University hosts Lancaster’s Festival of Culture
More than 500 people of all ages came to Lancaster’s Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) for a festival of dance, poetry, prayer, fashion, music and food from around the world.
Organised by Communities Together, the fully-booked event was the ninth Lancaster Festival of Culture – a celebration of diversity in the Lancaster District community which was this year hosted by the University.
With financial support provided by Lancaster University, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster CVS and the Confucius Centre at Lancaster University, the festival was able to provide transport for some of Lancaster’s refugees and asylum seekers to join the celebrations, and to provide food from Guan Zi Chinese Restaurant, Lancaster’s Global Village Cafe and Food Como.
Dr Sayjda Talib, a Lancaster University staff member and a Communities Together representative, co-hosted the grand event with Harsha Shukla, the Chair of the Festival Committee. Attendees were welcomed by the uplifting drumming of Samba Espirito, entering through a full-size Arabic tent and then greeted with traditional North African hospitality.
The event also featured Afro-Brazilian dance with Louise Gibbons, an Arab dance with dancer Waled Elbadry and Klezmer dance, with music from Lancaster band Folk to Folk led by Sian Phillips.
There was prayer and song from Lancaster Ansaar Muslim community and the Naba Arabic School, and a fashion show from the Pakistani youth community.
Not forgetting poetry, song and music from Poland, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan and China - including a Chinese choir accompanied by the Long Walk Chinese Orchestra, set up by More Music in Morecambe in 2004 after the cockling disaster in Morecambe Bay. Music from a traditional three-piece Chinese orchestra, Lancaster’s Twelve Strings, also featured along with a word game from Lancaster’s Chinese community and a stall allowing guests to write their name in Chinese characters.
Head of Stakeholder Relations at Lancaster University, Sarah Rees, said: “We were honoured to host the Festival of Culture as it not only fits with our University values, but it was great to invite the community onto campus, bringing everyone together and celebrating the people, cultures and diverse communities that make up our own campus community and that of the Lancaster District.”
Fiona Frank, Communities Together chair, added: “It was wonderful to see so many people from different cultures, with different life experiences, joining us in the beautiful setting of Lancaster University LICA building.”
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