Staff, students and parents/carers of the Academy have had a wonderful experience of participating in MACFEST for the first time this year.
MACFEST, the Muslim Arts and Culture Festival, is a ground-breaking, award winning 16-day festival hosted across Greater Manchester, Rochdale, Trafford, Oldham, Stockport, celebrating art, literature, music, culture and the heritage of the Muslim diaspora. It offers over 50 events most of which are free! MACFEST aims to bring Muslim and non-Muslim communities together, promote social inclusion and overcome barriers.
The festival is the brainchild of prize-winning author and peace activist Qaisra Shahraz FRSA, recently featured in the prestigious Power 100 list of the most influential Muslims in the UK. Qaisra has dedicated her life to fighting Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination. She is committed to building bridges between communities in the UK and around the world.
Manchester Health Academy Principal, Mr Kevin Green, wanted the whole school to be involved with MACFEST. The school has a comprehensive and inclusive ethos where diversity and respect are key to its curriculum intent. Mr Green said, “By hosting MACFEST events and displaying student work linked to a greater understanding and appreciation of the richness of Muslim heritage, this is a perfect opportunity to do just that within the school”.
Fully embracing the festival, students took part in a cross-curricular day in November, studying diverse topics including how Muslim sports performers fast during Ramadan in PE, Islamic calligraphy and typography in Design & Technology, Bhangra in Music, and how childcare practices link to cultural traditions in Childcare. Twelve Manchester Health Academy students designed a range of stunning posters for the event, which were combined to become the festival’s promotional poster, and attended the festival’s official opening ceremony where they were presented with a shield.
We held our own festival event on 17th January, and were joined by parents Mrs Majabir and Ms Nouioui, who kindly shared an array foods, drinks and photos from their cultures from Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, while visitor Hanane EL Hadioue brought a wonderful display representing her Moroccan background. Speeches were given by Qaisra Shahraz, Her Majesty’s Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mr Paul Griffiths, Mike Kane MP and Patsy Kane OBE. Two students read poems written as part of their English curriculum day activities, and a special cake was cut and shared.