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David Shaw

NOOR - Parallel Lives

David Shaw is a photographer and journalist from the UK who works on long-term projects related to human rights and community issues. Through photography, documentary film and writing, Shaw aims to provide a space for people and places to tell their stories with the goal of connecting people across cultures.


Parallel Lives


Oldham, a post industrial town near Manchester was named as ‘Britain’s most deprived town’ in 2016. Living parallel to a predominantly British working class population, a large community of Asian and British-Asian people has developed after their descendants arrived to work in the cotton mills, which have now all closed.


The Asian and British-Asian community, who are predominantly Pakistani and Bangladeshi, emigrated to Oldham in the 60s after a nationwide push to employ people in the cotton mills. They moved and were located into the same areas as their families and friends which over time caused residential districts in Oldham to be only resided in by one of the ethnic groups, meaning integration between the communities has proven difficult. Fifteen years after the infamous Oldham riots the Brexit vote exposed a cultural divide in Britain however the residents of Oldham have known this divide for decades.


Exploring the concept of ‘Parallel Lives’ developed after the riots; where two communities live side-by-side but separately, these images tell the story of modern Oldham and the people who are promoting integration through the actions they take in their daily lives.

Two newborn twins in a home in Westwood.
Malaika, a local Oldham resident and the daughter of Najma Khalid.