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The One Scotland, Many Cultures: a Celebration for Midlothian People Event

Part of the funding applied for included resources to stage an event to raise awareness of the contribution of Migrant communities to Midlothian and celebrate the diversity of cultures living in Midlothian. To do this Midlothian People’s Equality Group (MPEG) collaborated with Migrant Voices and Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equality Council (ELREC). Migrant Voices, based in Glasgow, had also developed an Engaging Pictures exhibition which captures the stories and roles of migrants in Scotland which included Sir Geoff Palmer a resident of Penicuik originally from Jamaica. This exhibition was brought to Dalkeith Arts Centre from Glasgow to be displayed in addition to MPEG’s banners and leaflets, as part of an evening of music, dance and a short talk by Geoff Palmer.

Approximately 70 people attended during the early evening event and included council staff, fire and police representatives, local people and representatives from multi-cultural organisations who had travelled out to Dalkeith from Edinburgh. Members of MPEG were involved in the catering for the event; serving teas and coffees; registering people as they arrived; hosting as mistress of ceremonies introducing acts, speakers and so on; welcoming people and clearing up.

People were encouraged by MPEG members to write down their responses to the evening and the exhibition, 31 people responded and the replies were overwhelmingly positive both in relation to learning people would take away and the overall experience. For example replies included:

  • “I thought it was very well organised and for real people,”
  • “Entertaining and culturally embracing,”
  • “It was nice I had a good time,”
  • “Wonderful,”
  • “Fantastic,”
  • “Got to experience different cultures,”
  • “Learned about different cultures,”
  • “Learned that there is still some evidence of racial discrimination in UK and how migrants have grown up here against these challenges,”
  • “learned that music, poetry and dance can cross all cultures,”
  • “Great work, well done to all those involved,’ ‘It’s been packed with info and interesting facts,”
  • “I met some great people and made some nice connections,”
  • “Learned about the long history of migrants to and from Scotland,”
  • “Loved the ambience of the presentations – great performers,”
  • “Brilliant and lovely to see in Midlothian.”

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