Óscar Miguel Blanco Sierra
Asociación Cultural Bostezo
How can gastronomy activate the participation of migrants in the citizenship building process?
We want to generate a value proposition about the gastronomy of migrants as a way to develop their connection with the economic, social and cultural fabric of the city. In a first stage (2017-19) we mapped these gastronomies in the city. Now, we want to build a space to boost the food business, intercultural dialogue and social recognition by working with migrant chefs, restaurants and the community.
València, València Region, Spain
Migrants in Valencia are in various socioeconomic situations, but the rule is economic precariousness and low levels of social organization and participation in the political and cultural construction process of the city.
Migration is a relatively recent phenomenon in Spain and even more so in Valencia, after economic centers such as Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao. Most migrant communities are the first generation, which is the root of two situations: the city is still slow to develop social or institutional mechanisms to adopt newcomers, and newcomers arrive without skills like social or cultural capital required to be part of the new society, which is acquired after generations by the schooling process, for example.
By promoting the gastronomy of migrants, we hope to help build migrants' sense of belonging to the city, which is one of the fundamental foundations of citizenship and democratic exercises such as participation.
Gastronomy goes beyond the human physiological need for food. It covers the different ways in which a community or society unites. It provides financial means, but it also activates the mechanisms by which we build our identity, how we know others, and how other communities know about us. This allows communities to avoid ostracism and ghettos in the territory. When others value and are interested in my culture, I feel like I am part of society.
Our main target population is the migrant communities that in Valencia represent 16.7% of the city's population.
There is a rich representation of gastronomies of various nationalities. They are especially present as restaurants and food shops, but also in migrant associations and projects, mostly led by women, around food, from growing to cooking and teaching other communities in the city. Therefore, the main beneficiaries are expected to be immigrants interested in building a life and socio-occupational inclusion proposal:
- food business owners and chefs,
- leaders of these organizations,
Active involvement of the local community is also expected as participants in culinary workshops, reflective activities or open cooking sessions, among others.
This will be a participatory process based on 18 activities divided into 3 types and over 12 months, codesigned with 30 migrant chefs and restaurant owners interested on starting a food business or already existing, adapted to their needs, expectations and potentials.
4 Participatory workshops: 2 will be the starting point for beneficiaries to define future steps, and 2 additional to monitor the process and learnings.
8 Training: on skills and knowledge, such as food design, marketing, business models, regulations, visual communication and social networks to promote food business proposals
6 Culinary workshops: open to the local community as live cooking and open cooking events, but also reflective workshops with the aim to raise awareness on migration and identity through gastronomy
At the end of the project:
(1) the constitution of a local association of migrant restaurants with defined objectives, type of members and strategies aimed at promoting migrant cuisines in the economic context, the political agendas and social recognition
(2) virtual platform of services and information like a migrant gastrocultural city map.
In the midterm:
To improve the employment and economies of migrant restaurants, and additionally, we expect a sociocultural connection with neighborhoods that avoid exoticization and gentrification.
In the long term:
A more diverse gastronomic city reflected in the inclusion of the migrant cuisines in the media, the discourse of gastronomic critics, events, cultural guides, political debate and urban innovation strategies.
The negative concept of migrants is at the top of the undemocratic forces that threaten Europe. This discourse is against the evidence on the role of diversity in socioeconomic innovation and the constitution of global citizenships. Also against humanity and the open spirit on which the political culture of Europeans was built. This is because these discourses forget the universality of human culture.
Gastronomy is a representation of how universal we are among the differences. It represents the same for all cultures: closeness to others, memory, identity, social ties, family, friendship and community. We call for the high value of Europe's culinary culture as a channel to appreciate other cuisines and extend humanity to communities in need.
We hope that this project contributes to the recognition of cultural diversity as a potential to build global citizenships and more creative and vivid communities that will result in different forms of socio-economic innovation.
In this way, we deeply believe that migration is an opportunity rather than a problem for European cities.
We also believe in the power of culture for system change. It articulates the values and meanings by which we see reality and from which the decisions that shape our society and economy emanate, in other words, expanding the cultural universe of a society is the basis for rebuilding or reinforcing democratic values.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personal costs: €26700
+Facilitators for 18 workshops.
(chefs, trainers, participative mediators and co-creative communication experts): €12300
+Management of 18 activities: €7200
+Project coordination: €7200
Cooking ingredients, workshops materials.
Rent of spaces: €2800
Mainly spaces provided with kitchen.
Design, photography, social networks.
We want to know if the "other" Europe can propose a new perspective on the current challenges for European democracy and if there is something common between its different contexts that makes it unique.