By Ed Hewitt: Redefining how we interact with our multicultural cities

GMT 14:48 Wednesday ,03 December 2014

 Migrant Voice - By Ed Hewitt: Redefining how we interact with our multicultural cities

Ed Hewitt, London

Have you ever thought ‘I know I live in a multicultural city, but do I really make the most out of all the opportunities that offers me’? I certainly have, and it’s the reason why I’ve launched a new project called ‘World in’. It’s all about redefining how we interact with multicultural cities. It’s about celebrating and participating in the opportunities we offer each other. It’s about ‘travelling’ the world without leaving your own city. We are starting the movement in London, and are currently crowdfunding to make ‘World in London’ a reality. Before I explain what exactly we are doing, let me expand on the ‘why’. I’ve always been a big traveller, and in 2013 completed a flightless journey from Thailand back to the UK along the Silk Road. Although the journey was fantastic, it was then that I began to think ‘do I necessarily have to go so far and be away for so long to experience new cultures and have adventure. If only I looked a bit harder in my own city (London)’….Previously, I’d written my dissertation at Oxford on multiculturalism in the UK and always thought that it had a certain ‘academic’ association. I didn’t see the fun, the life and the opportunities when people spoke about multiculturalism. I wanted to change that. So upon return from my trip I began to ‘travel’ the world in my own city. I sought out many of the festivals, restaurants, music, celebrations and communities I’d experienced on my travels. I went to areas of London I hadn’t previously been to. I partied with Colombians in Elephant & Castle during the world cup, I saw the most beautiful temple I’d seen outside of India in Neasdon, I heard beautiful African music at Rich Mix and ate delicious Burmese cuisine at a pop up dinner. Seeing my own city with a new pair of eyes was incredible – arguably just as rewarding as what I’d done on my travels. And the stories I wrote about it were better received than those I’d been writing from overseas. People could relate. It was clear that this idea of ‘travelling the world in your own city’ was something I should take to the next level. I felt it was something lots of people would enjoy. I found some partners in crime, and we are now seeking to develop an app which will make it really easy to make the most out of multicultural London. It will curate the best experiences from each nationality in London (including food, art, music, parties, walking tours etc). We’re going to add a bit of fun by theming it like a passport and allow people to collect stamps (for rewards) as they ‘travel’ around London experiencing different things. It’s going to be the first app to focus specifically on multicultural London, and has been selected as a 2015 ‘London Leaders’ project by the London Commission for Sustainable Development. If we can prove it to work in London we want to expand to other cities. But now we need your help to make the dream become a reality. We are launching a crowdfunding project to raise £15k to fund the app development. We need people to show us they really want this. People can pledge as little as £10 – each pledge comes with a reward – ranging from exclusive walking and tasting tours of multicultural London to a Central Asian dinner and show in a yurt! If you like the idea, check out our video, share it with your friends and even make a pledge to ensure it becomes a reality. Rewards range from walking & tasting tours of multicultural London to a Central Asian dinner & show in a yurt. We’ve had a great start but need to keep the momentum.          


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