This is a terrific idea.
I intended to write a book on the effect of benefit denial on the sick and disabled a few years ago, but that would have concentrated on a single group.
A wider-ranging examination is a better introduction.
And it has won the endorsement of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He wrote: “One of the most shameful legacies of this Government will be the way in which it gave rise to a nasty culture of stigmatising working class communities and looking down on those just struggling to survive, who could be any one of us in different circumstances.
“These stereotypes don’t just demonise some of Britain’s most deprived communities, they are actively used to justify and excuse the damaging policies that are making people’s lives worse.
“This book powerfully gives voice to the experiences and perspectives of people who we are used to seeing marginalised and silenced.”
Invisible Britain: Portraits is a forthcoming photographic ethnography book featuring stories of hope and resistance from the unheard voices of those affected by government policy from all across the country.
Each unique story will be told in the person’s own voice and accompanied by a portrait from an accomplished documentary photographer. The purpose of the book is to highlight how various social issues have impacted on people’s lives, and to show what individuals have done to resist and campaign against things like austerity, Brexit, deindustrialisation, cuts to public services and the rise in nationalism.
From a veteran of the Battle of Orgreave, to a Muslim woman campaigning against Islamophobia, through to a Cumbrian fell farmer and a Syrian refugee – these are the voices of Invisible Britain: stories that are rarely told directly and without a filter in the media… Invisible Britain is designed to amplify those voices. It’s also a reaction to the poverty porn narrative that has come to dominate how many now view those on lower incomes or who claim benefits.
Negative and stereotyping narratives which misrepresent residents of council estates, benefit claimants, migrants, refugees and other minority groups, often encourage the public to adopt detrimental opinions about those people. The damage done by programmes like Benefits Street and Skint is immeasurable; they’ve stigmatised not only people who claim benefits, but also people who live in social housing, which makes it far easier for politicians and property developers to demolish council estates, due to the perception that no one really wants to live in that type of housing.
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