the joys, tensions and complexities of her family experience and inviting us to explore the intricacies of modern family relationships.

Developed in collaboration with the world-leading Centre for Family Research in Cambridge, Real Families shows us that what matters most is not the make-up of the family but the quality of family relationships and the social world in which the family exists.


Cost: Free

Enquiries and booking

Booking is recommended for this event.



In person

10:00am-5:00pm Tuesday-Saturday every week from Friday 6 October until Sunday 7 January 2024 (except between Sunday 24 December and Tuesday 26 December)

12:00pm-5:00pm Sunday every week from Wednesday 6 September until Saturday 30 December

12:00pm-5:00pm Sunday every week from Monday 1 January 2024 until Sunday 7 January 2024

All times

Sun 10 September 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Sun 17 September 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Sun 24 September 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Sun 1 October 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Fri 6 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 7 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 8 October 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 10 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 11 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 12 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 13 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 14 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 15 October 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 17 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 18 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 19 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 20 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 21 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 22 October 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 24 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 25 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 26 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 27 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 28 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 29 October 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 31 October 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 1 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 2 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 3 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 4 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 5 November 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 7 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 8 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 9 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 10 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 11 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 12 November 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 14 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 15 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 16 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 17 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 18 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 19 November 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 21 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 22 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 23 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 24 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 25 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 26 November 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 28 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 29 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 30 November 10:00AM - 5:00PM
TodayFri 1 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 2 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 3 December 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 5 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 6 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 7 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 8 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 9 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 10 December 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 12 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 13 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 14 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 15 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 16 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 17 December 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Tue 19 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 20 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 21 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 22 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 23 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 24 December 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Wed 27 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 28 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 29 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 30 December 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Tue 2 January 2024 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 3 January 2024 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 4 January 2024 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 5 January 2024 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat 6 January 2024 10:00AM - 5:00PM
Sun 7 January 2024 12:00PM - 5:00PM


Address: Fitzwilliam Museum
Trumpington Street
Email: fitzmuseum-enquiries@lists.cam.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 1223 332900
Fax: +44 1223 332923