What is Intercultural Kirklees?
Why did we join Intercultural Cities?
Kirklees joined the Intercultural Cities programme a year ago (Yes we know we are not a city but metropolitan boroughs are allowed!)
A range of partners from across Kirklees, along with the Council, joined the programme to improve how we promote and benefit from the advantage that diversity can bring at every opportunity.
What did the process of joining look like?
We completed and submitted a questionnaire that looked at our approach across the council towards interculturalism and cohesion, received a report with recommendations, had a visit from a number of experts from the Council of Europe in June 2019, and finally, received our Intercultural Profile, combining the information from the questionnaire and the set of visits that took place in June.
Did we receive good feedback?
We got some really positive feedback, for example, on the work we’re doing in schools like the linking project, ‘Carry My Story’ and our participatory budgeting scheme, providing seed funding through ‘It’s Up To You’ coordinated by the Cohesion team. However there were also areas for improvement highlighted, like our relationship with the media, and aspects of our governance arrangements.
We are using this profile to develop an action plan with our partners and communities – currently meeting on a two monthly basis, and are keen to hear from as broad a range of people as possible to develop and review the action plan, which we’re aiming to finalise in March 2020. There are already some great pieces of work underway, and the plan will change and develop over the coming months and years in response to the needs of the borough.
We’re really happy that there’s been so much enthusiasm for this work across Kirklees, with Batley Girls School hosting the Council of Europe when they came to visit, and the University of Huddersfield and businesses like Cummins taking a proactive role in the Working Group that will develop and deliver the action plan. This collaboration also helps us to tie this work into the collective thinking we’re doing on Inclusion and Diversity, and the Cohesion Strategy review that’s currently underway.
What does being an Intercultural Borough mean?
This means we recognise diversity and celebrate it, but we also recognise the importance of people from different backgrounds mixing – bringing different perspectives to situations in work, in the community, and in their personal lives, to increase understanding, boost creativity, and problem solve more effectively.
The programme has member cities across Europe and beyond – cities like Barcelona and others in Australia and Ukraine – that are sharing good practice initiatives and opportunities to work together on similar problems and projects. The programme gives Kirklees an opportunity to talk about its great work on an international platform (things like our Libraries of Sanctuary work, and the Year of Music 2023), and just as important, gives us feedback on areas we need to improve.
Thinking about cultural diversity and inclusion should be part of all the work we do – from helping young people understand their heritage in education and social care, to understanding how to communicate with different people to help them manage their household waste properly – it makes our offer of services and support more tailored, and therefore more effective.
Watch this video below for a further explanation on Intercultural Cities:
To learn more about what an intercultural city is and what it means for your area of work please read the online resource from the ICC.
If you would like to know more about the programme, or have ideas for the action plan we’re developing, contact Christina Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ali Amla at email@example.com