Xmas Factor

Competition aims to stem Britons’ growing disenchantment with Christmas carol singers·
National carol competition launched by Ecclesiastical Insurance to keep Christmas carolling alive·
New survey reveals carol singers increasingly unwelcome outside our homes· Nearly one third won’t give a donation to carollers· Only 2% of Brits will sing carols door-to-door this Christmas.

The tradition of singing carols door-to-door has long been a staple of the British Christmas, but new research showing that the public is increasingly negative about the practice has prompted Ecclesiastical Insurance to launch a national competition to revitalise carolling. Ecclesiastical has teamed up this year with ChurchAds.net, who are encouraging people to put the Christian message back into Christmas with their ‘Christmas starts with Christ’ advertising campaign.

The competition to compose a new carol in the Christian tradition will form part of the campaign to get Christ back in Christmas and comes as a study by Ecclesiastical reveals that over half the British public is either unhappy or unwilling to have carol singers call at their homes. Launched today The Christmas Factor aims to reinvigorate public support for traditional carolling and ensure it remains at the heart of the Christmas celebrations.

According to the YouGov survey commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance, 29% of Britons don’t want carol singers to come to their home while a further 19% said they won’t answer the door if carol singers knocked. 3% said they would ask carol singers to leave. Almost three-quarters of Britons (73%) said that carollers are less welcome on the doorstep today than they were in the past. Bruce Rickards of Ecclesiastical Insurance said: “Our survey’s results made for pretty disheartening reading. I think I won’t be alone in saying that it’s a sad state of affairs that such a time-honoured way of celebrating Christmas should now be seen so negatively. We want to do something about it. “By launching this competition we hope to make people think again about carols and see them in a new light. We’re encouraging people to use their imaginations to compose contemporary carols that will reflect the lives we live now as well as the Nativity itself.

Popular carols like Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful are timeless, but every tradition needs a reboot from time to time. We think this competition will achieve that for carolling.”
Francis Goodwin, Chairman of ChurchAds.net said: "We're really pleased to be teaming up with Ecclesiastical on this initiative. The idea is right in line with our strategic approach which reminds people that Christmas starts with Christ. Carols are a great and memorable way of communicating the Christmas message with popular appeal." Ecclesiastical’s survey also found that Britons believe there has been a decline in the number of door-to-door carol singers. Two-thirds of those questioned said there are fewer singers today than 10 years ago. Asked whether or not they wanted to see the tradition of carolling continue in this country, 41% said they did while 22% wanted it to end. 32% had no opinion either way. Should carol singers call, most people (29%) thought they should sing just one carol and in return be given a donation of 51p-£1 (22%). Two carols were also quite popular with respondents (22%), but not more. However almost a third (30%) said they would not give any donation at all. This Christmas, only 2% of Britons are planning to go door-to-door carol singing although of those who are not, 17% said they will take part in some other type of carol singing event such as a church service or concert. The traditional of singing carols in the street in return for a donation is thought to go back to the Middle Ages when beggars performed in return for food or money.

The Christmas Factor competitionToday Ecclesiastical Insurance, in conjunction with ChurchAds.net, is a launching a national competition to compose a new carol in the Christian tradition around the theme of the Nativity. Called The Christmas Factor, the competition is open to anyone. The carol can be in any musical style but should not be longer than four minutes in duration. The winner will be announced in December and in addition to receiving a £1,000 prize, will have his or her carol performed on their doorstep by the largest doorstep carol singing event of all-time. The competition begins on 5 October. Entries (lyrics and melody) can be made via ChurchAd.net’s website. For full details go to www.ecclesiastical.com/christmasfactor.

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Centre For Sustainable Fashion

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) set up at London College of Fashion (LCF) and now in its second year of operation, received backing from the British Fashion Council. Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council, speaking at the Estethica launch party at London Fashion Week commented: “It is wonderful to see the work being undertaken by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion supporting the fashion industry to transform the way it does business. It is especially apt given the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week that we should be looking to the future and safeguarding our industry for future generations.”
The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion has rapidly gained an international reputation for connecting research, education and business to support, inspire and create innovative approaches to fashion that balance ecology, society and culture. Ambassador for the CSF Caryn Franklin commented; “The Centre for Sustainable Fashion is a trailblazer, helping all of us to a better understanding of why the pursuit of sustainability must be on par with the pursuit of business building and design innovation.”

Over the past year the CSF has worked across education, research and industry to establish networks and develop capacity within the fashion industry and produce graduates who are fully equipped to effect positive change. Just one of many successful initiatives includes the Shared Talent India project that is funded under the Defra led Sustainable Clothing Roadmap and the Indian Government through the UK:India Sustainable Development Dialogue. Born out of a collaboration between UK and Indian designers, LCF, Pearl Academy India and Amsterdam Fashion Institute, the project explored and promoted the design applications of a range of sustainable Indian textiles; outcomes from Shared Talent India were displayed on the Monsoon Stand in Estethica at London Fashion Week and will go on to be displayed at Indian Fashion Week in October 2009.
The CSF has also launched its new website http://www.sustainable-fashion.com/ which provokes, challenges and questions the fashion status quo. This will be an invaluable resource for the fashion industry, showcasing transforming design concepts that balance ecology, society and culture.

Shared Talent India Team:Through partnership between the Defra led Sustainable Clothing Roadmap and the Indian Government under the UK:India Sustainable Development Dialogue, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion explored and shared knowledge on sustainable design practice. Those involved include 12 designers, based in both the UK and India, suppliers of Indian textiles, buyers and undergraduates from London College of Fashion, Pearl Academy of Fashion Delhi and Amsterdam Fashion Institute. The initiative aims to innovate towards improved ecological, ethical and cultural criteria in selecting and creating collections and to connect designers and buyers to more sustainable textiles in India.

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The Sand Lady

Talent shows are enjoying something of a bittersweet golden age of late thanks to x factor, strictly come dancing and the likes. Acts like Susan Boyle, Diversity, Alesha Dixon and Ali Bastian are to talent shows what Cheryl Cole is to Girls Aloud.Viewing numbers have remained hugely impressive and it seems Britain's Got Talent may be about to benefit greatly after the Ukranian winner's performance was such a huge hit on the internet, she has had to organise a worldwide tour.
Kseniya Siminova is the 24 year old sand animator whose portrayal of life during the Great Patriotic war in world war II reduced several audience members to tears. During her interview she said that sand had become a part of her and she has managed to establish a strong relationship with it and her hands thus enabling her to fully immerse herself in all her works.
The video for that performance placed on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=518XP8prwZo has received a staggering amount of hits in such a short space of time and lots of comments complimenting her work.

Sand drawing has been a vanuatu ritual tradition and practice for years and has thus been recognised by UNESCO as a MASTERPIECE OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY which ensures that communities awarded this maintain their traditions that reflect their cultural and social identity. The reason why Miss Siminova's work impressed the millions that viewed it online or the several lucky ones that witnessed it live was her ability to combine her strong interest, passion and knowledge of the art with excellent camera work to produce a magnificent portrayal of dark times during world war II.

There is a planned tour of Miss Siminova's work according to sources thus we shall wait and see if there is more to this sand lady than her youthful good looks and talent obviously.
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