The annual Diversity Fayre at Gower College Swansea celebrates and promotes positive attitudes to diversity by engaging students in a range of different learning experiences and activities. From performing arts to charity quizzes, workshops and stalls, the event attracts around 1,000 students who attend and take part in this vibrant occasion.
Number of learners: 4,660 full-time and 7,400 part-time
Age range: Post-16
Date of Estyn inspection: January 2012
Context and background to sector-leading practice
Gower College Swansea was formed in August 2010 by the merger of Gorseinon College and Swansea College. The college mission is to bring together two complementary, successful organisations to create an institution that will provide outstanding learning opportunities and experiences for young people, adults and employers in Swansea. Gower College Swansea provides a wide range of courses to around 4,660 full-time and 7,400 part-time learners.
The Diversity Fayre is held annually in October or November at the two main campuses: Tycoch and Gorseinon.
The Diversity Fayre was first held at Swansea College in 2004 and at Gorseinon College in 2009 (prior to the formation of Gower College Swansea). Since then, it has become an annual event. The aim of the Diversity Fayre is to celebrate and promote positive attitudes to diversity through student engagement in different learning experiences and activities. Participation has grown year-on-year. Currently, around 1,000 people attend each Diversity Fayre. These are primarily full-time students, but also include some part-time students, pupils from local schools, staff and other guests.
Description of nature of strategy or activity
Students on various programmes take part in different aspects of the Diversity Fayre. Some groups have stalls, some take part in performances and workshops, and others assist with the organisation of the event. Activities often enable students to extend or showcase their skills and knowledge. Specific examples of students’ involvement include:
- performing arts, dance and music technology students giving performances;
- hair, beauty and holistics students offering treatments such as Indian head massage, threading and braiding;
- supported studies students selling their hand-made pottery, jewellery and hanging baskets;
- hospitality and catering help preparing and serving the food and welcoming guests;
- media and photography students filming and photographing the event; and
- sports students practising and giving demonstrations of capoeira (Brazilian Martial Arts).
Students on a range of courses take part in workshops and performances, such as African drumming, Indian dance, street dance and capoeira. Others give their own performances, such as the supported studies students who study dance in college or as part of TAN Dance (a local community dance organisation).
Some groups raise funds for various charities as part of the event. For example, information technology students organised a multimedia quiz on global poverty and sustainability which raised money for Oxfam. Sometimes different curriculum areas collaborate on stalls. For example, ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) students, art and design, and health and social care students worked togther on stalls and activities promoting awareness of cultural diversity and religion and beliefs. Other stalls engage students in activities challenging stereotyping. For example, motor vehicle students organised an activity where male and female students competed against each other to repair a simulated engine.
Community groups and other relevant organisations also take part in the Diversity Fayre, either through giving performances, running workshops or having stalls. These groups include the Ethnic Youth Support Team, the African Community Centre, the Chinese Community Centre, Stonewall Cymru, Swansea City of Sanctuary, the Minority Ethnic Women’s Network, India Dance Wales and RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Cymru. There is considerable continuity and positive links with local community groups, organisations and sometimes former students who return to give performances and run workshops.
As the Diversity Fayre has evolved, demand for workshops has increased, different programme areas have taken part and more students are engaging in performances, often by just joining in on the day. This adds greatly to the vibrant atmosphere and helps the event remain fresh and exciting. The aim is to build on this, get different programme areas involved and to extend the range of activities and themes.
What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?
It is difficult to measure the impact of the Diversity Fayre. Participants and visitors certainly enjoy and embrace the positive atmosphere, enthusiasm and excitement on the day. Feedback from students, staff, community groups and other organisations involved and those attending the event continues to be extremely positive. This feedback suggests that bringing people together in a college-wide and community partnership event such as the Diversity Fayre makes students feel welcome, and helps them to appreciate the diversity that exists within the college and local community and the College’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity.