The Commonwealth Games and the Birmingham 2022 Festival are officially over, and it was a privilege for Sampad to contribute to both events. The Birmingham 2022 Festival, a six-month celebration of creativity which accompanied the Games attracted an audience of over 2.4 million making it the largest cultural programmes to have accompanied a Commonwealth Games. We are delighted that we contributed to these amazing figures.
We started with the launch of From City of Empire to City of Diversity: A Visual Journey, which launched in March 2022 at The Library of Birmingham, and after three months attracted over 6500 people. To highlight the reality of life for immigrants from the Commonwealth countries making a new life in the city, From City Of Empire To City Of Diversity: A Visual Journey used the Dyche collection and drew upon other collections held by Birmingham Archives. You can find out more about the ongoing project here.
Next, we made a bang with the Queen’s Baton Homecoming Celebration, which welcomed the Queen’s Baton to Birmingham after travelling to all the Commonwealth Nations. This meant an afternoon of excitement including Navin Kundra, community dance performances and an opening from a world-drumming ensemble. Lenny Henry also joined in the fun!
A week later, we hosted a special Mid Day Mantra in Victoria Square, led by Vijay Venkat and featuring Sanchita Pal. Naturally adept at handling several musical instruments with ease, Vijay Venkat is considered one of the very best in the world on the violin, viola, flute and vichitra veena (an ancient Indian fret-less slide instrument). The audience loved seeing this international star on the Birmingham stage!
The Commonwealth Games also meant the culmination of a project we had been working on in partnership with the Bristish Council and Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Connections. This project saw schools from across the globe connect and interact with each other, providing the children with a unique opportunity to learn about different cultures. It culminated in a performance from schools across the globe, who were connected digitally .