Culture Week 2024

Ever since the first Culture Week a couple of years ago, KEHS looks forward to this annual celebration of the diversity within our school community.

Ever since the first Culture Week a couple of years ago, KEHS looks forward to this annual celebration of the diversity within our school community. This year, aside from the delicious international-themed lunches the Dining Hall staff kindly provided, and students’ music-making in the Entrance Hall each morning (with Chamber Orchestra’s Irish jigs and reels becoming a resounding annual favourite), we were fortunate to have a range of special events to mark Culture Week. Below is a taste of what students and staff have been up to these past few days:

Monday lunchtime saw many students flock to the RPAC for henna and samosas, or the Art Block for a zine-making workshop led by our art teachers. Tuesday’s yoga workshop gave pupils insight into the cultural history behind this practice, whilst Spectrum Society’s special session on LGBTQ+ culture reminded pupils that ‘culture’ encompasses more than just ethnic and racial identity.

Continuing with this idea of a broader recognition of what ‘culture’ means, we were lucky to have Dr Sarah Kenny from the History Department at the University of Birmingham come to speak to us about ‘youth culture’ on Wednesday lunchtime. It was a hugely entertaining and enlightening talk, guiding us through the rise of the ‘teenager’, youth consumerism, and the arts in post-war Britain, before touching on the role of social media in youth culture today. We’re grateful to Dr Kenny for her insights into this exciting – and very relevant – topic. Also on Wednesday lunchtime was the much-anticipated Culture Week debate, where KES and KEHS students went head-to-head in a great discussion on ‘This House believes that culturally significant articles should not be held in the museums of countries different to the article’s places of origin’.

The Food Studies and Mandarin Departments also joined forces to hold an extremely popular bubble tea making workshop on Thursday lunchtime, and a tang yuan (glutinous sweet rice balls) tasting event at Wednesday recess; just like the variety of international foods served in the Dining Hall each day this week, these activities reminded pupils of the centrality of food to, and the joy it brings for, so many cultures.

Thursday’s after-school KES/KEHS Garba Event, organised by our Hindu Forum, was an amazing opportunity for all students to learn more about this dance form and enjoy some treats, and was loved by everyone who attended. We’re sure that Spoken Word Club’s Poetry Slam on the broad theme of ‘Culture’ this Friday afternoon will be a similar success!

Of course, these very busy past few days wouldn’t be complete without the annual KEHS Culture Week Dance. Organised by dedicated Sixth Form dancers who managed to teach some incredible choreography to a range of students in a matter of weeks, this year’s performance in our assemblies was an outstanding reminder of the importance of music, dance and the arts to all our cultures, and was met with resounding applause.

Culture Week is always a huge success at KEHS, and a welcome opportunity for staff and students to honour the diversity of our school community. It’s an opportunity for learning as well as for celebration; indeed, it’s an opportunity for us to take pride in our own cultural identities at school, and to share in this pride with our friends. On Thursday, members of the Sixth Form took this opportunity to come together and choose to wear clothes that represented their heritage and culture – or their friends’ – to school; it was a joyful day that highlighted the myriad of cultures and, significantly, the allyship and support within our student body. We hope this week’s activities and celebrations similarly demonstrated to the whole school the openness and diversity that is such an integral part of KEHS’ own culture.

If you have any feedback on Culture Week or are keen to get involved in equality and diversity work at KEHS, come along to the KEHS Equality Matters group, which meets termly. Thank you so much to all students and staff who helped organise and run events for this year’s Culture Week; we’re already looking forward to the next!

Lulu (Lower Sixth)

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