Community Manager
27 Apr, 2020
Culture in the Park 2019: Celebrating Chelmsford’s Cultural Diversity

Welcome to the Chelmsford Creatives blog! Each week we will be showcasing creative projects produced by local young people, sharing how we are keeping ourselves busy during social distancing or reflecting on past successes. 

Video by Matty Turner. Words by Badriya Abdullah.

If you asked me two years ago if I thought I could create a festival celebrating Chelmsford’s cultural diversity, my answer would have been a hard no – and I think the majority of my peers in Chelmsford Creatives would have said the same. However, after months of hard work and planning, we created a day which went incredibly well and we’ll remember for quite some time. 

We had control over every aspect of organising Culture in the Park, which was a bit daunting to all of us. But thankfully, Sammy [Chelmsford Museum, Outreach Officer] was there to guide us through the process, and it was pretty easy once we broke our tasks down and took things one step at a time.

We had a say in everything; what artists and community groups we wanted to involve, when and where performances would take place and even advertised the festival on the radio (despite the nerves).Whatever challenge we faced; we came to a solution. For instance, we really wanted a henna stall, but couldn’t stretch our budget far enough. Thankfully, being a Muslim myself, I had a friend who could help us and she proved to be one of the most popular stalls of the day! Though we were all so different, we were united in our goal to create a great day, and each of us brought something that no one else could in terms of creative ideas, like producing our own unique festival programmes (thanks to Hayley Wells, zine extraordinaire!).

When the day arrived, we were all a bit nervous; what if the weather turns? What if something goes wrong? Why and how did Matty tangle all of this bunting? But ultimately, once we got started, we got into the swing of things.

We were all over the place, literally, alternating in roles such as welcoming people into the event, managing performer schedules and tech, taking photos of the day and making sure stall holders had everything they needed. Through it all, we got to watch everyone have fun (and we had some fun ourselves). People were dancing, singing and cooking throughout the day. And most importantly, we got to see how Chelmsford is a melting pot of all different cultures, that we should share and enjoy together.

I’m proud to be part of Chelmsford Creatives and Culture in the Park, and I know my fellow organisers would say the same. We had a blast and all of us would love to takeover another event soon – as long as Matty stays away from the bunting.

Culture in the Park 2019 was a festival celebrating Chelmsford’s cultural diversity, created by a partnership of museum staff, local young people, and community organisations. The project was Chelmsford Museum’s first major co-creation initiative and became the museum’s most highly attended event in its history. Chelmsford Creatives are a group of 15-24 year olds passionate about heritage and culture who develop exhibitions, events and projects in collaboration with the museum.

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