Enriching lives, connecting communities

Themes and Sections


For Mardi Gras 2019 we are presenting the theme: Biosphere Island.

The theme is a collaboration with Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) who are leading the bid for the Island to become the third  UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve in England by 2020. Biosphere Reserves are places where innovative ideas for sustainable development are tested and implemented. Their aim is to ‘reduce loss of biodiversity, improve the livelihoods of local people and enhance social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability’. There are currently 669 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves around the world in 120 countries.

For our parade narrative we are taking, as our starting point, the Island’s USPs and special characteristics as outlined in the document which was submitted to UNESCO. There are ten headings: Landscape, Geology, Wildlife, Food and Farming, Woodlands and Forests, Historic Environment, Culture, Dark Skies, Tourism and Recreation.

In the narrative, each heading is illustrated by four or so examples. Each example is matched to an Island Cultural Heritage or business partner who has agreed to work directly with the schools and groups developing research for their costumes. This support will take the form of guided heritage site visits, bespoke classroom presentations and practical tasks, escorted discovery walks with subject experts and other bespoke learning activities.  With a record number of groups taking part this year and 1000 costumes being created, this represents an in-kind support to our project from the cultural heritage sector valued at a minimum of £3500!

You can view the full narrative, with the sections of the parade and all our supporting partners by clicking below.

PowerPoint >  BIOSPHERE ISLAND – The Theme

We are embracing this theme opportunity to develop more sustainable models of costume design and production, researching new materials and techniques with our artists and teachers, and cascading new skills and practical ideas down to the groups in the parade.

PLUS! the New Carnival Company will be working once again with the IW Music Hub and local schools to commission, produce and share a new song (anthem) for the parade on the Biosphere Island theme.

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