Our People, Our Poverty

A Look Into The Exhibition Shifting The Narrative Surrounding Poverty

Poverty in the UK is a rising concern. A decade of public service cuts and the worse squeeze on wages in centuries has seen poverty rise substantially. Low pay, insecure work and a benefits freeze has trapped families below the breadline, all the while the rich get richer. Worst of all, it’s reported up to 30% of children are living in relative poverty, that’s over 4.1 million children. The statistis suggest that across the UK, every one in five of us is living in poverty. It’s now an everyday reality that people are living without basic essentials, they are living their entire lifetime without living – and we’re all probably closer to it than we’d like to think. 

Earlier this year, photographer Jilian Edelstein worked with the Joshua Tree Foundation to put together the exhibition ‘Picture Britain: Our People, Our Povertyit celebrates the strength and resilience of people swept into poverty in the UK. Our society has been so heavily divided; Labour vs. Conservative, Brexit vs. Remain and even so into the pandemic as people took to the streets to protest while others felt we should all still be at home. This divisive stance has for so long also been applied to class and economic status, but Edelstein’s exhibition aims to shift the narrative around poverty by highlighting those things we have in common, whatever our economic circumstances.  

“If poverty was pulling you under and you faced losing everything, what one thing could you not live without?”

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People trying to survive below the breadline rely heavily on their community and the generous organisations the operate within to get by. Though our government has fallen short, as a society should not be following suit. There is so much more that can be done to address this imbalance; less of a “them” and “us” approach.