Meet your neighbours, make new friends, taste new flavours!

March 17 / 191

Two Carlton community celebrations supported by the University are coming up this month, and all staff and students are invited to attend and help forge connections within the University’s immediate neighbourhood.

Carlton Harmony Day (Sunday 19 March) and Neighbour Day (Sunday 26 March) both seek to build understanding, inclusion and togetherness in the local Carlton community, which is home or place of work for an incredibly diverse range of people, across age groups, socio-economic backgrounds and nations of origin.

Vice-Principal (Engagement) at the University of Melbourne Adrian Collette says the University is committed to facilitating good relationships in its direct neighbourhood as well as more widely through the city.

“In increasingly divisive and complicated times, it’s more important than ever for people to seek out and support connections with those from cultures different to their own, and to celebrate the fact that ultimately we are more alike than different. We all want strong bonds of family and friendship, to feel safe, to share a meal, to listen to music that lifts us up.”

He also said there’s a body of evidence to show that people are both physically and mentally healthier when they live in highly connected neighbourhoods.

Carlton Harmony Day is in its thirteenth year, and is a fun, free, family-friendly neighbourhood event to celebrate and enhance pride in the diversity of people living in Carlton through music and food. It is an initiative of the Carlton Local Agencies Network (CLAN). 

This year the newly redeveloped Neill Street Reserve will be the venue for a BYO picnic, with three hours of performances by an Eritrean band, African drumming and a didg player among other musical acts.

Neill Street Reserve is bordered by a complex community, comprised of public housing residents from all over the world but particularly those who have fled war in the Horn of Africa, residents in aged care facilities, students both local and international, and private residents from all walks of life. The park redevelopment aims to increase a sense of belonging and safety for everyone in the neighbourhood.

Carlton Community Welcome Lunch is an event for Neighbour Day in partnership with the Carlton Residents Association, the City of Melbourne’s Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, and supported by the University of Melbourne.

For Neighbour Day this year Faraday Street will become an open play street, and include a long lunch using the ‘Welcome Dinner’ model where everyone brings along a plate of food of significance to them thereby sharing something of their culture with others around the table. Food to buy from local social enterprise Wild Timor will be available, and local musicians and buskers will fill the street with music.

There’s no need to register for Harmony Day but you need to register to attend  the Carlton Community Welcome Lunch (which is alcohol free, with cold drinks supplied, but you supply the food).

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