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- Mr Matthew Shoults, Headmaster

First Ever Global History & Interfaith Week at NHEHS

By Freya M, History Rep

Last month we held our first ever Global History & Interfaith Week. The History and PRE departments with their Subject Reps and the Interfaith Leaders, lined up a host of activities with a themed day of the week focused on a different continent.

Our Interfaith Reps got the week off to a flying start by leading assembly where they outlined the exciting week ahead and also explained why they had signed up for these Year 9/10 Leadership roles.

Nirupama in Year 10 said of her new role, “ I am a Hindu, and I am also Tamil. I believe interfaith is important because it allows us to understand one another. We may all have different views and beliefs but interfaith can help us connect and overcome those differences and accept them. Interfaith also allows us to look at diversity and to respect many diverse cultures. We are lucky to live in a world where there are so many different people and so many different cultures and faiths. It is of great importance that we learn to accept and respect other people and to be aware of the backgrounds of many faiths. Being aware can lead to a greater sense of understanding and can help build relationships with people. Looking at similarities and differences between religions and cultural practices can show the world how interconnected we actually are. As an Interfaith Rep, I hope to spread awareness and mutual understanding to everyone, and for everyone to feel included in many celebrations and to feel like their cultures are displayed correctly and in the best way possible.”

Africa was the theme for Monday with the lunchtime showing of the Prince of Egypt and Exodus, accompanied by unleavened and cholla bread, which was enjoyed by many! 

On Tuesday we shifted our focus to Australia. At break, there was an Aboriginal Art Workshop from the PRE and Art Departments, followed by a fun “Goldrush Simulation” led by History Rep Freya. After an introduction which provided historical context to the Australia goldrushes from 1850s onwards, the Year 7s and 8s embarked on a goldrush adventure! Tasked with finding gold in the sand, the explorers had to determine what was valuable compared to the fools’ gold which lay within their reach. Lastly the Year 7s and 8s had to see if the odds were stacked in their favour by drawing a chance card of realistic historical scenarios which either added or subtracted to their final score. After completing the challenge, the students reflected on the wider consequences of gold mining and how this impacted the world such as social, political, and environmental repercussions. The winning team were also rewarded with a well-deserved chocolate prize. After school we took part in a Faith Talk with Wimbledon High School GDST and MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development). 

American and European History and Faith took the spotlight on Wednesday, kicked off with a historical general knowledge Kahoot quiz in formtime. Our lunchtime lectures featured two diverse topics – “Are the Blackpool Illuminations featuring Native Americans racist and should they be replaced” and “What happened to the Soviet Satellite states after the fall of communism.” 

For our Asian day, we celebrated Hinduism and Buddhism – making Mandala patterns plus a workshop on the development of calligraphy in the Qing dynasty at lunchtime. After school – we looked at Sikh culture through film and artefacts, ending the day with a showing of Bend it Like Beckham.

At Friday break we shared food reflecting faith and diversity including Indian sweets, chollah bread and prashad.

For our Central and South Americas day, at lunchtime History Reps Freya and Beatriz organised a virtual Latin American Dictatorship Conference with four academics from KCL, Queen Mary’s and Kingston. Students across the school who were interested in this topic spent their lunchtime listening to the experts dissect and compare the history of dictatorships in Latin America through different lenses such as the economy, the government and culture. This allowed students to explore aspects of history which is less explored during the curriculum and appealed to a wide range of subject areas and interest. After school we took part in an exploring icons workshop – how they are made & their meaning.

Feedback from students taking part was very positive and we look forward to more History and Interfaith events and activities next term! 

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