A new project by the British Library is calling out for British-Caribbean food stories as a way of exploring the cultural, social and political history of the Caribbean people in the context of the British experience. The project is launched by the Eccles Centre and is called Caribbean Foodways at the British Library.
Food has often been a battleground for survival, culture, home-making and resistance. A critical roadmap for understanding histories and experiences of migration, Caribbean Foodways at the British Library aims to explore and highlight these histories in a collaborative way, through conversation and exchange. In recognition of food’s vital place in community and struggle, this project seeks to listen to and learn from people's stories.
The project rides a wave of new interest in British migrant history, and Caribbean history in particular, through films like Steve McQueen’s Mangrove (2020), and increased demand for collectable food items linked to Caribbean culture.
The British Library will mine its considerable collection of food-related Caribbean artefacts, manuscripts, printed books, newspapers, magazines, sound recordings and oral histories to create a series of collaborative projects together with community leaders.
Community members are being encouraged to get involved by sharing their personal memories and stories through interviews that will be collected in the Library’s sound archive, where they will be kept forever.
Want to get involved? Here’s how
You can put yourself forward for interview. You can go through your memorabilia and see if there are any interesting food-related items – photographs, cookbooks or packaging that might be of interest. You are invited to research the British Library Online Catalogue and see if there are any items that have particular meaning to you. You may also help to expand the collections if you have noticed something missing from the Library's catalogue.
If you’d like to put yourself forward to be interviewed, please send an email with some information about yourself and why you would like to share your story about Caribbean food with the British Library. Send your statement of around 250 words to [email protected] by 5pm on Sunday 28 February 2021.