MELT: Migration in Europe and Local Tradition.

Birmingham » The Melting Pot

Golden Hillock School particularly regarded MELT as an opportunity to highlight and strengthen its work with the local communities, staging several cultural events all combined under the central theme "The Melting Pot". Led by a core team, the programmes included a series of cultural events to unite local and global groups in an exploration of tradition and migration through a range of art forms: predominantly through music, but also including drama, dance, photography and visual arts.

Following the Global Gathering in March 2008, a number of activities in the school, neighbourhood and the city centre carried forward the concept of MELT: During the annual Golden Hillock Mela the work created in the first eight months of the MELT project was shared with members of the local community attending this school event. Later on in September, the Arts Fest 2008, attracting more than 245,000 people to follow its programmes in Birmingham'’s centre, set the stage for pupils of the school and MELT musicians to encounter and share their musical roots and cultural origins. With only a two-month break Little MELT created The Melting Pot's first multi-international exchange with visitors coming from Munich and Sighişoara to Birmingham. The four-day programme with workshops, community events and lively performances produced new "melted" works and impressions, which culminated in Big MELT and its final event Mega MELT in March 2009, celebrating numerous samples of intercultural artistic exchange between Birmingham and its MELT partners.

The key groups involved in "The Melting Pot" were Golden Hillock School, English Martyrs Catholic Primary School, Ulfah Collective, The Zawiya Singing Group and Notorious choir. Over 19 months a journey of exploration, development and creation has taken place, resulting in the creation of a number of final pieces: "Melt in Motion", a dance piece drawing on the different cultures of the children performing; "I Am", a drama piece about the identity of British children with migrant backgrounds; "Journey of the Migrant", a collaborative piece between Birmingham and Genoan students, and The Melting Pot Symphony composed by lead musician Ian Chapman and performed by all the Birmingham groups together with fellow MELT artists at various occasions during the overall project.

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