The Harmony Pathway Launch
In celebration of Harmony Day on Friday 21st March, The Song Room launched The Harmony Pathway; an innovative seven-way partnership that physically links three schools together to celebrate their cultural diversity with a student-built mosaic pathway between the school buildings.
With the assistance of mosaic artist Helen Harman, students, parents and communities of Noble Park English Language School (NPELS) Casey Campus, River Gum Primary School and Hampton Park Secondary College designed and created multicultural themed mosaic artworks that formed pathways and exhibitions that now link the schools.
This project symbolised the schools’ commitment to easing students’ transitions from the English Language School to mainstream school and the transition from primary to high school. Students have also been exploring their cultural identity and learning more about other cultures in their community through this shared artistic process.
“The Harmony Day Project has allowed our students to build their leadership skills mentoring the younger students and has given our community the opportunity to celebrate our rich cultural diversity.” – Teacher, Hampton Park Secondary College
The pathway was launched with a performance event that filled the Performing Arts Centre on the grounds of Hampton Park Secondary College. Over 300 students performed with over 420 students and 130 parents and community members attending the event. The launch kicked off with a tour of the mosaic works, with parents and community members walking to the beat of West African drummers and Song Room Teaching Artist Mohamed Camara. Mosaic artist Helen Harman and the students who created the work introduced the works as we walked through the mosaics. on the way to the Performing Arts Centre.
Performances ranged from Afghani, Samoan, and Punjabi dance, to Spanish, West African, Samoan song and culminated in an incredible performance by Afghanistan’s famous Taqi Khan.
The goal of the project was to bring together different cultural groups to ease cultural tension in the area, particularly between Afghani and Pasifika groups. The following quotes from students show that this project was successful in bringing the schools and the varied cultures within the schools together:
“The best thing is meeting all the different people, and all the cultures that we have been introduced to, and got to experience. I learnt a lot about the Pakistani and Afghan girls, I learnt a lot about them and their culture, and their beliefs. I probably wouldn’t have spoken to them before, we just don’t interact.”
“It is a really good way to talk to each other, because we are all in one spot at once, and we are all talking while we are working on the tiles to bring us all together. That is exactly what it is doing .. doing mosaics, it’s different, it is fun, it is just creative, it gives you time to talk to those people. In class you’re sort of concentrating and asking for help, but that it all you are doing. But doing this, I don’t know, there is something different about it.”
“The purpose of the mosaics is to bring all the schools together. I think it is working. We met quite a few people at the other schools. We are sort of connected more now. It feels really good that when I am older I will be able to drive past the school and think ‘this is what I did.'”
The Harmony Pathway project was coordinated by The Song Room. The project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services through the Diversity and Social Cohesion program. Further funding was generously granted by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Collier Charitable Fund and supported by The City of Casey.