David Byrne shares new ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ magazine aimed at tackling division

“This series is hopeful at a time when that is in short supply"

David Byrne has shared a new edition of his online magazine Reasons To Be Cheerful, which focuses on tackling division within society.

The new series We Are Not Divided tells the stories of places and institutions that are succeeding in overcoming division. The multimedia series brings together dozens of written features, infographics, video content and powerful interactive storytelling “to infuse the public dialogue with a perspective that highlights the human capacity for finding ways to move toward each other”.

The latest edition, which launches today (September 17) and runs until November 2, will also feature a collection of original illustrations hand-drawn by Byrne.

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“This series is hopeful at a time when that is in short supply,” Byrne said. “I realise the title might come as a shock. Not divided? Are you kidding me? What world are you living in?

“I am more than a little aware of what’s happening, but the truth is there is evidence that we can find ways to come together – I have to believe that or I would sink into despair. Luckily, there are people and initiatives out there that we can look to for inspiration, and boy do we need it.”

According to a press release, topics included in the latest edition are a British Columbian city that toppled a statue in a way that “led to reconciliation rather than acrimony; a community of Congolese refugees in New York who used theatre to end the tribal strife that had followed them to their new home; how Ireland’s unusual model of having citizens advise the government led to a lasting friendship between a conservative postal worker and a gay IT manager who helped change the fate of Ireland’s gay marriage law”.

In addition, We Are Not Divided will feature a week-long video series entitled Bridging Divides hosted by storyteller and artist Scott Shigeoka in which he interviews people with extraordinary on-the-ground experience bridging divides.

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Earlier this year, Byrne shared an edition that documented the “collective visceral moment” of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, last week it was announced Byrne’s smash-hit Broadway show American Utopia is set to feature at the 2020 BFI London Film Festival, which will run between October 7-18.

The 64th edition will undergo major changes this year in light of the ongoing pandemic, with a programme of 58 films from around the world — 50 of which will be premiering online.

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