Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bedford's Flagtastic Summer

As the days grow shorter we are reflecting on a successful summer of events, activities and project work to engage new audiences and collect material that can help us represent our whole community in new displays and exhibitions.

We have been working with local film company Film Infinity to capture footage of annual events in Bedford and the surrounding area. We were rained off on the day of the 149th annual Bedford Regatta back in May,  but we did manage to get some great footage of rowing at the Sprint Regatta in July despite further rain. That day we were also able to capture footage of the torch relay as it passed along the Embankment and were delighted to see so many local people embrace the excitement of the Olympics.

The weather was kinder to us in August when we filmed members of the local Bedford Italian community from St Francesca Cabrini  Italian Church taking part in an annual parade of Saints. We also had great weather for the Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fayre in September and were able to get some beautiful shots of steam ploughing that we can use to illustrate museum displays. Over the autumn we hope to record people in Bedford marking Black History Month, celebrations for Guru Nanak's birthday at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Queen's Park and members of the Gujarati Mitra Mandal taking part in the Hindu festival of Navratri.

Members of  the Bedford Italian community carrying Saints representing many of the villages where the first generation, who came to Bedford in the 1950s, were born. (Image © Film Infinity and The Higgins)

We were inspired by local photographer Brenton Jackson to put together an International Flag Parade in August to celebrate the opening of the Olympic Live Site at Bedford International Athletics Stadium. We worked with local youth leadership group Ethnic Mosaic (part of Uprising Bedford) to promote the event and people from 35 different countries took part.

 Photos © Brenton Jackson

We also held an international themed pop-up museum at the Athletics Stadium as part of Ethnic Mosaic's big family 'Olympicnic' and had some very unusual exhibits, including this model of the Eiffel Tower, bought by Paul Nicholson in his favourite country - India.  He did not discover until he had brought it home on the plane that it actually conceals a dagger!

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