The relationship between University of Cumbria and Multicultural Cumbria is forging closer links between the county’s diverse communities and the institution’s staff and students across its campuses. We worked together to create the first ever Mini Culture Bazaar on 10th February 2020.
This event kick-started celebrations running up to the 10th anniversary of Carlisle Culture Bazaar. A total of one hundred pupils from Robert Ferguson Primary School, Inglewood Community Nursery and Infant School, Norman Street and Brook Street School attended to take part in an afternoon of art and craft activities, food tasting, dancing with Joy Imem Dale, and storytelling with award winning Romani storyteller Richard O’Neill. The event was hosted by 25 first-year University students who were training to be teachers, and a cohort in the final year of their Education Studies degree.
The theme of the event was ‘recycling’, and the items created helped build up materials for organisers to use during the main Culture Bazaar event the following week. Claire Hensman, Cumbria’s Lord Lieutendant, paid the event a visit.
Ruth Harrison-Palmer, director of the Institute of Education at University of Cumbria, said: “As a university, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Multicultural Cumbria late last year as we have many shared values and therefore we’re delighted to be able to expand initiatives like this. The university is a champion for diversity across all of its operations and campuses be it in Cumbria, north Lancashire, London or on the international stage. […] Our ‘Mini Culture Bazaar’ on campus, along with Carlisle Culture Bazaar, is allowing us to bring our student community together in a really powerful way that we’ve not been able to do before.
The ‘Mini Culture Bazaar’ and the larger weekend event are providing our students from Carlisle and our London campus with unique opportunities to break down barriers. They will be making a real impact on the communities and the lives of those around them while developing community cohesion and spreading the word of the warm community spirit and friendship which Carlisle and Cumbria are famous for.”
Saj Ghafoor, a University of Cumbria honorary fellow, is chief officer of Multicultural Cumbria. She said: “It’s been a busy three months since we moved to the University of Cumbria. In that time, I am delighted to have had such support, I couldn’t ask for more. Everyone at the university we have met has been so kind, friendly and helpful, enabling Multicultural Cumbria to reach out and connect with schools, students, staff as well as running activities to bring in the community.
We went to London to invite students to come to Carlisle Culture Bazaar 2020 and 20 are coming to volunteer and do activities. During further discussions we came up with having a Mini Culture Bazaar at the Fusehill Street campus. It started with 50 children and three classrooms and has turned into 100-plus children and an entire gym.
We are also looking forward to a Multicultural Conference in October. It’s been such a positive experience and I look forward to working on future projects.”