Thursday, 31 January 2013


Today South Leicestershire College is hosting its Diversity Fair - the climax of the college's Diversity Week. Leicester Council of Faiths was involved earlier in the week, when we offered a Faiths Panel for staff and students, Tuesday lunchtime. Today we put on display our full range of pop-up banners in an airy, bright and colourful alcove - just the kind of space I had in mind for the exhibition when it was created more than four years ago, though we've never been able to show it off in such a setting till today. We also have the two banners that we seem to have inherited from the University of Leicester: Mapping Faith and Place in Leicester and the Leicester Faith Trail.

In the photos above, Tony Nelson (Leicester Hebrew Congregation and Treasurer of Leicester Council of Faiths) is sitting with Humera Aziz (Learner Welfare Adviser, Brooksby Melton College). Humera and her colleague Nicola Welbourne were behind the Interfaith Events Day at Brooksby Melton College during Inter Faith Week last November, which we supported (see my blog entry for that event). I'd invited Humera to pop over and have a look at what was being done here today. Thanks to Zulqar Muhammad for showing Humera round the college during her brief visit this morning.

In the photo above, I'm with Ravinder Kaur from Leicestershire County Council's LWA: Living Without Abuse project. Ravinder did a stint on our exhibition in Highcross during Inter Faith Week 2012. LWA has its own display but Ravinder is good enough to sit a spell on our exhibition, late in the day.

Exhibiting downstairs:

Exhibiting upstairs in The Eating Place:

There's a Diversity Tucker Trail, allowing visitors to sample foods of different cultural origins. All nice and tasty - not to be confused with any other kind of "tucker trail" of which you may have heard!

Students can complete a Diversity Week Quiz as they make their way round the exhibits, with the chance to win high street shopping vouchers. Here are the multiple choice questions:
1. What does LGBT stand for?
  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual
  • Leicestershire Genital Bereavement Team
  • Lesbian Gay Boxing Team
2. How many faiths are included in the Council of Faiths Leicester?
  • 6
  • 8
  • 9
3. How many Eids do Muslims celebrate each year?
  • 2
  • 1
  • 5
4. How many people do you think are effected [sic] by mental ill health?
  • 1 in 10
  • 1 in 6
  • 1 in 4
5. What percentage of disabled people are born with their disability?
  • 17%
  • 56%
  • 70%
6. What do these three celebrities have in common: Orlando Bloom; Keira Knightley; Mohammed Ali?
  • Fear of spiders
  • Dyslexia
  • Asthma
7. Ramadan is?
  • The first day of the Chinese New Year
  • A month of fasting for Muslims
  • The Hindu Festival of Lights
8. Which of the following is NOT protected by anti-discrimination law?
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Transgenderism
9. Diversity means?
  • Celebrating and valuing difference
  • Treating everyone the same
  • Targeting help at individual groups
10. What minimum font size does the National Institute for the Blind recommend for user in printed public documents?
  • 8-10 points [sic]
  • 12-14 points
  • 24+ points

Around 12 noon, Free lunches are distributed to everyone on the stalls. This leads to a classic diversity moment, when a Muslim hands a Jew their lunch bag containing a packet of Smoky Bacon crisps. There's nothing derived from a pig in these crisps of course; there's no meat content whatsoever since they are labelled as suitable for vegetarians. But it's the thought that counts - how we did laugh!

Now, if I had an award of my own to give for the best single part of the whole exhibition, I'd give it to The Conservation Volunteers, for their pop-up banner shown in the photo below.

On a personal note, walking the 20 minutes or so from my flat to the college this morning, I felt in need of a morale booster. By the time I was only a few minutes from my endpoint, I thought I'd hit Shuffle Songs on my iPod Classic, just to see which tune it might give me to set me up for the day. Of all the things it could have chosen, it offered up Eple by Royksopp, from their 2001 album Melody A.M. How lovely! I couldn't have chosen better myself - that tune always brings a smile to my face and puts a spring in my step. I've included the link to the video on the band's official website. The song itself is wonderfully bouncy and upbeat but the video is the most startlingly mind-bending experience. I've watched the video dozens of times over several years and will never get my head round it. It's unique - and it's probably my favourite music video ever. The more people watch it, the happier we shall be - click on the song title a few lines above, faithful reader, and feel the benefit.

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