Culture Week across Cockburn secondary schools

The Cockburn Multi-academy Trust secondary schools in south Leeds recently transformed into a melting pot of cultural diversity as students and staff came together to celebrate Culture Week.

The event showcased a rich tapestry of traditions, customs, and arts from around the globe, reflecting the commitment to embracing multiculturalism and fostering understanding among its members. Culture Week featured a myriad of workshops, performances, and interactive sessions and served as a beacon of hope, inspiring individuals to embrace diversity, celebrate differences – a celebration that transcends borders.

Among the standout features of Culture Week was the dynamic array of activities organised by various departments, each offering unique insights into different facets of global culture.

At Cockburn John Charles Academy, the Art department explored artwork from diverse cultures, inspiring students to explore the beauty and intricacies of artistic expression worldwide. From the vibrant colours of Mexican folk art to the delicate brushstrokes of Japanese calligraphy, students were immersed in a kaleidoscope of artistic traditions, broadening their horizons and nurturing their creativity.

At Cockburn School, the History department organised a Black British History workshop where students investigated an exciting and unexplored area of Black History from David Olusoga’s book “Black and British”. Students learned about an often-forgotten moment in Victorian Britain when 3 Kings of Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana) stood up against the imperialist, Cecil Rhodes to take over their country. Another workshop focused on exploring Asian fashion. Year 7 & 8 students looked at different types of South Asian fashion and explored what is worn at different cultural occasions. They used their learning to create their own fashion, jewellery and henna designs.

At Cockburn Laurence Calvert Academy, the week started with an exceptional assembly lead by students featuring a performance by CLCA dance group Afro Fusion. Year 8 Art lessons looked at Brunelleschi’s experiment: Mastering Linear Perspective in Art and the students produced some fantastic accurate drawings. In History, they explored the question ‘Who are the British people?’ Students looked at periods of history and the different categories of British people. All students were invited to take part in the Cultures Flag Competition – identify all the flags around the school to enter a prize draw.

The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) departments and school kitchens also played a pivotal role in Culture Week, tantalising taste buds with a culinary exploration of different cuisines from around the world. Students savoured the flavours of Spanish paella, sampled the aromatic spices of Indian curry, and indulged in the delicate textures of French pastries. At Cockburn School and Cockburn Laurence Calvert Academy, a different menu from around the world was served each day. At CLCA, Eastern European Meals of the Day were a popular choice.

Another highlight of Culture Week at Cockburn School and Cockburn John Charles Academy was the eagerly anticipated fashion shows, where students took centre stage to proudly exhibit their cultural heritage in front of packed-out audiences. Dazzling traditional attire from countries spanning the globe graced the runway, showcasing the rich diversity of styles, fabrics, and designs that define cultures worldwide. From the intricate embroidery of Indian saris to the bold patterns of African cloth, the fashion shows were a vibrant celebration of identity and heritage. Students across all schools were invited to wear their own clothes for the day with a suggestion that the clothes would say something about their cultural interests and background.

At Cockburn Laurence Calvert Academy, students put on a show featuring music, drama and dance from across the world. This show was hosted by students and performed to ALL students in the school across the final day of the week. Cockburn School also put on a show with a music concert that featured song and sitars.

At Cockburn School, the PE department put on their own “Afcon Football Tournament” with teams playing matches during their lunchtimes. By the end of the week there were winning teams representing a range of countries including Year 8 and Year 9 winners representing Ghana.

Reflecting on the resounding success of Culture Week across three schools, Executive Headteacher, David Gurney, said,

“Culture Week embodies the spirit of unity and celebration that defines our school communities and the community in south Leeds. It is a testament to the richness and diversity of our collective heritage, and a confirmation of our shared commitment to embracing multiculturalism in all its forms. I am extremely proud of the way our students have celebrated and respected each other’s cultures and of the work they have put in, supported by our excellent staff, to make the week so successful.”

As the curtains closed on another memorable Culture Week across the Cockburn MAT, the echoes of laughter, learning, and cultural exchange lingered, leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of all who participated.


This post is based a press release issued by Cockburn Multi-academy Trust


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