The Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 – one year to go

Broadwood Morris Men day of dance in Horsham (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-094422008 SUS-151105-094422008
Broadwood Morris Men day of dance in Horsham (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-094422008 SUS-151105-094422008

In a year’s time the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 will have officially launched and we’ll all be looking forward to a year of diverse, exciting and intriguing cultural events for the whole district. What does culture mean to you?

Culture can be a slippery term, but part of the enjoyment of that is how we can choose to interpret the word.

Childrens Laureate Julia Donaldson

Childrens Laureate Julia Donaldson

With the Year of Culture is the opportunity for all of us, residents and visitors alike, to discover and embrace the culture and cultures present in our district and give ‘culture’ our own definition.

There’s a huge opportunity to celebrate women in culture during 2019.

Did you know for example that Lucy Broadwood, buried in Rusper, was an English folksong collector and researcher during the late 19th and early 20th centuries? As one of the founder members of the Folk-Song Society and Editor of the Folk Song Journal, she was one of the main influences of the English folk revival of that period. She was an accomplished singer, composer, piano accompanist, and amateur poet. She was much sought after as a song and choral singing adjudicator at music festivals throughout England, and was also one of the founders of the Leith Hill Music Festival in Surrey. It’s from her that the Broadwood Morris Men take their name, and celebrate her contribution to folk songs every year.

Many of you would have visited Southwater’s Lintot Square where ‘Iggy’ the Iguanodon keeps watch, or explored the maze in Horsham Park with your children and grandchildren, where a beautiful dragon is the centre prize. Both of these were created by local sculptor Hannah Woods.

The beautiful Horsham Heritage Sundial, located on The Forum, near to TX Maxx in Horsham town, was designed and sculpted by Lorne Mckean, with Edwin Russell and Damian Fennell. The sundial is the home of the Horsham district time capsule, which houses objects selected and voted on by groups and individuals across the district as being the most representative in the year 2000.

The food and drink production in the Horsham district is a culture in itself. West Chiltington is the home of Nyetimber vineyard, where the head winemaker is Cherie Spriggs, an award winning, incredibly talented woman who is internationally respected for the rigorous quality she applies to the Nyetimber wines, which are also award winning.

Looking at literature, the multimillion selling world renowned children’s author and patron of the Year of Culture is Julia Donaldson MBE. Her contribution to encouraging enjoyment in reading through her multiple titles, not just the renowned Gruffalo, Stick Man and Room on the Broom, but also many titles she’s penned for school reading books, has meant her name is synonymous with children’s literature spanning generations. She was the Children’s Laureate –a hugely prestigious role – from 2011 to 2013 and has lived in Steyning for many years.

What about digital culture? The incredible games producers Creative Assembly proudly count BAFTA award winning Lead Technical Artist Jodie Azhar as one of their 500 strong workforce based in the centre of Horsham. Educated at Millais School, Jodie is a UK Women in Games Ambassador and a mentor for women looking to get involved with. Creative Assembly is made up of creatives from across the world with more than 30 nationalities represented, all working in Horsham to create the huge amount of art, design, audio and much more to produce these epic computer games.

Community is going to shape a large aspect of the Year of Culture, with themes such as ‘Reaching Out’, in January looking to encourage groups to go out in their locality and make it easy for people to try new groups. There’s also ‘Our Cultures’ in April, and ‘Street Culture’ in September.

There will be plenty for families and children to get involved with, as well as many opportunities to enjoy the classic arts, such as opera, ballet and classical music.

To keep up to date with everything taking place, make sure you’re following the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the handle @HDculture19, and don’t forget to look at www.hdculture2019.co.uk for the latest news, and the programme as it grows.

If you would like to be involved with the Year of Culture, there are plenty of opportunities – contact the team by emailing yearofculture2019@horsham.gov.uk or call 01403 215060/01403 215216.