- Each year The Heritage Lottery Fund provides £3m worth of grants through their Sharing Heritage Grants to not-for-profit groups wanting to explore their community’s heritage. Melbourne Festival in South Derbyshire celebrates a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for their exciting new project celebrating Melbourne’s Market Gardening Heritage – “For the Love of Lettuce”.
Melbourne Festival would like say a big thank you to everyone who supports the National Lottery, we are proud to say that we have received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant! We are very excited about starting our new project – For the Love of Lettuce – Celebrating Melbourne’s Market Gardening Heritage. Melbourne Festival has been given £10,000 to find out more about the history of Market Gardening in Melbourne and to highlight what the three surviving Market Gardeners are doing to ensure the industry survives in the present day. We are looking forward to collaborating on this project with two other amazing arts organisations – People Express and Talking Birds.
Melbourne Festival is the trading name of Arts Melbourne Limited, a not for profit company limited by guarantee, this means that every penny is ploughed into making the Festival special for local people, artists and visitors. The Festival of creative and performing arts was set up thirteen years ago to celebrate the beautiful architecture in Melbourne and promote the arts. Each year Melbourne Festival has a theme and this year our theme celebrates our hardworking Market Gardeners. In the 19th and early 20th Century Melbourne had nearly 150 Market Gardeners, the industry declined dramatically in the 20th Century but three local families the Heaths, Jacksons and Sharps are still going strong and their produce is sold from their farms, at local farmers markets and to wholesalers – you can’t get fresher food!
Melbourne Historical Research Group researched Market Gardening in 2002. During 2017 Melbourne Festival will build on their Market Gardening Project by working with other Midlands based arts organisations to engage with local people whose families were Market Gardeners to collect their memories, anecdotes and images of the industry. These memories will be used to create a large online archive over the next year which we can all share, initial findings will be shown at Melbourne Festival on 16 & 17 September and in Melbourne Library in the autumn. It will also be used to brief professional Artists to create sculptures, living pictures and installations from local produce reflecting our findings ready for this year’s Festival. Produce for the project will also be grown by Heaths Farm Shop, F Jackson and Son and William Sharp & Sons, members of Melbourne Gardening Club and at Whistlewood Common. Melbourne Festival is also working with children in Melbourne Infant School, Melbourne Junior School, Melbourne Scouts & Guides, The Athenaeum Youth Club who will be growing summer vegetables and working with professional artists on creative projects this summer.
The Festival team are currently recruiting volunteers to help interview people about their memories of the halcyon days of market gardening in Melbourne. Please contact us if you would like to help out interviewing, gardening or making the tea. Interview training will be provided in May after which the exciting part starts!
May sees the official launch of the project and it’s time for Tea! The Festival team are looking forward to meeting anyone who would like to share their memories and old photographs and are inviting local people to join them for tea and to share their memories with their team of volunteers. The first session is on Tuesday 23rd May at 2.30 pm at the Senior Citizen Centre, the team will be back at the Senior Citizen Centre over the weekend of 3rd & 4th June when you are invited to drop in for a chat during the Melbourne Festival Open Exhibition event. More events will be arranged throughout the summer. Any photographs loaned will be copied and returned to their owners. Sharon Brown from Melbourne Festival says “Melbourne is a great place to live, our history is based on hardworking local people whose hard work made Melbourne the place it is today. Each year we have a theme for the Festival and this year we are celebrating our unsung heroes who for many years kept food on our plates”.
If you would like more information about how to get involved the Festival team can be contacted through the Festival Office on 07765 819428 or email email@example.com or via the Community Care Office in Derby Road.
- In 2013 Melbourne Festival secured an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts supported by The Lottery Fund for a series of projects, under the umbrella of EXPANDING HORIZONS, intended to widen the horizons and bridge the distance between our community in Melbourne and more culturally diverse communities in Derbyshire and beyond. The project included commissioned work and a series of workshops with three main strands – a creative writing project where local people worked with local author Gregory Heath and Indian poet and storyteller Debjani Chatterjee MBE to come up with ideas to include in poems to be included in a poetry booklet , a creative arts project to involve local people in suggesting ideas for a Melbourne wall hanging (A Melbourne Sari) and helping make it and the third strand Bollywood dance leading to a flashmob at Melbourne Festival.
THE MELBOURNE SARI
Using traditional Indian sari designs as a starting point Jemma Rix and Gopa Nath from Surtal Arts introduced Melbourne people in Schools, community groups and other settings to explore traditional sari designs and colours and encouraging them to identify the colours and motifs which would best represent Melbourne in a sari design. Jemma Rix has pulled together the ideas from all of the groups she has worked with to make 6 x 36″ panels (a traditional sari measures 6 yards!) to put together to create our Sari.
The top of the Sari has a line from a poem by Debjani Chatterjee MBE “Saris hang on the washing line, a rainbow in our neighbourhood. This little orange one is mine, it has a mango in the design. I wear it as a rani would, it wraps around in the sunshine. It ripples silky down my spine and I stand tall and feel so good.
The cyanotype images on the blue stripe are based of photographs supplied by local people and the logo’s for some of the organistions which took part in our workshops.
The centre strip contains images taken from local architecture and plants grown in local market gardens. The borders above and below this strip show plants seen around Melbourne throughout the year holly, tulips, poppies, daisies and ivy.
When local children were asked what they thought best symbolised Melbourne they kept suggesting the geese, swans and ducks on Melbourne Pool. The bottom panel contains hundreds of ducks drawn by local children.
Finally, the pallu, the scarf like end which hangs from the shoulder, and bottom border feature handprints from all of the children at Melbourne Infant and Junior Schools.
TEA & POETRY –
The two writers, Gregory Heath and Debjani Chatterjee MBE, collaborated to write a series of poems on the theme of Expanding Horizons looking at the similarities between the South Asian community in Derby or India and our traditional Melbourne community. A recurring image in both communities is tea, so we decided to focus on creating poems about the similarities and differences between the cultures. The poems were published in September 2013 as Expanding Horizons poems on East-West Reflections … to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Rather than have a formal “Poetry Reading” we staged a “Tea Trail” with our poets popping up to share a few of their poems written as part of the project with customers in all of the Tea Shops and pubs in the centre of Melbourne. Debjani and Greg also shared their poetry in the Food Court, Food Festival and Art Café during the 2013 Art & Architecture Trail.
BOLLYWOOD DANCE – Nisha Nath the choreographer for Derby Dance group JAVVANI is led a series of Bollywood Dance workshops with local children, young people and adults leading up to a Bollywood flashmob featuring ALL of our dancers on Saturday 14th September.
Nisha worked with everyone over a number of sessions with young people from Chellaston Academy, Melbourne Children at Melbourne Assembly Rooms and members of Melbourne and Breedon the Hill WI. She them coordinated the groups to link together to create an amazing piece seen by hundreds of people at Melbourne Festival.
SENIOR CITIZEN CENTRE COMMISSION
The first commission was unveiled at Melbourne Senior Citizens Community Centre during Melbourne Festival. Artists were asked to submit their ideas for the piece reflecting Melbourne and the areas beyond. The winning entry by Barbara Bagley is shown below.
The presentation of the Expanding Horizons Commission 2014 to members of Melbourne Senior Citizen Centre by artist Barbara Bagley, far right.