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Books

First look at This Separated Isle, a new photo book examining divided Britain

The book is the latest project from documentary filmmaker Paul Sng, one of The Big Issue’s 2020 Changemakers

The striking first images from a new narrative photography book that will examine multicultural Britain at one of the most turbulent junctures in its history have been released.

This Separated Isle will feature stories and portraits of people from across the UK, asking questions about the relationship between identity and nationhood to explore not only what divides us, but also the ties that bind us together as a nation.

The book will seek to examine the impact of events including the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the Windrush scandal — all of which have exposed rising divisions in our society — on the concept of national identity and the meaning of ‘Britishness’.

With a foreword by award-winning author Kit de Waal, the book combines direct testimonies with images shot by award-winning documentary photographers and emerging talents, to present a timely snapshot of modern Britain and a portrait of a nation where equality, diversity and inclusion are essential for a healthy society.

Several of the powerful first images to be released from the upcoming book feature in this article. You can also watch the book’s trailer below.

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This Separated Isle is the latest project from documentary filmmaker Paul Sng, one of The Big Issue’s Changemakers 2020 — our annual list of 100 people doing what they can to make things better in Britain and beyond.  It follows Sng’s first book, Invisible Britain: Portraits of Hope and Resilience.

His previous film projects include Dogs on the Streets, a documentary on the lives of homeless dog owners and the volunteers who work with them to ensure their welfare, which aimed to challenge the perception around rough sleepers and their companions.

Continuing to help the homeless through his art, Sng has also revealed that he is keen to include a Big Issue vendor within the pages of This Separated Isle.

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to pay for the book’s initial development costs and the artists involved. If successful, the book will be published by non-profit university press Policy Press in September 2021.

Contributors to the campaign can choose from a range of rewards, including copies of the book and limited edition prints.

Main image: 03 Joy by Mario W. Ihieme

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