- 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. In 2017 Melbourne Festival received a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for their exciting project celebrating Melbourne’s Market Gardening Heritage – “For the Love of Lettuce”.
Melbourne in South Derbyshire was known in the twentieth century for its Market Gardens and the high quality produce grown in the parish. Sadly progress has led the industry to decline from 150 Market Gardeners a century ago to just three in 2017! In 2016 Melbourne Festival showcased a small pilot project, “For the Love of Lettuce”, highlighting Melbourne Market Gardens. The feedback was so enthusiastic that in 2017 /8, thanks to a Sharing Heritage Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Melbourne Festival has worked with People Express and Talking Birds on a project celebrating Melbourne’s Market Gardening Heritage.
To read more about “For the Love of Lettuce” please follow the link below to the website created to share our journey to record the past and look to the future. During the year photographer Christopher Mear has worked closely with Heaths Farm Shop, F Jackson & Son and W Sharp & Sons, the three remaining Market Gardens to photograph the Market Gardeners and their produce.
During the year we also interviewed many local residents who worked in the Market Gardens and collected photographs of the halcyon days of the Market Gardening industry after WW2. This information has added to the collection previously held by the Melbourne Historical Research Group. All of this information is accessible on the For the Love of Lettuce website.
In 2017 we commissioned five emerging artists to take their inspiration from the photographs and memories recorded during the interviews to create a number of works celebrating Melbourne Market Gardening. Melbourne Festival also worked with children at Melbourne Infant School, Melbourne Junior School, Melbourne Rainbows & Beavers and the Athenaeum Youth Club who also worked with professional artists this summer.
The Festival team are looking forward to interviewing more people about their memories of the halcyon days of market gardening in Melbourne.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.