Our organisation

Carnival Village Trust is a unique collaboration between its partners whose objects are to develop the art and business of Carnival.

As London´s development agency for Carnival Arts, we spotlight the arts, crafts and business of a relatively unsung art form in the UK, extending to its roots and broader culture. We have the background to do so and are well placed in the locality of Europe's largest carnival.

With preparation and performance central to the artform, we also host venues in Notting Hill, West London. Carnival Arts and African Caribbean events add to a diverse programme from theatre, music and dance to comedy and film.

Carnival Village will make a significant contribution to the nation’s artistic landscape and to the enrichment of people’s lives by developing and delivering carnival arts that are primarily rooted in Caribbean cultural traditions, and by being excellent at everything it does.

Carnival Village will put in place a sustainable organisational structure that will collaborate with its Founding Partners and others to deliver work of high standard that seeks to extend the boundaries of carnival arts and promote delivery to a wide and diverse audience.

Our work

Our work to promote Carnival Arts falls into three core areas to ensure variety in our delivery.

Our main Carnival arts programme is focused over the summer months of July and August and forms the focal point for the world famous Notting Hill Carnival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. We run a range of events that include seasonal programming focused around the international Carnival dates around the world in (Feb/March 2014).

Check our website for more details of the forthcoming programme.

Our learning programme is based on extending knowledge and understanding of Carnival arts and the history of Caribbean style Carnival. The programme offers opportunities of schools and colleges to find out more about Carnival arts. Through our extensive network of Carnival artists and partners we are able to deliver bespoke sessions for those in formal and informal learning environments. We are currently exploring a Carnival in the Curriculum Workshop for teachers and also offer informal learning sessions for local people, clubs and community groups.

Do contact us if you would like to book one of our workshops.

Our participation programme encompasses a growing range of workshops and courses for young and older! The workshops explore the core Carnival arts of Calypso, Steelpan and Mas’ (costume-making). We currently run regular workshops and courses in steel pan, Caribbean folk dance, Carnival costume making and textiles, specialising in batiks and printing techniques. Building on the success of our Autumn 2012 programme, we will be launching a new programme of half term workshops for adults, young people and children and special sessions for families including, performance poetry and calypso, make up and face painting, getting into employment sessions, digital media and music production.

We are open to new ideas and partnerships – so do get in touch with your thoughts!

Our inspiration

Our inspiration is primarily the diaspora of African Caribbean carnivals and culture. However, we also draw from others around the world.

Although we’re based in the heart of the Notting Hill Carnival, a largely Afro-Caribbean event, there are many Carnivals worldwide, with the largest street event in Rio de Janeiro.

The oldest recorded carnival with masks and costumes dates back to Venice in the late 13th century. It was an excuse to party and most of the population joined in the street festivities in one way or another. From the Italian word ‘Carnevale’ (meaning to do away with meat), the day before Lent became a celebration involving costumes.

It was the French and Spanish who took the custom to the Caribbean, where carnival was the first outlet African slaves were allowed to participate in, hence its importance in the African-Caribbean calendar.

From steel drums (a Caribbean invention) to recorded ‘soca’ music, there are numerus genres and sounds. Without the mas (masquerade), there is no carnival, and African-Caribbean costumes are amongst the most colourful in the world. Carnival arts also extend to the business of the events, from promotors to safety to merchandise.