Family Culture Day at Catton Park

On 16th September, as part of 2018’s Heritage Open Days, Catton Park with support from Broadland District Council, hosted a family culture day as part of a project to encourage new audiences to explore this Repton landscape.

The park

Catton Park is a public park open every day of the year and also happens to be Humphry Repton’s first paid commission. The park was once a part of the Catton Hall estate which served as a residence to many of the business elite of the city of Norwich. In 1835 it spanned across a total of some 600 acres and today is still a huge space for visitors to enjoy.

The project

There was so much to do, learn, and experience, from saree dressing to Egyptian dancing...

This year many groups across the country have been celebrating the work of landscape designer, Humphry Repton, as 2018 is the bicentenary of his death. As part of this The Gardens Trust has led an HLF project to engage new audiences with landscapes - Catton Park's Family Culture Day is one of their pilot projects.

The day

The day was a showcase of cultures, languages and traditions from around the globe and included a variety of different offerings: foreign cuisines, activities such as saree dressing, henna painting, and origami making, as well as professional entertainment inspired by different cultures.

The event attracted many families from within the Broadland district and the city of Norwich. It was a successful day with a friendly atmosphere and around 500 visitors. We received a lot of comments from people saying they had never visited the park before and that they had enjoyed themselves.

Making it happen

...from calligraphy to African necklace making to axe throwing and archery! / © Angela Sharpe

In planning this event there was a lot to consider, specifically because it was aiming to attract people within the BAME diversity group, meaning a lot of requirements needed to be thought about that wouldn’t normally cross our minds for a more generic event.

It was decided to seek advice from appropriate individuals; we contacted the leading member of the Muslim community through Norfolk & Norwich Muslim Association, also our Corporate Equalities Officer at Broadland District Council. Also organisations that had previously run events such as these like Thetford Town Council and New Routes Integration.

We wanted to consider sensitivities, so did research into specific religions and cultural customs of those that we expected to attend. This led us to think about the sort of food that should be available or avoided at the event, the need to keep dogs on leads and have a dog free area, public transport, and also the need for a quiet or prayer space for people to privately practise their religion at the times of the day when it is needed.  However, since the event we have found out that a multi faith toilet, might also have been a useful consideration, but this was not brought to our attention during the event so did not have a negative impact to our knowledge.

It was also important to find out who we were specifically targeting from Norwich and what languages they might speak, so we used census data to locate residential areas in the city with high populations of people from those groups and we then marketed in these areas to a higher degree with translated posters.

In general we were all really happy with the way the event went and took a lot of lessons away from it about potential facilities to consider at other events and the use of translated promotional material.

Top Tips for planning your own day:

Painting Repton's landscape at Catton Park. / © Angela Sharpe

  • Figure out who it is that you are trying to appeal to and where those people might be or look at for promotion – for our particular markets, traditional posters and Facebook were really useful.
  • Consider each element of your event from when and how the visitor first hears about it, to how they might think about travelling there, their arrival, their needs during the event and the way to best evaluate with them.
  • Figure out how you will evaluate in advance. You should know what you want to get out of the event when you start planning and how you will measure if you achieved this after the event.
  • Duct tape, string and a pair of scissors! Every event I plan I always take these items because you never know what might need fixing up on the day. If you don’t have to use it, that’s great but it’s useful to have this emergency kit. It was proven at our event when I went home with no string left!

Find out more

About Chloe Griffin

Chloe has worked at Broadland District Council for over two years within the Economic Development team, and has a background in tourism and events management. She works closely with local tourism businesses and community groups to promote the area as a great destination for visitors. She organises events, and marketing campaigns for the area, works to improve local facilities for visitors and provides advice and support to business owners and volunteers.