designer and cultural mediator
New Local is a social design project initiated by REPLYtoALL and Microgiants which uses food as a communication platform. Through gastronomic adventures we aimed to get closer to the life and personal situations of immigrants who came from afar to become new citizens of Vienna. New Local was a selected project by Vienna Design Week for their Stadtarbeit program in 2015.
Beside that more subjective and “tasteful” approach we also worked with open data to include a different, objective angle as well. Our main motivations were to understand: - refugee, migrant and immigrant statuses - their backgrounds (nation, education, origin, age, profession, etc.) and social context - their presence, making it as transparent as possible - and to disperse the fears that come from a lack of/too complex/ambiguous information
The project contained three main phases:
1. Cooking sessions: We think that everybody has a recipe which is connected to her/his homeland the most. We cooked delicious meals of different countries at the Brotfabrik Wien’s Community Cooking on 21-22 July 2015. Participants were Viennese immigrants coming from Iran, Russia, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Malaysia. We made a cookbook of the meals, the collected recipes and the stories shared while cooking. 2. Data Viz Workshop: We organised a data visualisation workshop on 28 August 2015 where the participants of diverse backgrounds (artist, designer, architect, cartographer) were immersed in contemporary migration data and relevant issues through the guidance of Theodora Manolakos, project leader of the Integration Monitoring of the Municipality of Vienna, and Thomas Thurner from School of Data. The book and the exhibit present the outcome of their works and thoughts. 3. Vienna Design Week activities: During the Design Week we presented the results of the previous sessions in an exhibition (in the form of posters and the cookbook). The Community Cooking “operated” as a hub for our project, an open and lively space which hosted all of our hands on activities, such as cooking and other food related events, between 26 September - 4 October 2015.