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Diversity

Posted Aug 11 2008 9:11pm

Caroline Irby: "I am currently...

...travelling throughout the UK in search of a child from every country in the world to interview and photograph. If you know any non-British children living here, born in the country of their nationality please let me know!"

There are children from every UN-recognised country resident in the UK. Sorry Somaliland and Kosovo - you probably don't count, even though I am sure you have residents in the UK.

Caroline and Emily are freelance journalists/photographers who have been commissioned by the national UK newspaper the Guardian and the national UK TV Channel 4 to interview and photograph the ethnic diversity of children living in the UK. They have been scouring the country for child-representatives of every UN-recognised country. Their project will also appear on the web. The aim, obviously, is to show how ethnically diverse the UK is.

So far they have found children of 154 of the 193 but small countries like our own remain difficult. Caroline tells me that Tuvalu was a particularly difficult one and Emily tells me Namibia was also difficult.

Yesterday, after the recommendation of a mutual journalist friend and relative (on Nanda's side), Jaime and Kezia were interviewed and photographed.

I skyped whilst Caroline was there, and filled her in a little bit. It was apparently going well and she promised to send me some photos - looking at her "portfolio" I think they will be truly great.

Good to give some payback!

Emily Butselaar:



"Thank you for your time earlier, I'm so pleased Nanda is interested in the project. As discussed the Guardian has commissioned a project to photograph and interview - by August this year- a child from every country in the world living in the UK. There are 193 countries (according to the UN) so hopefully we will be photographing close to 193 children. The finished work will be published in the Guardian magazine and Channel 4 will be showing the pictures and extracts from the interviews in a series of mini documentaries.



So far we have interviewed 154 children. We have been travelling right across the UK to find children. The material collected will create a historical snapshot of the UK today; its tone will be upbeat, a celebration of diversity. The criteria are that the children are aged between 0 and 16 (inclusive) and, ideally, that they were born in their native country, to both parents of that nationality ie to qualify as 'Cypriot', for example, they should have been born in Cyprus to a Cypriot mother and father.



If the children are very young, we just photograph them and record them telling me their name and the country they are from, no more. If they are older and speak English, we ask about them about their first impressions of Britain, what we could learn from their native country and what their hopes are for the future. It takes around forty minutes to an hour of their time.



The photographer Caroline Irby is travelling to meet the children at their homes, schools or activity clubs, then taking very informal pictures showing the children doing something normal for them: it could be eating, playing, riding the bus home, celebrating a festival or just a simple portrait. Please see attached the attached samples for an idea of how the project will look. If you'd like to see some more examples of her work, please visit www.carolineirby.com.



Only their first names will be used in the magazine / on Channel 4 and the name of the school they attend will not be disclosed.



The story should hopefully increase understanding of the 'experience' people from abroad have in the UK and present migrants in more positive light than it is sometimes the case.



What we are hoping is that we could set up a time and date to photograph and interview Nanda's daughter. She suggested it would be easier to liaise with you to arrange this.



Thank you in advance for your help."

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