Palestine Hosting Society: Open Call For a Collective in the Making

image credit Sarah Schalk
 
As part of the Collectives Initiative, the Public Programme at A. M. Qattan Foundation, invites food enthusiasts and those interested in the culture of food (cooks, researchers and others) to apply with proposals, for the first act of the collective in the making Palestine Hosting Society. The collective is initiated and organised by Mirna Bamieh. 
Idea 
 
If you believe in the potential of food in engaging with culture and history, this collective opens up the opportunity for food enthusiast to construct and reconstruct their relations with place, history, society and politics over food. Each member of this collective will be engaged in a personal research based on eating, reading, conversations, and thinking of culinary interventions, that unpack broader social concerns and limitations vis-à-vis contemporary political dilemmas that construct our nowadays Palestinian communities. 
Food has always been a representation of class, time, and power. It creates a significantly different atmosphere for encounters to be happen. Sharing food puts on the table aspects of hospitality, distribution, exchange, familiarity and pleasure.  A shared meal, can become a space of reflection for socio-political realities, attitudes, fashions of the time, and even the suppressed elements of history.
 
At the heart of the table where food is shared, the project becomes an inquiry into hospitality as the politics of opening up to others. It instigates questions such as what does it mean to open oneself up to another? What does the gesture of opening to the other involve? What is the stimulus of the time and place? Can hospitality become an act of aggression and class domination, or a manifestation of power? What new perspective can hospitality bring to our understanding of the social, ethical, and political problems?
Method 
 
For the collective’s first project, each selected participant will allocate himself to one family in Palestine (we encourage proposals that reach-out to the peripheries), and engage with them over a period of time, based on unveiling the following:‘family’s history, their culture of food, the space of cooking and its material and visual culture, source of ingredients, storage of food, economy of the daily menu, favourite dishes, daily meals, seasonal alterations in the menu, special occasions meals and so forth’.  
 
Each participant is to document this knowledge in multiple creative ways (notes, sketches, interviews, film, photography) whereby several dishes are selected, learnt by cooking with the family in their premises. The process of developing the selected projects, will be done in discussion with the other members of the collective.
Each participant will prepare a menu together with the selected family for a hosted dinner or lunch at the family’s house with public participation. Conversations will take place around that specific menu with the family, allowing for a more personal and less formal discussion, catalysing conversations that previously have been impossible. 
 
Time Line 
August 2017 Open call for participants / Selection of 5 participants, last day for submission: 31 Augest 2017, 12:00 pm, by the following email: d.abbas@qattanfoundation.org.  
September – October 2017 Bimonthly meetings/ Research /Visits/ menu design.
November 2017 Public Dinners/ Visits.
 
Application 
 
1. A letter of intent including: 1) motivation for applying, 2) interest in food culture, 3) previous experiences, and 4) ideas and points of departure in relation to the project. 
2. A short biography of about 150 words. 
3. Portrait image (300dpi).
 
Short listed applicants will be asked for an interview with a committee. Applicants who already found a family to work with are given priority. 
 
What do we offer?   
1. Research fees $1,500 to be paid in instalments for 3 months, which includes cooking experimentation with the family. 
2. Public announcement to the dinner/ ticketed (revenue will go back to the family). 
3. Small budget for the public dinner to be decided with each of the participant. 
4. Equipment for documentation during research. 
5. Publication after the end of the project.  
6. Documentation of the public dinner. 
 
 
What do we expect? 
1. Sensitivity to food, its history and culture. 
2. Commitment to the project through a binding contract. 
3. Commitment to attend the collective’s bimonthly meetings over the period between September-November. 
4. Identification of a family by mid-September.  
5. Preparation of the menu with the family by end of October.  
6. Submission of research material first week of November before public dinner.