I’m reproducing below a report from an event I organised and facilitated last Friday as part of the University of Birmingham’s ‘Brum Dine With Me’ research day. To read the report in its original form, click here.
On Friday 28th September, the University took its research ‘onto the streets’ of Birmingham as part of a Europe-wide day of celebrating research. Along with 52 other universities across the continent, the theme of food was used to highlight the wide range of research that is currently being undertaken across the University.
As part of ‘Brum Dine With Me’ – the name given to the University’s celebration – IASS’s Chris Allen hosted an event entitled ‘A Taste of Multiculturalism’ at MAC Birmingham.
As well as inviting those visiting Mac Birmingham to indulge in a range of foods that reflect the diversity of today’s Birmingham – including meals from Britain, the Caribbean, Poland and South Asia – visitors also had the opportunity to participate in a quiz and watch a short presentation on multiculturalism. Those who did were surprised to learn that in today’s Birmingham, people with almost 190 different nationalities are currently resident in the city. Likewise also, that Birmingham is likely to become the UK’s first ‘minority-majority’ city.
From speaking with people at the event, it was clear that the range of foods available was the highlight for most. Whilst the more traditional fish and chips and shepherd’s pie were available, it seemed that Birmingham’s collective palate was more inclined to jerk chicken and aubergine curry, the Polish pancakes being more of a surprise favourite.
Most of those attending felt that Birmingham’s diversity was a real strength of the city and that it should be promoted and embraced more openly by all.
‘A Taste of Multiculturalism’s’ Chris Allen added, “Many of those I spoke to at the event told me of how their parents or grandparents had come to Birmingham from other parts of the world but how all now see the city as being ‘home’. It’s when you see and hear this that you realise that multiculturalism and diversity are facts of life – it’s pretty much the norm and people like that”.