Enriching lives, connecting communities

Heritage Lottery Fund Grant Success for 2017 Mardi Gras!

The New Carnival Company has been awarded a grant of £28,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the research and learning programmes underpinning their 2017 Isle of Wight Mardi Gras parade. The project is called ‘Colour and Chaos – our Indian Heritage’.

The project was officially launched on Saturday 4th February at a special event at Osborne House.  School and community representatives, volunteer Heritage Makers and freelance Creative Learning Guides all met together with the New Carnival Company and English Heritage / Osborne House Education staff to plan a packed six month programme of activity. The launch was presided over by a giant puppet of Queen Victoria created by NCC Lead Artist Gina Dyer.

The Heritage Lottery grant will support 10 of the 25 school and community groups taking part in the parade, by helping them to enrich their experience by carrying out research projects and investigations about their theme. The grant supports bespoke site visits to the House, workshops and visits from Indian culture specialists T-HOP UK, training for 20 adult volunteers to become Heritage Makers throughout the project and creative support from the New Carnival Company to develop their learning into spectacular carnival costumes for the parade.

An additional Heritage outcome will be the creation of permanent new learning resources to be based in the Education Room at Osborne House created by the children and families taking part in the scheme.

Taking part in the Heritage programme are: Ryde Carnival Association, Greenmount Primary School, St Helens Carnival, Viva Integrated Carnival Club, Oakvale Carnival Club, Ryde Junior School, Newchurch Primary School, Nettlestone Primary School, Oakfield Primary School and Equals Friendship Group.

The Isle of Wight Mardi Gras: ‘Reflections of India’, which this project is part of,  takes place on Saturday 1st July, 3pm on the streets of Ryde.  The project is already attracting widespread attention as it forms part of a National programme being led by the British Council to celebrate 70 years since India’s Independence.

Frankie Goldspink, Creative Director at the New Carnival Company explained “Queen Victoria visited Osborne regularly throughout her reign. After becoming Empress of India in 1877 she introduced many Indian staff to the Royal Household, including her Munshi (teacher) and confidant Abdul Karim, a young Muslim, sending shockwaves through the royal court.  She learnt Urdu and Hindi and developed a newfound passion for curry. She employed the Punjabi architect Bhai Ram Singh to create the Durbar Room at Osborne for state functions. The Durbar Room today contains artefacts and gifts from all over India, each with its own story to tell.”

The story of Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim is the subject of a new film starring Judi Dench, part of which was filmed at Osborne House in 2016.

Chris Slann, the New Carnival Company’s Executive Director said “We are so grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the learning programmes associated with the Mardi Gras. The investment will allow us to undertake some exciting development work with English Heritage and Osborne House. We are really excited about working with so many young people. The grant will help us to create a carnival parade which is not only spectacular, but also informative and educational by examining the extraordinary shared heritage between India and the Isle of Wight through Queen Victoria and Osborne House”

For more info: Contact Frankie Goldspink, The New Carnival Company CIC on 01983 716095. Email frankie@thenewcarnivalcompany.com


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