Norwich charity’s �600,000 boost to create carnival archive

With a sea of colour, live music and dancers, carnivals are remembered for their vibrancy and creativity and now, with a grant worth more than �600,000, a Norwich arts charity is embarking on a project to create the country's first carnival archive.

Thanks to an award of �642,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Norwich & Norfolk Community Arts (NORCA) and the UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) are launching a major online Carnival Archive project.

The announcement comes as NORCA, which is based in Colegate, Norwich, celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Carnival archive co-ordinator Cathie Davies said: 'Carnivals and street processions bring everyone together to celebrate and enjoy all that is creative and fun in our communities. Beyond the spectacular performances, magical costumes and music, there's a deep-rooted history and culture that has transformed our communities over the years.

'The most important thing about the archive is that is gives people who work on carnivals a sense of pride and value in what they do.'

The online Carnival Archive project will offer a chance to share photos, drawings, films, posters, music and stories.

The grant will be split between Norwich and Norfolk Community Arts, Southend Carnival Association, Northamptonshire Black History Association and Northampton Carnival Arts Consortium.

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Director of NORCA Marcus Patteson said: 'Norfolk has over 20 carnivals and street processions and a rich history to share. The first phase of our work will focus on the Norwich Lord Mayor's Street Procession, as the largest carnival procession in the county, before extending the work to the county carnivals.'

Throughout the project, NORCA will be working with more than 20 schools across Norfolk.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: 'Local carnivals, street processions and festivals are a vibrant and exciting part of the cultural landscape of the country, and play an important part in the story of our local communities. Through this project, the fascinating histories of these celebrations will be collected and preserved for future generations to explore and enjoy.'

If you would like to contribute to the archive, please contact Cathie Davies at NORCA on 01603 760529 or email