Nine time Chelsea Gold Medal winner Sarah Eberle has been inspired by the hopes and dreams of India’s young people and by the exceptional diversity of India’s flora. The planting is a mix of vibrant colours, representing the energy and colours of India.
Eberle worked with artisans in Jaipur to design and build pietra dura marble walls, inspired by the Mughal architecture of India.
The Himalayan blue poppies reflect the blue of the Indian cricket jersey, calling to mind the UK and India’s shared love of cricket. The unveiling of the garden marks the launch of Changing Moves Changing Minds, an international education programme devised to enrich the lives of thousands of children in India through integrated dance and sports lessons that encourage equal participation by girls and boys in the classroom.
Changing Moves Changing Minds is based on a pilot delivered by the British Council in partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club and the Royal Academy of Dance.
The garden was commissioned by the British Council in partnership with the Piramal Group and is supported by the JSW Group, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services), Dr Pheroza J Godrej, Stanrose Mafatlal Group, Dr Gita Piramal and Leena Gandhi Tewari.
The unveiling of the British Council Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show marks the 70th anniversary of the British Council in India. The cricket theme was chosen to reflect the love of the sport that is shared so deeply and passionately by both countries.
Designer Sarah Eberle has woven aspects of cricket into the British Council Garden, including three-metre high wooden wickets and cricket ball planters. She has also selected plants associated with British explorers, some of which nod to the blue colour of the Indian cricket jersey. The garden features Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis), documented in 1922 by George Leigh Mallory, and blue orchids (Vanda coerulea), which were collected by Thomas Lobb between 1848 and 1853 in the modern state of Meghalaya.
Sarah visited India in January 2018 as part of her research for the garden, where she met craft workers in Jaipur and commissioned the pietra dura, a highlight of the garden. The walls are inlaid with flowers made up of lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones. The craftsmen are the fourth generation of their family to work in pietra dura, and contributed to the renovation of the world famous Taj Mahal.
The garden includes images of Indian children playing cricket in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The British Council funded two landscape architecture students from India to work with Sarah on the build of the garden during the 19-day preparation period for Chelsea.
Alan Gemmell OBE, Director India, British Council says: “The British Council Garden at Chelsea celebrates our 70th anniversary year in India. We’re proud to say we’ve been inspired every day of the last 70 years by India’s artists, young people and teachers, and this garden celebrates that, as well as the connections between our countries and our shared love of cricket. We’re delighted that the legacy project from the British Council Garden is an education programme that will use the power of cricket and dance to enrich the lives of a hundred thousand schoolchildren in India, promoting positive roles for boys and girls.”
Changing Moves Changing Minds aims to enrich children’s lives through integrated dance and sports lessons that encourage girls and boys to play together. Specially designed lesson plans will get pupils to collaborate, and will spark conversations in the classroom about gender equality.
The programme will be rolled out to schools in India from September 2018. In its first year 1,200 teachers in government and private schools throughout India will receive specialist training. Changing Moves Changing Minds aims to reach over 100,000 pupils aged 10 to 12 through integrated physical education (PE) classes, using cricket and movement to challenge gender stereotypes and open up opportunities for everyone.
The programme will be delivered by the British Council in India following a successful pilot devised and delivered in partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). The pilot ran between February and May 2018, with 18 teachers and over 250 students benefiting from the project.
Luke Rittner, Chief Executive, RAD says: “The mission of the Royal Academy of Dance is to advocate for the benefits of dance around the world, so we were delighted to work with Indian teachers and students as part of Changing Moves Changing Minds. It was fantastic to see teachers across India inspire their students through this project, and to observe the incredible impact the pilot project had in a short space of time.”
Guy Lavender, Chief Executive, MCC says: “MCC is always keen to explore new ways of bringing cricket into the lives of children, both in the UK and around the world. Our partnership with Royal Academy of Dance has proved highly successful in challenging gender stereotypes, and the British Council in India’s Changing Moves Changing Minds programme provides a fantastic opportunity to extend this work overseas. I hope the legacy of the project will be around for many years to come.”
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For further information and interview requests, please contact Conor Dwan, Senior Press Officer, British Council on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 285 3667 / 07840 190007.