South Asian Heritage Month • Vision RCL

Join us for South Asian Heritage Month from Thursday, 18 July to Saturday, 17 August! This vibrant celebration commemorates the rich cultures, histories, and communities of South Asia. South Asian Heritage Month highlights the enduring connections between the UK and the diverse heritage of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.

Discover the beauty and depth of South Asian heritage through this year’s theme: ‘Free to be Me’. Explore and celebrate the unique stories and experiences of South Asians in the 21st century.

Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure is thrilled to contribute to this special month with a variety of exciting events and activities. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn, share, and celebrate the incredible diversity of South Asian cultures.

Celebrating South Asia with Redbridge Outdoor Arts

Join Redbridge Outdoor Arts as they celebrate our local communities through dance, music, costume and performance as part of Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure’s South Asian Heritage Month celebrations.

TEA BREAK

Saturday 20 July
Ken Aston Square, Barkingside 11am, 1pm* and 3pm*
(*BSL interpreted)

Sunday 21 July
Ilford Town Centre
11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm

TEABREAK serves as a portal into an experiential world of tea drinking and performance. Free, freshly brewed tea is served from Trigger’s Tuk Tuk, offering the opportunity to sit, enjoy a cup of tea and companionship and subtly be taken through the history of tea.

Choogh Choogh

Saturday 20 July
Ken Aston Square, Barkingside
12pm and 2pm

Sunday 21 July
Ilford Town Centre 12.30pm and 2.30pm

Choogh Choogh inspired by the joy of travelling through India on a train. The journey starts with audience getting a special choogh choogh ticket.

Scarves become steam, railway tracks, train windows, camels, and so much more. A journey where the audience experience the world from inside the train, through the train and outside it. Along the way the tickets get checked and imaginary food is sold and shared.

This show is an exploration of just how much we can see and imagine, together, as the train chooghs chooghs on. 

three performers in traditional south asian clothing interact enthusiastically

Celebrating in Redbridge Libraries

Kerala Group Dance (Thiruvathira) Workshop

Thiruvathira is an ancient dance from Kerala state in southern India. This traditional group dance is performed in Kerala during festivities, since time immemorial. Learn about this wonderfully graceful and energetic dance in our entertaining and engaging workshop. Suitable for families with children 6 years and over and all interested adults. Conducted by volunteers from KALA UK (Kerala Arts and Literary Association) a UK registered charity promoting Kerala’s arts and literature.

Redbridge Central Library
Saturday 20 July
11am – 12pm
Free. First come, first served


Rajiv’s Starry Feelings – Storytelling with Niall Moorjani

Join author Niall Moorjani for some storytelling and craft based on their beautiful debut picture book Rajiv’s Starry Feelings – and learn more about the complex emotions we all feel but can’t always name. 

Niall Moorjani is a mixed Scots-Indian award-winning writer and storyteller. They draw inspiration from fairy tales, folk tales and history and love giving them a modern twist. Rajiv’s Starry Feelings is their debut picture book. 

Goodmayes Library
Saturday 20 July
11.30am
3 to 7 years

Looms of Kerala

Handloom weaving is especially famous in Kerala, southern India. Learn about the tradition of handloom weaving and the wonderful and exotic fabrics produced by the weavers. Find out about the popular articles of clothing produced. Create your own “mini loom” and take it home with you! 

Suitable for families with children aged 6 years and over and all interested adults.

Conducted by volunteers from KALA UK (Kerala Arta and Literary Association) a UK registered charity promoting Kerala’s arts and literature.

Redbridge Central Library
Saturday 20 July
From 12noon to 1pm
Free. First come, first served

Bangladesh Creative Dance and Storytelling with Wee Movers (Ages 2-7 years)

Wee Movers will be celebrating Bangladesh through creative dance and storytelling.

Sessions will include warm-ups to music, gentle stretching, fun dances, storytelling, adventures, imagery, games, dance techniques and lots of opportunities for children to create their own movement.

Saturday 20 July: 2.30pm – 3.15pm
Children’s Library, Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, IG1 1EA

Suitable for families with children aged 2-7 years old.

Free

Sri Lanka Family Dance & Story Telling (Ages 7-11)

Join Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure for South Asian Heritage Month! Celebrating Sri Lanka’s famous dances and cultural stories.

Sessions will include warm-ups to music, gentle stretch

Saturday 20 July: 3:45pm – 5pm
Children’s Library, Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, IG1 1EA

Suitable for families with children aged 7-11 years old.

Free

Arts and Crafts in Redbridge Libraries

South Asian Heritage Month Book Chat

Book club book logos

Celebrate South Asian Heritage Month with our special book chat, an opportunity to explore the rich heritage and history of South Asia through literature. If you love reading and discussing books, this is the perfect event for you!

Join our Book Chat to discover new books, share the joy of reading and get inspired to try something new.

Featured Books:

– The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
– The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
– The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The conversation can include any books set in or authored by writers from South Asian countries. We are eager to hear your thoughts and recommendations!

Join us and connect with fellow book enthusiasts while celebrating the diverse literary voices of South Asia. Don’t miss out on this enriching experience!

You can join the book chat in-person at Redbridge Central Library.

Or you can join online. Please register via Eventbrite to receive the online joining details.

If attending in-person, you can bring a drink in a covered cup. Biscuits will be provided.

Wednesday, 7 August
2pm to 3.15pm
In-person at Redbridge Central Library and online
Ages 16+
Free.

Natya – The Next Generation 2024

Join us for a spectacular evening with the Sakthi Fine Arts Youth Dance Group! Witness mesmerizing performances of Bharathanatyam and vibrant fusion dances by the talented students of “Natyakalaimani” Anusha Sajeev.

In celebration of South Asian Heritage Month, Sakthi Fine Arts Youth Dance Group will proudly showcase the rich cultural traditions of our local communities from Sri Lanka, South India, Gujarat, Punjab, Bengal, and Kerala.

Don’t miss this enchanting display of heritage and artistry!

Roding Theatre, Woodbridge High School, St Barnabas Road, Essex IG8 7DQ
Saturday, 20 July
6.30pm (Doors open at 6pm)
Tickets £10 per adult; £5 per child
Please RSVP for tickets by email to sakthifinearts@yahoo.co.uk by 30 June
From 1 July details/confirmation of booking will be emailed to those who RSVP 

Image of group of South Asian traditional dancers

Languages CaféTamil, Hindi and Urdu

Group of diverse people talking

Join us at this Colours of Redbridge Pop-Up Café, where we celebrate the diverse languages spoken in our vibrant borough! This unique café experience offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with your community, learn new languages, and appreciate the rich cultural tapestry of Redbridge.

There will be complimentary snacks and drinks, a creative activity based around language, craft, and poetry for people to join in with and plenty of time to chat.  The café will have sessions to celebrate the following languages – Tamil, Urdu/Hindi, Bengali, Romanian and British Sign Language (BSL).

The following sessions will be taking place during South Asian Heritage Month

Tamil: Friday 12 July, The Jack Carter Pavillion, Fairlop; 10am to 12noon

Hindi & Urdu: Friday 26 July, Mildmay House, Ilford; 10am to 12noon

Hindi & Urdu: Friday 9 August, the Cherry Tree Café, Wanstead

Each two-hour session will be supported by an experienced language expert to help you get the most out of the session. All abilities from beginner to experienced are welcome to join!

Suitable for ages 16 to 100

Virtual Library

Vision RCL also invites you to discover the heritage, history and culture of South Asia using our social media platforms and online services.

Our Virtual Library gives library members access to thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines plus a wealth of information. All you need to do is search in your chosen platform for a treasury of reading and listening materials. Find out more here for the virtual library at your fingertips and how to sign up!

Libby offers a selection of eBooks and eAudiobooks to read during South Asian Heritage Month and beyond:

Previous Events

South Asian Truck Art with Colours of Redbridge

Colourful Truck Art

Experience the vibrant art of India and Pakistan without leaving Redbridge! A highly-decorated ‘Truck Art’ truck, famous for its bold colours and witty designs, will be at Fairlop Waters, hosting workshops led by Bradford artist Zareena Bano.

Join us to decorate plaques, boxes, coasters, frames, or enamel mugs. These fun, skill-focused activities are perfect for making gifts or keepsakes. No experience is needed, and all skill levels are welcome!

Workshops run for up to 2 hours, held outdoors next to the truck, with a dry area available in case of rain. They’re free to attend, and all materials are provided. Since some activities can get a bit messy, wear clothes you don’t mind getting marked and suitable for being outside. Come celebrate South Asian culture, history, and heritage with us!

About the Artist

Zareena is a visual artist and has worked in the arts for over eighteen years. She uses mixed media, and her work is inspired by traditional South Asian designs fused with modern and contemporary art. She also recycles and upcycles items giving them a new lease of life as sustainable pieces of artwork. She has recently completed a project on Truck Art in Bradford.

The Boat House at Fairlop Waters, Fairlop Waters Country Park Forest Road, Ilford, IG6 3HN

Two hour-long workshops on Thursday, 27 June; Saturday, 29 June; Sunday, 30 June; Tuesday, 2 July; Wednesday, 3 July; Thursday, 4 July – various times available each on each date

Ages 8 to 100

Free

For more information please visit:

For more information about South Asian Heritage Month and details of additional events, please check the following website: South Asian Heritage website