The Clayton Street Festival gives the people of Monash the opportunity to participate socially in their multicultural community. Food, music and tradional costumes are a main focus.
For us the most interesting and educative part of the time we spent at the Festival was the Hawkers Market, an addition to the Festival this year. Refugees from Africa spoke of their experiences as children before moving to Australia. Talented performers shared raps and poems that told true stories and challenged ways of thinking.
Participation in such festivals can lead to reflection about our traditions and values and where we live. The following quote from Nicholas C Burbules is food for thought:
One of the primary features of this world is the growing awareness of difference itself; we are beginning to appreciate that questions about where those differences come from and how they come to mean what they do to different groups raise
fundamental questions in turn about the world, and about why we have come to settle on one account of it as opposed to another, depending on who we are and where we live. It is to recognize that much about our own systems of difference can be seen, from other points of view, as strange and exotic in the same way that other systems of difference appear to us. This does not necessarily lead to relativism, in my view; but it does lead to appreciating the arbitrariness of at least part of what we take for granted about ourselves and about others, along with the realization that from within another frame of reference those assumptions will appear quite different. “Multiculturalism,” in this sense, is as much about a critical reflection on our own culture, our art, our science, our ethics, and so on, as it is about the exploration of others’ beliefs.
Burbules NC Deconstructing “Difference” and the difference this makes to education Philosophy of Education 19 6 p114-123 http://ojs.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/pes/article/view/2251/946 accessed 24 Feb 2014