Brescia's Human Library - 13th Annual Cultural Festival
Brescia's St. James Auditorium transformed into a world stage during their 13th annual Cultural Festival yesterday afternoon.
Students gathered at the University College to celebrate multiculturalism and global diversity through song, food, dance, and art.
Attendees were able to learn more about the different cultures represented in the campus community through interactive booths, which featured hand-made educational displays.
Event coordinator Lissette Ochoa wanted to bring a diverse group of students together using themes such as global awareness and inclusivity. Her curation of diverse displays exhibited what she calls a "human library," which represents the international student population.
"The whole point of the cultural festival is to display a human library," said Ochoa.
"You can see all over the room there are display boards from different countries, and students can talk about whatever they want to highlight from their country."
In the centre of the auditorium, students performed on a catwalk over the course of the afternoon. Performances included music, dance, and even a cultural fashion show.
While the Cultural Festival coincided with discussions of inclusivity and multiculturalism on campus, it more importantly supplied an interactive educational experience to all attendees.
A booth representing the cultural richness and empowerment found in hijabs showcased different traditions of headdresses across cultures. This allowed student volunteers to share their thoughts on what the hijab means to them.
A steel drum performance representing Trinidad and Tobago was presented by a King’s student.
Many of the event’s attendees were new foreign exchange students at the school for this semester. Many discussed how much they appreciated this celebration, because they felt like they were being welcomed into the Western community despite any cultural differences they may have experienced during their move to Canada.
London Chinese Dance Club, Rising Moon Belly Dancers, Western’s Faculty of Music, a Western University student Cultural Club, and Brescia Students' Cultural Fashion Show also performed at the event. These high energy performances drew in many students on their way to class and enabled audience participation.
During the Rising Moon Belly Dancers performance, dancers took time to engage with the audience, and spoke about the value of sharing cultural experiences and celebrating diversity.
Brescia's Cultural Festival was more than just a source of entertainment. The educational experience encouraged participation, expression, and respect for everyone who attended.