Day one of the Festival is officially over, and what a day it was! The Multicultural Manchester event began today and featured a variety of fun and educational workshops/taster sessions attended by schools from across the North West. We were there with our trusty sea monkey Diogo to capture all of the activities.
First, we popped in to a ukulele workshop run by David Braithwaite. Pupils from St Joseph’s School in Frizington, Cumbria were there strumming away and learning how to play Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley.
Our musical adventure continued with a workshop on the djembe, an African drum. Music teacher Ian Jones taught the children beats using simple words like ‘coffee’, ‘monkey’, and ‘cat’. We chatted to Ian, who teaches the djembe to a variety of different age groups, after the session. “To be honest, I love drumming,” he told us. “And I love the interaction with the kids and seeing how they respond to it.” Diogo the sea monkey also enjoyed learning to play the djembe! A great musical performance also took place in the atrium, where The Golden Choir from Heald Place Primary School sang a couple of songs for us.
Next on our to-do list was ‘A Thousand Manchesters’, a poetry workshop taught by Martin Kratz, an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. Gifted and talented pupils attended to learn about language diversity in Manchester. They were encouraged to add sentences to a poem about Manchester, written by a number of visiting schools throughout the day. “It’s quite nice, and often surprising, to see what the pupils come up with,” Martin told us.
We also had a quick chat with Emma Lashmar, from Furness Education Consortium, who attended with the students. “These pupils are usually quite reserved,” she said, “But I think the workshops will really help them come out of their shells.”
We also sat in on the human rights workshop, run by two history students from Manchester Metropolitan University, Isobel Smith and Rose Rawstron. High school students were encouraged to think about our rights to education and freedom of expression. They watched an important video based on Malala’s story and were then encouraged to write a poem or speech based on what they had learned. “In this kind of environment I think the students take it more seriously,” Isobel tells us. “I think it’s good for them to learn all of this from someone other than their teacher.”
In the main atrium, children were thinking about migration at the Paddington Bear stand. Paddington himself came from Peru to the UK, so pupils thought about how it might feel to move to another country. Some of them had already experienced it themselves. Kevin Danson, an ambassador for the Festival who was at the Paddington stand, said that, “One pupil told us that she came from Zimbabwe at the age of eight to meet her father for the first time. I thought that was really beautiful.”
So it looks like day one of the Festival has been a huge success! Diogo really enjoyed the day, too. He has travelled all the way from Madagascar to be here and loves posing for photos, Day two of Multicultural Manchester is tomorrow, and Diogo will be joining the Media Team again, so keep your eyes peeled for him!