Festival of Culture 2023

30 April 2023

From 26-28 April 2023, the Murray Centre was taken over by the Festival of Culture residency, which provided a plethora of activities, talks and workshops for the Downe House community to attend.   

Wednesday was dedicated to Africa, The Caribbean and South America. The day started with a samba drumming workshop run by the Music Department, which allowed the students to experience this style of Brazilian music, as well as having the chance to create their own beats and rhythms. This was followed by an African beading workshop, led by two of our own students, who demonstrated their skills and showed students how to experiment with different colours. The day also featured colourful Latin and African dance workshops that girls took to like a duck to water. The day ended with some African and Latin music and a movie night, showing the film Poetic Justice, which everyone found incredibly insightful and moving.   

Europe, Australasia, and North America were the focus of Thursday’s activities. The day began with an exhilarating game of Pétanque outside the Murray Centre, led by Miss Williams. Throughout the day, there were various talks by students and members of staff, with a crowd favourite being Spanish Artwork and its Influence on Hispanic Culture, led by one of our very own Lower Sixth Spanish students. At lunchtime, we hosted the Newbury Caledonian Society, who led a Scottish dance workshop which was great fun! The evening saw the entire Lower School gather in the Auditorium to watch the film, Ratatouille. The Global Snacks Corner was a strong favourite for all! 

Friday was all about the Far East, The Gulf and the Southeast. We celebrated with a mufti day where the whole School community dressed up in their cultural clothes. All mufti day donations were in support of the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. In the morning, there was a selfie corner, an origami workshop and an Indian calligraphy workshop, led by our exchange students from Mayo College in India. In the afternoon there was a henna tattooist in residence, and judging by the long queues, this was definitely the most popular activity of the week! At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed some delicious street food from around the world and the residency closed with a brilliant cultural performance gala, where the students and staff had the opportunity to showcase a special part of their culture, whether that be a song, a musical performance, a dance or a reading.  

Thank you to the Festival of Culture committee and the Global Team for all their hard work in planning this event, it was great to see everyone across the School community celebrating diversity and getting involved in all the activities. 

Discover more about Downe House International and Global Partnerships here or follow dh_global_partnerships on Instagram for the latest updates.

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