What happens to our notions of Europe, community and participation when we debate them at the kitchen table with people of very different origins?
As part of the cultural programme of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Goethe-Institut’s “Europe’s Kitchen” project showcases Europe’s diversity and fosters exchange throughout the continent. Members of the public from all over Europe are invited to take part in the project, which is scheduled to start on 15 August. Portuguese artist Patrícia Portela is hosting the first European Kitchen in Copenhagen.
Like no other place, the kitchen stands for community and encounters, cosiness and lively debate. Last but not least, it is a haven for free speech in countries where freedom of expression is restricted. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the kitchen became even more important. It is no longer just a meeting place, but also a workplace and classroom.
Platform for a Europe-wide dialogue
With the Europe’s Kitchen project, the kitchen is transformed into a metaphor and platform for cultural and pan-European dialogue across borders. Eleven artists from a wide range of disciplines who live and work in Europe are hosting an event based on the idea of a kitchen conversation in a city other than the one they come from – whether in the kitchens of private hosts or in public spaces, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the events are intended to trigger thought-provoking discussions on current topics regarding Europe. Fundamental questions about what Europe is, who is welcome, who is not, and under what circumstances, will also be addressed in small groups and experienced together in artistic formats, such as readings, concerts and participatory performances, or simply in the context of a good chat.
The Portuguese artist Patrícia Portela will correspond in advance with the guests she is to meet at her Europe’s Kitchen in Copenhagen. Brief texts created in the process will be worked into a story and performed together during the live event in Danish host Philipp Ostrowicz’s kitchen.
What does Europe taste like?
Further artists involved in the project, each of whom will put together an event while observing hygiene measures necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, include Croatian author Ivana Sajko, German artist Mischa Leinkauf, Czech conceptual artist Kateřina Šedá, Italian artist Marinella Senatore, Danish video artist Jeannette Ehlers and Berlin-based British author Priya Basil, who is also the project’s curator.
At her Europe’s Kitchen in Wrocław (Poland) from 18 to 20 September, Priya Basil will explore European issues through the prism of ingredients: What does Europe taste like for people in Poland and Polish communities in Europe? Together with local chefs, Priya Basil will develop new European recipes based on the responses to her survey.
The encounters and discussions at different locations can also be experienced in the digital realm. In addition to local open calls and online offerings, all meetings of the Europe’s Kitchen project will be condensed into a series of short videos covered by three bloggers: writer and visual artist Mohammed Z. Rahman from London, Berlin and London-based literary scholar and law student Marie Detjen, and Dutch-Hungarian blogger Mandula van den Berg, who lives in Berlin.
Locations and dates for the Europe’s Kitchen project:
- 15 August: Copenhagen (Denmark) – Patrícia Portela (Portugal)
- September (tbc): Vienna (Austria) – Jasmina Metwaly (Poland)
- 18 -20 September: Wrocław (Poland) – Priya Basil (Germany/UK)
- 25-27 September: Tallinn (Estonia) – Kateřina Šedá (Czech Republic)
- 5-11 October: Chania (Greece) – Mischa Leinkauf (Germany)
- 16-18 October: Glasgow and Huntly (Scotland) – Jeannette Ehlers (Denmark)
- 24/25 October: Palermo (Italy) – Géraldine Schwarz (Germany/France)
- November (tbc): Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Marinella Senatore (Italy)
- 14/15 November: Marseille (France) – Ivana Sajko (Croatia)
- 21/22 November: Madrid (Spain) – Arpad Dobriban (Hungary)
- 4 December: Munich (Germany) – Johny Pitts (UK)
Individual artists from the Europe’s Kitchen project will return to Munich for the finale of Europe’s Kitchen at the Kammerspiele, sharing their experiences and making their contributions tangible.
You can follow the events at:
All information about the Goethe-Institut’s EU 2020 projects is available at:
Click here for more information about the cultural programme of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Disclaimer: This text is largely based on press releases by the Goethe-Institut.