Indian dancing, African drumming and an abundance of worldwide cuisines, Holly Skelton headed to Nottingham’s most multicultural festival in the dazzlingly diverse Hyson Green.
With an array of races, religions and growing selection of global stores, it’s easy to see how Hyson Green is one of Nottingham’s most thriving areas and second most popular shopping destination outside of the city centre.
The small neighbourhood is home to over 50 different nationalities and has seen a faster growth development in the last 10 years than any other district in the county.
The Nottingham Women’s Culture Exchange were serving a variety of delicious dishes
To celebrate its diversity, the New Art Exchange held a one-day festival complete with cultural food stalls, free activities and entertainment from around the world.
Festival coordinator and New Art Exchange marketing and communications manager, Laura-Jade Vaughan, has worked hard to organise the day’s exciting line-up of events.
She said: “The aim of Melting Pot is to bring together local communities and celebrate the diversity of the area while enjoying a day of fun activities and new flavours.
“We have so many fantastic community groups here so it’s a great opportunity for people to get involved and try something new.”
Video: Manushi dance performances and African drumming workshops were among the day’s activities
The action-packed schedule included live dance performances, music from South African soul band Salmagundi and a selection of art and craft workshops.
Laura said: “The gallery is a prominent part of the community and feels passionately about giving something back.
“We hope to hold many more events like this here in the future.”
Amongst the selection of mouth-watering food stalls and artistic performances were several charities hoping to raise awareness about local issues.
Farouk Azam, volunteer for Muslim charity Himmah, was collecting items for the charity’s food bank located minutes away on Hubert Street.
Farouk hoped to collect items for nearby charity food bank, Himmah
He said: “Hunger is not just a third world problem.
“Even in our local community there are people struggling to eat and put food on the table.”
Himmah, which aims to provide support to those in need, was set up six years ago by founder Sajid Mohammed, and was the first Muslim food bank in the UK.
Farouk said: “We’re not just about feeding people but about raising awareness and building bridges between different groups in the community.
“We run a food kitchen every Wednesday alongside the Nottingham Liberal Synagogue which encourages members of the Muslim and Jewish communities to come together and enjoy good food in a good social environment.
“Himmah is about making a positive change and putting an end to poverty forever.”
Sitting alongside Farouk at a colourful stall decorated with images of vibrant street art was Boseda Olawoye, a freelance curator and New Art Exchange community engagement producer.
Bo is front-lining a project which aims to inspire young members of the community to work together to create an artistic wall mural which reflects the city’s black history and civil rights.
Bo is front-lining community street mural project, Draw for the Future
She said: “Draw for the Future gives young people the opportunity to produce something which reflects their history as well as presenting their hopes and aspirations for the future.”
The project is in partnership alongside New Art Exchange and the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) and hopes to connect people from minority communities across Nottingham.
Bo said: “We will be working alongside Nottingham muralist Tim Onga and members of Black Lives Matter, NG7 Voices and Hyson Green Youth Club.
“The mural will be created in the New Art Exchange by the end of June and will hopefully be the first of many street art projects happening across the city.”
As the day draws to an end the crowds coming through the doors paint the perfect picture of Hyson Green’s colourful community and mirror the modern society we live in today.
Like a metaphorical representation of the Manushi dancer’s glittering gowns, Melting Pot illustrates the beauty of diversity and proves that when people come together, amazing things can happen.