Everyone is invited to join the Polish community of Cambridge on 13 May at The Guildhall to celebrate their heritage and culture.
The Polish community in Cambridge numbers around 5,000 people, many of them permanent residents and some who are here to study. The Polonia Club on Chesterton Road is a meeting place, a cultural centre and has a restaurant serving traditional Polish dishes while the University offers a Polish Studies programme which runs lectures, film screenings, debates and meetings with writers and artists, events which are open to all. There’s a Polish Saturday School and a Polish Mass is held every Sunday at the Catholic church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs on Hills Road.
There’s plenty going on at this Heritage Day event which will be opened by the Polish Ambassador. You’ll be able to taste authentic Polish food such as pierogi (little dumplings of various flavours, both sweet and savoury), cakes, pastries and breads. Local Polish artists and craftspeople will be exhibiting. There’ll be choral, guitar and piano performances, dancing from the Wiwat Folk Group and a Thai boxing display while local Polish businesses will host stalls.
Polish Heritage Day is happening on Sunday 13 May from 12 noon to 5pm. Entry is free. Everyone is welcome to join the celebrations and to discover more about Polish life and culture.
One of the many things I love about Cambridge is the food! From street food in the market to fine dining and everything in between, this city has so much to offer. And now, Slow Food Anglia is hoping to establish a Slow Food Cambridge group. At a gathering in Thirsty on Chesterton Road last week, they spoke about their ethos and shared their thoughts on how the group might work here.
The Slow Food movement was set up in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini to promote local food, food producers and traditional cooking. It encourages us to think about the sustainability and traceability of our food, as well as reducing food miles by buying seasonal local produce. Slow Food has also developed the “Ark of Taste”, designed to preserve heritage foods which are in danger of being lost. In the UK, these foods include Colchester Native oysters, Dorset Blue Vinney cheese and Jersey Royal potatoes.
The Slow Food Anglia group has run events very successfully in Norfolk. The plan for Slow Food Cambridge would be to run an event in the city later this year, at Harvest Festival time, culminating in a feast, a communal meal with everybody coming together to celebrate local food and community.
Of course, there are many fabulous food enterprises already happening in the city and Slow Food Cambridge plans to work in tandem with them. But it needs a group of people to get this enterprise off the ground. Do you care about your food, where it comes from and what you do with it? Do you have skills that could help get a group up and running? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes!”, please get in touch with your thoughts and ideas. Just leave a comment on this post or get in touch via my Contact page and I’ll feed back (pardon the pun!) to Slow Food Anglia.
Artsfest 2018 returns to St Paul’s Church on Hills Road from 26 – 31 March, celebrating creativity and culture with events and activities for all ages throughout the week, based around the theme of “Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained”.
The Festival has been organised by Martin and Julia Evans with Kip and Jane Gresham. They’re building on the foundations of the very successful inaugural Artsfest held in 2016 and they firmly believe that people can flourish when they have the chance to be creative.
There’s a packed schedule through the week, whether you want to be hands on or prefer to watch and listen. Daytime workshops for adults include printmaking, creative writing, drawing and painting and there’s a daily after school art workshop for children while a drop in embroidery group will stitch through each day. Anyone can share in the daily lunchtime and evening meals; indeed, the cafe is at the heart of the Festival, offering a place for everyone to meet, talk and share experiences.
A range of talks includes print maker Kip Gresham who will look at the way artists make their work and Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Master of Magdalene College, who will explore the theme of hope and loss through poetry.
Evening events include a performance from local performing arts college Bodywork Company Cambridge, a jazz concert and the world premiere of an opera based on John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” with leading counter tenor Lawrence Zazzo. On the final day of the Festival, there’ll be a Scratch “Messiah” in which everybody is welcome to take part, whether as a singer, an orchestra musician or an audience member.
St Paul’s is an Anglican church and community centre. Its motto is “All are welcome, all are safe” and its doors are open every day to welcome everybody, whether they have a faith or not. “We want to bring people together,” Martin tells me, “and we believe that in creating a positive community we can help to combat the loneliness felt by so many.” Around two thousand people use the building each week, either to attend the daily service, to join in with one of the many classes (think yoga, lindy hop, salsa and more) or simply to sit quietly in the foyer.
You’ll find full details of all the Artsfest 2018 events on their website. Most workshops and all the exhibitions, talks and lunchtime concerts are free, although voluntary donations are always welcome. Evening events cost £7.50 per head. For logistical purposes, workshop places need to be booked in advance through the website. Finally, please email email@example.com if you’d like to get involved as a volunteer and help to run this wonderful celebration of culture and creativity.
Back in January, I posted a piece on the e-Luminate Cambridge Festival and tonight it opened, with fabulous light installations illuminating some of the city’s most iconic buildings.
It’s a really cold night here in Cambridge but I wanted to get some photos, just taken on my phone, to give you a flavour of the event.
Firstly, Senate House with its installation “I See”, created in collaboration with The Ordered Universe Project.
In Bene’t Street, another moving image projection, “Bright Lights – The Colours of the Brain”, has been created by artists working with Cambridge community groups in a series of workshops.
Gonville & Caius College is looking glorious with its installation “The Colours of Caius College” created by artist Patrice Warrener using the Chromolithe technique that he developed thirty years ago.
At The Fitzwilliam Museum, projection artist Ross Ashton has created a colourful projection which shows some of the most iconic artefacts held in the Museum’s collection.
You’ll find more installations outside King’s College Chapel, at Trinity Hall and at the Guildhall. Full details of all these are on the event website. It may be freezing out there but it’s really worth wrapping up and getting out to see the city in a whole new light.
The Watersprite International Student Film Festival returns to the city from 23 -25 February, showcasing the wealth of emerging talent in student short film making from around the world and offering a springboard for the film makers of the future as they start their careers.
This year, the organisers have received around three hundred and ninety submissions from ninety five countries. Fifty nominees have now been chosen for a dozen award categories, including fiction, documentary, animation and original film music – you can find their details on the Watersprite website. Overseas nominees will be flown into the UK to attend the Awards Ceremony at the Fitzwilliam Museum thanks to the continued support of Red Arrow Studios, the Festival’s official Film Maker and New Talent partner.
The prestigious Film Maker of the Future award will go to a film maker who tackles modern day issues in the world, creating a film that tries to make a difference or presents to us a story that we haven’t heard before. Part of that prize is the opportunity to participate in a producers’ workshop in Cannes, enabling the winner to network within the film business. In fact, the Festival gives all the entrants a chance to collaborate with other film makers and to forge new creative partnerships.
Aside from the screenings, there’s a packed schedule of talks and workshops led by leading professionals in the film and TV industry. Films will be showing at various venues across the city but most nominee screenings will be held at King’s College while talks and events will happen at St John’s College Old Divinity School where you’ll also find the Festival hub.
The Festival started life in 2010 as Cam’era and Film of the Year was awarded to Will McGregor’s “Who’s Afraid of the Water Sprite?”. Will has gone on to make a very successful career as a screenwriter and director, working in film, TV and commercials. With producer Hilary Bevan-Jones, the Festival’s Patron, Will has developed his short film into a feature film, “The Dark Outside”, which is currently in production. And in honour of that first winning film, the Festival was renamed “Watersprite” in 2011.
The Festival is open to everybody. It is entirely free for film makers to enter plus all the events and screenings are free thanks to sponsors such as Decca Publishing and Fox Networks Group. Local companies also get involved. Jocks and Peers, a beer brand recently launched in the city by three Cambridge alumni, is sponsoring drinks at one of the event’s ceremonies. Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite or you can just turn up at an event or screening and if there’s room, you’ll get in.
e-Luminate returns to the city on 9 February and for six glorious nights, some of our most iconic buildings will be bathed in mesmerising light installations.
For Festival Founder, Alessandra Caggiano, inspiration struck as she walked home through the dark Cambridge streets one evening in 2012. “All this wonderful architecture around me was unlit,” Alessandra tells me, “and I felt it was such a missed opportunity.” Teaming up with business partner, Hugh Parnell, together they set up a community interest company.
“We decided to hold the Festival in February because that’s when we’re all craving light,” says Alessandra, “and the timing also fitted well with the city’s busy event calendar.” They researched light festivals across the world, talked to light artists, consulted with local stakeholders, built a board of advisers, wrote a business plan, obtained funding and put on the first e-Luminate Festival in February 2013.
That pilot event may have been small but it proved their concept and they were able to grow the project year on year. Since September 2016, the Festival has been run under the umbrella of Cambridge Live Trust, which Alessandra believes was the natural next step forward for this very popular event, of which she is now Artistic Director.
This year, the theme of the Festival is “Colour” and Dr James Fox has joined the team as Guest Curator. An art historian, BAFTA nominated broadcaster and Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, James brings his knowledge of and interest in the theme of colour, to explore the complex relationship between light and colour from various perspectives, combining art, science and technology.
Some of Europe’s top light artists and designers will be creating light installations at key buildings in the city, including the Guildhall, King’s College and the Fitzwilliam Museum. A varied programme of events and workshops includes “Let’s Glow Cambridge” (sports and fitness sessions held under UV lights) and a Wine Tasting Experience with Hotel du Vin, during which you can experiment with light and taste to discover whether lighting conditions influence our perceptions of wine. You can even become part of a light installation yourself by joining the “Trail of Light”. Details of all the light installations, these events and more, plus a booking facility, are on the Cambridge Live website.
To get more involved with the Festival, why not volunteer your time as a Light Maker? A variety of roles are available, working on both indoor events and outdoor installations but as I write this post, the team is particularly looking for help on launch night and with the “Trail of Light” events. To find out more and register your interest, please go to www. cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/e-luminate/opportunities
This is such a fun event and the light installations on our beautiful historic buildings are breathtaking as they highlight architectural details and show us new perspectives. So wrap up warm, take a stroll around the city and you will truly see Cambridge in a new light.
What could be nicer at this time of year than snuggling up in front of a Christmas movie?? Well, you can do just that at Enchanted Cinema’s Christmas Film Festival which is happening at The Robinson Theatre at Hills Road Sixth Form College this Saturday, 16 December.
The day starts at 10am with Disney’s “Frozen”, after which a real Elsa will be visiting to sing and chat with her young fans. At 1pm, there’s an autism friendly screening of “The Polar Express”, so it’ll offer a relaxed environment with light levels slightly higher than normal and sound levels slightly lower. Then you can sit back and enjoy the antics of everybody’s favourite hapless singleton in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” at 4pm. And finally, at 7pm you can laugh and cry at Richard Curtis’s Christmas classic, “Love Actually”. That lobster costume gets me every time!!
Cambridge residents may be familiar with Enchanted Cinema’s summer outdoor screenings, complete with deckchairs, headphones and street food, at locations in and around the city. Ellen Downes and Will Morrish set up the business in 2015, initially for small social events. Now they bring an enhanced cinema experience to weddings, parties and corporate events with live music, food, decor and lighting alongside the film screening.
For this event, The Robinson Theatre will be transformed into a cosy, festive space and, as well as live music between films, there’ll be a pop up café running all day next to the theatre, serving hot drinks, mulled wine, cakes and brownies, much of which has been given by local businesses. The mince pies are being donated by Radmore Farm Shop, which I wrote about here on the blog in November.
This Festival is a fundraiser for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices which provide care and support for children and young people with life-threatening illnesses as well as end of life care for dying children and their families. All profits from this event will go to the hospice in Milton where, very sadly, Ellen’s sister passed away in May this year. Ellen and her family are so thankful for all the support and care they received from the EACH team over the years and they are raising funds to help ensure that the wonderful work of the hospice continues with other children and families.
Tickets for the Festival are bookable through Enchanted Cinema’s website where you can also buy tickets for their prize draw, which offers loads of awesome prizes. So go on, take a break from the yuletide prep, head for Hills Road, grab a mince pie and settle back to enjoy some Christmas magic from Enchanted Cinema.