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Carnival of the World - Reading

In July 2016 CultureMix launched Carnival of the World. A project designed to represent and celebrate diversity at creative workshops with professional animateurs, and high quality public events.

As part of the 2016 Reading Year of Culture CultureMix a range of carnival arts and music workshops took place at Reading College in Kings Road.

The workshops culminated in a Reading town centre event as a preview for Carnival of the World's appearance at London Notting Hill Carnival.
The event featured music, dance and a walking procession of cultural groups that represent Reading communities including Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra, bhangra and dhol from India, dance and carnival costumes from The Caribbean, traditional dance and music from Africa and Latin America.

The flags depict images drawn by the people of Reading to convey the cultural diversity Reading and the UK has to offer. Kinetika artists Mark and Iola demonstrated the process of creating the flags with participants creating original images and drawings which were transferred on to the silk using batik. Reading's diversity is captured in the six large 3m tall flags and banners.

CultureMix Review 2016 featuring Carnival of the World


Melissa Simon-Hartman is a couture carnival designer with a difference. Melissa uses structure and unusual fabric to create her designs. For Carnival of the World Melissa led workshops looking at difference and using hands as a way of portraying diversity in an accessible way. Melissa worked with participants to create headdresses for the musicians, decorating corsets and waistcoats for the masqueraders who wore flowing gladiator style capes for maximum impact.

CultureMix director Mary Genis decorated colourful parasols for use in the procession. Inspired by her visit to NE Brasil Mary wanted to create the eclectic walking procession typical of the marakatu artists in Pernambuco.

RASPO arrangers Paul Jr Watson and Dani Richardson worked with composer and jazz saxophonist Jason Yarde to create new music that encapsulated the diverse cultures represented by the RASPO Steel Orchestra band members. The suite of four new pieces called RASPO GO will be part of RASPO's 3rd album due for recording in the Autumn.

Carnival of the World Reading UK 20 Aug 2016. Image: WEBCC

Carnival of the World Reading UK 20 Aug 2016. Image: WEBCC

Carnival of the World workshops

Carnival of the World workshops at Reading College

Summer workshops in steel pan music with RASPO and composer Jason Yarde, silk batik flags and banners with international company Kinetika, and costume and head dress workshops with couture carnival designer Melissa Simon-Hartman led to events in Reading and at Notting Hill Carnival in London.

RASPO Steel Orchestra

Dani Richardson plays steel pan with RASPO Steel Orchestra at Carnival of the World Reading image by Dave Cole

RASPO Steel Orchestra showcased a new set of songs at the inaugural Carnival of the World event in Reading.

The 20 piece orchestra played calypso, classical, pop, soul, Latin and reggae to an appreciative audience in the city centre on Saturday 20 August 2016.