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Mela – Coming of Age Book

For several years I worked as the producer for the Bradford Mela – it was a truly phenomenal event that brought together people from across Bradford and around the world to celebrate their culture, creativity and community.

In 2009, with funding from (amongst others) HLF, we published a book celebrating 21 years of Mela in the UK.

I thought it would be good to make a downloadable version of the book available here:

Coming of Age (it is about 8MB to download… you may need to right click etc… you know what to do… )

The book provides a retrospective look at the last 21 years of the Mela and its roots and progress in the UK. Writer Irna Qureshi has weaved a fascinating narrative together through interviews with past and present Mela industry workers, cultural leaders and artists (i’m in there too!) to tell a story of enormous achievement within challenging circumstances.

The book is full of beautiful images that portray the vibrant sound and colour, traditional and contemporary expressions, patterns and movement, passion and joy all found around the Mela environment.

Melas have been held in the Indian Subcontinent for thousands of years and have become a key part of our cultural heritage in the UK too. The term Mela stems from the Sanskrit word gathering and encompasses all manner of cultural celebration.

Melas are found up and down the country in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. In Bradford Mela’s 21st year (2009) over 200,000 people came together to enjoy a festival event created by over 2500 participants. We had arts and performance across 15 different genres from dance to film, sculpture to street theatre, carnival to live music. We had 250 stalls with foods and goods from around the world, 50 community organisations providing activities. 6 major stages, a huge fairground and a whole village dedicated to children’s arts activities.

I hope you enjoy the book. Drop me a line and let me know what you think!