Cumbria’s university helps celebrate diversity
A new 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.
Together they are hosting an event on Monday 10 February which will kick-start celebrations running up to the 10th anniversary of Carlisle Culture Bazaar – a two-day event that will see 15 students from the university’s London campus making a 650-mile trip to take part in, some of whom have never travelled to northern England before.
Around 25 first-year students who are training to be teachers and a cohort in the final year of their Education Studies degree course are hosting the first ‘Mini Culture Bazaar’ on Monday afternoon.
Taking place on the university’s Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle, the ‘Mini Culture Bazaar’ will witness the students engaging with 100 invited pupils from four of the city’s primary schools – Brook Street, Norman Street, Inglewood Community Nursery and Infant School, and St Cuthbert’s Catholic Community School.
Focused on a theme of ‘recycling’, youngsters will be guided through a series of arts, craft and performing activities by the students and volunteers from Multicultural Cumbria.
Items created on Monday will help build up materials for organisers to use when they stage Carlisle Culture Bazaar, which takes place at Richard Rose Central Academy, Victoria Place, Carlisle on 15/16 February.
Cumbria’s Lord Lieutenant Claire Hensman, the Queen’s representative in the county, will visit the ‘Mini Culture Bazaar’ on Monday afternoon.
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.
“My Institute of Education colleagues train many teachers and education professionals at our London campus and we have close links with the borough of Tower Hamlets. 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, which relocated its office to the university’s Fusehill Street campus in November 2019.
Saj 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 15 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."
* Pictured (l-r) are Ruth Harrison-Palmer, director of Institute of Education at University of Cumbria, and Multicultural Cumbria's Saj Ghafoor with university vice chancellor Professor Julie Mennell.