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KCL Staff and Artists Engage with Intercultural Cookery Classes led by Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Migrants

This Refugee Week, discover how the Kneading Knowledge Project by King’s AHRI provided staff and artists with an opportunity to participate in, and respond to, online cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.

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The theme of 2021 Refugee Week is “We Can’t Walk Alone”, encouraging us to engage with someone outside our circle. This was exemplified in the Kneading Knowledge Project, a collaborative work by King’s Arts & Humanities Research Institute (AHRI) and the charity Migrateful, where King’s staff and artists engaged in intercultural culinary experiences with migrant chefs from across the world.

Migrateful supports refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants by offering cookery classes where migrant chefs share their native cuisine, culture, and stories to foster greater intercultural understanding. Kneading Knowledge provided moments of connection for participants at a time of lockdown and enabled those involved to gain a better understanding of the experiences of refugees. Throughout October & November 2020 eight interactive online cookery classes were run for King’s students, staff, and members of the public which were observed by researchers.

These shared learning experiences were captured by artists who were present as observers, and the artworks that have emerged from their effort range from paintings to poetry to video art. The artworks produced are: “Dancing Food”, a quarantine reflection video by Sivan Rubinstein; “Sarande”, a watercolour artwork by Anna Virabyan; “It is Impossible to Lose Joy in Translation”, a poem by Tolu Agbelusi; and “Of rivers crossed and lessons learned”, a new text by Xavier de Sousa.

The Kneading Knowledge Project as a whole created a digital space of reflection for the Migrateful chefs and the participants on their own experience of migration, while allowing leading migration researchers at King’s College London to explore interactive teaching and socially engaged research.

Full details of Kneading Knowledge, and the artworks created as response, can be viewed here.