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OUR WORLD FESTIVALS

The Artists
Above Picture Courtesy of Eastern Evening News

Children's Our World Festivals are fun, celebratory and educational. Every summer thousands of Norfolk schoolchildren have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate our increasingly global and multicultural society. Through performances, workshops, displays, stalls and educational activities pupils, their teachers and parents can meet and learn from people from a wide mix of geographical and ethnic backgrounds. This is particularly important in a predominantly white shire county like Norfolk where:
"The majority of people do not meet or mix socially with people from ethnic minorities and are so denied the opportunity to share and learn from other cultural experiences." (Multicultural and Anti-Racist Education, Norfolk County Council, 1996).

Traditionally the Festivals start at about 11.30 am when schools arrive and picnic on the field. At 12.00 pm the Festival is opened by Nachda Sansar with a performance of traditional Sikh Bhangra dancing; and thereafter the children, teachers and parents are free to watch further performances or roam and take part in drumming workshops, storytelling sessions, art activities, etc. The Festival ends at approx 2.30 pm when Nachda Sansar return with a modern bhangra session in which all pupils AND their teachers participate - it's fun for the children to see their headteachers bopping!

The Artists...This year (2001) NEAD together with Gordon Phillips of Norfolk Multicultural Services are staging 4 Festivals on the school fields of primary schools in Wells, Mundesley, Hoveton and Gorleston. Details and a booking form were sent to all Norfolk schools in November 2000, and by January all 5,000 places for these Festivals had been taken up - there is a great demand for these events, our apologies to those schools who enquired too late.

Next year we aim to organise at least two large scale Festivals in Norfolk. Plans are at an early stage but we think these might be at Gressenhall during the period when the Norfolk Rural Life Museum is staging a Tanzanian village exhibition/experience - for more details of this see www.homestead.com/villagemuseum/index.html. We are also discussing the possibility of staging two other Festivals in Essex and Cambridgeshire in order to widen the opportunities.

Performers and artists booked for the Children's Our World Festivals in 2001 include: the Nachda Sansar Dancers (traditional & modern bhangra performances and spontaneous cricket displays); Tony Ojo Ogogo and other The Artistsmembers of Heritage Ceramics (African dance, drumming, storytelling and arts activities); Spirit of Carnival aka Norwich Carnival Club (making carnival costumes and accessories); Natyapriya (South Asian dance and art activities); Lakshmi Holmstrom & Anoushka Dave (South Asian Storytelling); Samia Malik (Indian song and music); Kai Yin Low (multicultural murals); Grace Po-Ting Fang & Mari Honjo (Chinese cultural activities); Deep Music aka Derek Paice (samba and African drumming workshops). The whole event will be 'compered by the storyteller and ringmaster John Row.

For more details about the Festivals please see the Norfolk Multicultural Services Website at www.multicultural.free-online.co.uk, or contact Sandy Betlem at NEAD: sandy@nead.org.uk.


Finance for these Festivals is provided by the Community Fund (formerly National Lottery Charities Board), Oxfam, Christian Aid and Norfolk LEA.

 


The Children’s Our World Festivals are cited in the DfID/DfEE Guidance Document, 'Developing a global dimension in the school curriculum' (September 2000), as an example of good practice. "Over 4000 school children took part in the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Children's Our World Festival in Summer 2000. The performance, displays and activities for the festival day were the culmination of an extensive programme of classroom workshops, with teachers and pupils working together with local artists from other countries. The project, which was run by Norfolk Education and Action for Development and supported by Norfolk LEA, aimed to promote a greater sense of global citizenship and sustainable development amongst young people in Norfolk, and to develop practical strategies to enable schools to continue their work in the future."

 

 

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