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Community Activities for Melbourne Festival

In addition to the Art & Architecture Trail each year Melbourne Festival has a theme or special project to help engage the local community with the Festival. For 2018 we “Painted the Town Red” to commemorate the lives lost, or permanently changed, during World War 1. As part of this project Melbourne’s knitters created 4680 poppies for the Grenadier Guards who died in WW1. 

Pop Up Poppies Melbourne

Throughout 2018 Melbourne Knitters, including children from Melbourne Schools, Rainbows, Brownies and Pilots have knitted Poppies, 4680 Poppies to be precise, to commemorate the 4680 Grenadier Guards who lost their lives in WW1. The project was inspired by Frank Green, a resident at Pool Cottage Residential Care Home in Melbourne who was in the Grenadier Guards in WW2. Fittingly the Poppies were displayed alongside Melbourne Pool within sight of Pool Cottage.

The poppies involved over 70 Knitters who gave up their time to take part in Knit & Natter and Sit & Sew sessions, and knitted at home, to dramatically, exceed our target. The Poppies were exhibited alongside Melbourne Pool during the Art & Architecture Trail in September and elsewhere around the village for a week. Members of the Grenadier Guards joined us on Sunday 15th September to share a few words followed by the sounding of The Last Post. A very emotional event.

The Poppies were taken down and stored away before being displayed on the side of Melbourne Parish Church in the week before the Armistice Day. They are now stored away ready to be sold for next years Poppy Appeal. 

Fot the Love of Lettuce
Melbourne in South Derbyshire was known in the nineteenth and 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 2018! 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 to grow vegetables and also to work  with professional artists in the summer. 

Expanding Horizons – An Anglo- Indian project celebrating our similarities over a nice cup of tea!

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 was a collaboration with Surtal Arts an Southern Asian arts organisation based in Derby. It 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