At our first U-Fest event in October 2017 we were delighted to see the community of Dublin 15 come together to celebrate diversity.
U-Fest, which was held in Mulhuddart Community Centre in the midst of storm Brian, did not have its spirits dampened by the weather. We had a turnout of approximately 260 people from around the Dublin 15 area including Blanchardstown, Mulhuddart, Clonee and further afield. As you are probably aware, Dublin 15 is one of the most diverse communities in Ireland at present and that diversity was undeniable on the day.
Part of the aim of U-Fest is to bring the different Ethnic communities together in celebration of diversity and culture. With a broad range of community groups present we could truly showcase the vibrancy of these different communities and help others to appreciate all they have to offer.
The local library service from Blanchardstown were in attendance, which we were happy to see as they offer a wide range of services to all parts of the community. African Community Radio were also there to broadcast live from the event. Foroige, a local youth empowerment organisation provided arts & crafts activities for young people, they were supported by a Hungarian Visual Artist who engaged young people in visual arts.
Even though the stormy weather meant that we had to cancel our planned outdoor activities at short notice, the atmosphere in the hall was warm and friendly. Some of the performances that were featured at U-Fest included spoken word poetry performed by a young Irish poet originally from Nigeria, and Irish dancing by a local Irish group. Groups from Nigeria, Bolivia and Indonesia also performed for the audience, while other Dublin based groups made presentations which included a performance from participants of a local Arabic class.
One of the highlights was a specially commissioned drama presentation performed by the charity, i-Smile. The drama piece was entitled “The Wall” and it explored issues related to cultural stereotyping and bias. This highlights some of the more serious concerns that U-Fest can explore through art and personal expression when we bring many cultures together in the spirit of engaged, enthusiastic community.
U-Fest is an event for all the family and all parts of the community. We are very pleased that so many different parts of the community showed up and participated in this wonderful event to help grow open dialogue between parts of the community who may not have had the chance to converse fluidly before.
We are excited to develop on the success of our first U-Fest event with future events. We encourage community groups of all kinds to get involved. At U-Fest, it is always a case of the more, the merrier!