What’s in a pierogi? And what happens, if you decide to use the pierogi as a tool of cultural and social intervention in a city like Salford?
In April 2016, Kush Chottera, Ellada Titane, Hannah Wadle, Vanitha Naik, and Yollande Safii from Europia Manchester created “Europia’s Pierogi Academy” as part of the NHS-funded “Over-55 Salford Slavic and Baltic Stories” project. It was inspired by the successful Levenshulme social enterprise “Heart and Parcel”. The key idea was to get people from Salford, particularly those with a Baltic and Slavic heritage over 55, engaged over Eastern European dumpling making and discuss their ideas of wwell-being and share their stories.
The project turned out to be experimental in that we tipped into different cultural communities and engaged in very different ways with the subject. We began by inviting Polish-speakers to cook pierogi into Europia’s studio space in Islington Mill, with some successes. We then started travelling with the pierogi and sharing knowledge about Central and Eastern European heritage and cuisine with Salford citizens who are already organized in groups or who we could meet in public: we gave pop-up cookery demonstrations in Eccles Town Hall, in Age UK Salford, and in Salford Shopping Centre. The project could be continued: we have several invitations to demonstrate pierogi making around Salford. And the handful of interested people with Central and Eastern European heritage are growing into a group who we could meet up with on a regular basis in the future.
This page introduces the exhibition that was initiated by Kush Chottera and created by Hannah C. Wadle in collaboration with Ellada Titane and Monika Titane. The exhibition was first displayed at Eccles Town Hall on 30th July 2016. It is available to be further exhibited as a whole or in pieces on request. It displays visual, written, and artistic fieldnotes from the project and from beyond. They relate to the overarching theme of belonging, heritage, and encounter. The exhibition shows different strands of engagement that making pierogi awakened within our team and amongst the participants during the project. Pierogi and pierogi making appear as carriers of cultural values and heritage, as places to express craft, emotion, and creativity, as places of intercultural encounter, as metaphorical vehicles to express social critique, and as tool for artistic interventions. But discover the mysteries of pirogi making for yourself.
Hannah C. Wadle, Manchester, 27th July 2016.
Observational Project Film
As part of the project we also took filmic fieldnotes. Follow the link to view a short observational ethnographic film by H. Wadle about Ellada Titane’s pierogi making demonstration in Eccles Town Hall in July 2016.