Mourne Mela to Explore and Celebrate Cultural Diversity
ArtsEkta, Northern Ireland’s leading cultural diversity charity, is launching the first in a series of cultural events as part of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Peace IV programme. The Peace IV programme supports a number of locally based projects and initiatives that promote positive relations between people from different communities and backgrounds. This project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU programmes Body (SEUPB).
Mourne Mela is the first event in the series of events co-designed and led by local women from Hilltown Women’s Group. Over the last number of months the women have been exploring music, dance, visual art and food from across the world which has inspired them to create their very own celebration of diversity in their hometown. This project is working with communities across the District Electoral Areas to deliver a 26 hour creative engagement programme including the co-design of free events exploring cultural celebrations and traditions from across the world.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “This local PEACE IV project brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the local area about cultures throughout the world and does it in a way that is fun and unites the community through the spirit of celebrating difference.”
Taking inspiration from the Belfast Mela, which is an annual celebration of global cultures when thousands of visitors come together to celebrate our people and diversity. The Mourne Mela is taking place on the 7 March from 12 noon to 4pm at Hilltown Hall. The free community event will include an amazing line up of global music, dance, family workshops and food sampling.
Looking forward to the event, Arlene Copeland from Hilltown Women’s Group said “This project was a lot of fun, but it also challenged us how we think about people from other cultures and their experiences. It taught us about cultural differences, but it also highlighted the things we have in common, our shared values. This upcoming event is an opportunity to share some of the cultures we have experienced with the wider community and offer a welcome to people from all backgrounds.’’
Match funding for this project has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.