The play’s the thing: the university using drama to bridge ethnic divides

Rainy season has begun in Ethiopia’s south. On a stormy morning at a university in the town of Wolkite, students are using drama to break down entrenched ethnic barriers.

Understanding between groups is a rarity in a country where violent conflict is common. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has promised greater stability, but tensions remain high in various regions and the education system is no more immune to deep-rooted tribal differences than anywhere else.

Brexit Britain: The Perfect Storm Facing British Farmers

The Royal Welsh Show is winding down for another year. Red-faced farmers wrestle with unruly sheep as they battle for Best in Show, cows bask in the cool shade of the stables, while horses trot to attention. It’s business as usual for the agricultural fair, which has been running for over a century. Except this year, there’s a political undercurrent that is unavoidable—not least because Theresa May helicoptered in for the occasion. 

“Everything was working quite well as it was; we’re stronger as a bigger collective,” says Remainer Bruce Ingram, who commands a flock of 3,000 sheep in Aberdeenshire and has just won first prize in the interbreed pair category for his Charollais ewe. “

Fishing for a Future After Brexit

Dawn breaks on Newlyn, an industrious fishing harbour in southern Cornwall. Seagulls scream and circle a sardine hauler that has just come in from a night out at sea. As the dusty light floods the water, two fishermen haul tons of their slippery catch into orange crates. It’s been a bountiful trip and it’s only the beginning of the sardine season. Most of this load will go to canneries in France and for these fisherman, a strong trade relationship with the mainland is their livelihood.

The sight of a flotilla of boats charging down the Thames just days before the June 23 referendum was arguably one of the most surreal sights of the 2016 Brexit campaign. But while it may have erred on pantomime, it highlighted deeply-felt frustrations shared by fishermen across the UK, whose unhappy prospects—until then—hadn’t made headline news.

Opioids in America: An Intimate Portrait of a National Crisis

In a small, suburban town in Ohio, prospects are low and opioid addiction is high. Once a bastion of the manufacturing industry, Chillicothe – population 27,000 –  is now in decline. Plagued by mass unemployment and the prevalence of opiates, for some, it is a living hell.

 

This imbalance is being mirrored in towns, cities and suburbs across the United States with chilling consistency, contributing to the deadliest drug crisis in American history. But beyond poverty and poor employment prospects, the origins of the ‘public health emergency’ can be clearly traced to the overprescription of opiate-based drugs during the late 1990s, when healthcare providers – reassured by pharmaceutical companies that patients would not become addicted – began to prescribe them at greater rates.

The Troubles: Capturing the Conflict

Borders, literal and figurative, have long been a prominent part of Northern Ireland’s landscape. And with a border comes two sides, necessarily and historically opposed.

The thirty-year civil war – a chaotic period known as “The Troubles” – officially began in 1968 but the bubbling violence which marked it was laden with deep-rooted divisions. Indeed, the conflict could be said to have begun 800 years prior, when the Normans first invaded Ireland and heralded centuries of direct English rule. Social and economic inequalities, religious difference and the erosion of cultural expression were all woven into the complex fabric of war and the scale of suffering was both epic and individual. By the mid-1990s, more than 3500 people had been killed.

 

Telling the Stories of Defectors from North Korea

The life of a North Korean defector is brutally carved into two parts: before and after. Those who escape exchange their country’s near-total isolation for the headiness of freedom. But in the process, their history is erased. 

It was this disordered transition that Tim Franco, a photographer who splits his time between South Korea and China, decided to explore in a new portrait series called “Unperson.” A riff on an Orwellian construct from the novel “1984,” his work examines the “vaporization” of the defectors’ past, which has left many in limbo, free but incomplete. 

Along These Shifting Borders, Life is Full of Unease and Adversity

Fear, thick and unyielding, is a constant for many Georgians living along the shifting borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian-supported separatist territories that were once governed by Georgia—and officially still are according to the United States and the majority of the international community. Could this be the day they wake up and find that—overnight, without warning—their home now sits on foreign soil and their money is worthless?

 

The Troubles: Capturing the Conflict

Borders, literal and figurative, have long been a prominent part of Northern Ireland’s landscape. And with a border comes two sides, necessarily and historically opposed.

The thirty-year civil war – a chaotic period known as “The Troubles” – officially began in 1968 but the bubbling violence which marked it was laden with deep-rooted divisions. Indeed, the conflict could be said to have begun 800 years prior, when the Normans first invaded Ireland and heralded centuries of direct English rule. Social and economic inequalities, religious difference and the erosion of cultural expression were all woven into the complex fabric of war and the scale of suffering was both epic and individual. By the mid-1990s, more than 3500 people had been killed.

Hope Amid Despair in One Black Suburb

Resilience has been the cornerstone of Lincoln Heights since its inception 70 years ago. The Cincinnati suburb was the first African-American self-governing community north of the Mason-Dixon line. Cheap plots of land offered an opportunity for black people traveling north in search of a better life. But after a promising start, the village quickly fell into disrepair. Institutional racism, poor infrastructure and a dire lack of money all contributed to its gradual decay.

Photographer Inzajeano Latif quickly identified with the town. Hailing from Tottenham, north London, Latif noted many similarities between this neighborhood and his back home. 

How Photographers Capture the Emotion of a Protest

The impact of a protest isn’t always easily quantifiable. Though some uprisings have resulted in immediate and tangible change, some start slow-burning fires that spread gradually through popular consciousness. Others fail to make any substantial dent on the status quo. But there's no doubt that the freedom to express one's beliefs in a peaceful manner, without fear, is a necessary part of democracy.

Photography’s role in this democratic exercise has changed over the years, particularly as technology has developed and mutated, and a new Magnum Photo exhibition makes that clear by looking back at the scale and impact of protest photography from the 1930s up until the present day.

This Hyperlocal Museum Puts the American Dream in Perspective

“Poverty” is a loaded word, especially in the U.S., and few know the ugly reality of its use better than artist Brenda Ann Kenneally. At its core, her work is a study of life and opportunity under straightened circumstances in the upstate New York city of Troy. But instead of categorizing her subjects as “poor” or “unemployed”, she promotes a deeper understanding, with all its messy complexity; the ultimate antidote to populist “fast” media.

Context has always been central to Kenneally’s projects. She’s there for the births, the deaths, the incarcerations and birthday celebrations, all carefully documented through photography and collected ephemera.