The Boy with the Topknot

There’s a new 90 minute BBC drama about Sathnam Sanghera, a boy born to Punjabi immigrants living in Wolverhampton, covering topics like secrecy, mental health and the life of a second-generation immigrant. It’s based on a best-selling book where the protagonist moves to London and embarks on a career as a journalist, while gradually building up the courage to tell his traditional Sikh parents about his English girlfriend.

 

 

 

You’ll be able to catch it on BBC Two at 9pm on Monday 13th November, or after that on BBC iPlayer.

Sacha Dawan who stars as the older Sathnam says that he nearly turned down the role as it felt too close to home, and made him think about his own upbringing too much. As a young man he also felt like he “was running away, not just from my culture, but from stuff that was going on at home.”

I’m hoping the drama not only gets the audience thinking about how it feels to be an immigrant and the struggles of growing up in a new culture, but also some facts about Sikhism. Fingers-crossed!

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Parliament is more Diverse

While a lot of talk after Britain’s General Election last week has been on the Conservatives special friendship with the DUP, or the Labour Party making big increases in the number of MPs they have in Parliament, there has also been some quiet appreciation of how diverse Parliament is finally becoming.

  • 45 out of the 650 MPs openly define themselves as being LGBT
  • In 2015 there were 41 MPs from ethnic minorities and now there are 52
  • In 2015 there were 191 female MPs and now there are 208 women MPs who’ll sit in the House of Commons
  • There are no specific figures on MPs with disability
  • In 2015 only 43% of MPs were educated in the comprehensive system (i.e. not private and not selective) but that has increased in 2017 to 51% (this is compared to 88% of the UK population who received comprehensive education!)
  • Notable firsts are the first female Sikh MP, a blind MP and an MP with a richly diverse international heritage

 

Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare

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This photograph of an 18 year old Johannesburg student has just won a prestigious photography award. Part of a series of photographs entitled Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare, the photographer Claudio Rasano explores whether individuality can be preserved when school uniforms are worn.

Before the ceremony to collect his prize for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Competition Rasano explained the issues he was interested in. “Children themselves have been known to rebel against uniforms,” he said, “especially as they approach the awkward age characterised by the need to fit in and the desire to stand out, all at the same time. Some experts too have spoken against school uniforms on the grounds that they suppress individuality and diversity.”

You can Rasano’s portraits and other shortlisted pieces of work at the London National Portrait Gallery until 26th February.