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Cultural Diversity

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in promoting cultural diversity since the suspension of the Assembly. [118623]

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in pursuing its vision of "a confident, creative, informed and prosperous society" is committed both to promoting a greater respect and understanding of the richness of our cultural and linguistic diversity and to celebrating this diversity. In progressing this objective the Department supported Diversity 21 as a means of examining cultural diversity with a view to promoting deeper understanding and to represent this diversity as a sign of strength in our society. Diversity 21 provided the means of promoting cultural diversity work already happening; identifying and delivery of new projects aimed at stimulating the imagination and exploring diversity in an open, creative and accessible way; and providing a cultural diversity grant funding scheme. In this way the Department supported a schedule of exhibitions on language, faith and history in Northern Ireland and the wider Commonwealth, to a number of organisations and community groups throughout the Province; a programme of workshops on the different drums of Northern Ireland and various projects aimed at progressing the cultural diversity agenda. In addition the Department under the Diversity 21 funding programme supported a range of community based projects.Since the suspension of the Assembly the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has fulfilled its commitments within the Diversity 21 programme and funding scheme. In the interests of ensuring the optimum approach to cultural diversity within the DCAL remit, the Department has also evaluated the Diversity 21 Programme and is currently considering a policy framework which will enable it to take forward the cultural diversity agenda in a structured and comprehensive way.