This is the front and back of the A4 sized card placed on the table for participants at the recently held trial night for a new project I am hoping to conduct here in brisbane. I have run similar events before, and over many years have made it a regular thing to bring people together who may not have met before for dinner at my table, where-ever I have been living at the time.
There have been numerous reasons for creating such a tradition...in part the fact I have relocated at times and wanted to foster new connections has been significant. But more than that, I think all of us have something to gain from being included in new conversations and the sharing of food and conviviality. Added to this is a deep love of shopping at markets, finding good produce and interesting tastes and exploring cuisines that celebrate seasonal produce.
As an artist many long solo hours have been dedicated to my studio and therefore the need to create occasions to enjoy with others is a priority. Cooking is a very creative endeavour in itself and with a social role. The cross-pollination that can occur at the table
also feeds wonderfully back into the studio...enriching the sense of connectedness to what is happening for others.
This is also a time for thinking hard about the future of food...not taking for granted thesource of our food and its ongoing availability and quality. Climate, water, soil, seeds are such critical political issues and these dinners will serve simultaneously as a celebration of food and focus on important related matters.
The actual conversation menu has been in large part inspired by www.oxfordmuse.com, particularly the extraordinary thinker Theodore Zeldin who founded this philanthropic organisation in Oxford in the late 1990's. He has written extensively over his long academic career, in more recent years exploring the profound importance, as he sees it, of real conversation between people of all different backgrounds, life experiences and opportunities. Social justice underpins this work, as does a strong sense of what he believes is possible when there is an increase of cooperation and ideas and opportunities fostered by true and mutual human exchange. It is definitely a view worth considering...and this project is Sophie's attempt to find a local and convivial way to further explore the various ideas mentioned. One can spend a saturday evening at home watching The Bill or relaxing (which is no doubt life-restoring at times ) ...but here is an idea that offers the creativity of good food, company, a rare opportunity for meeting at the table in a unique exchange...and who knows what new seeds will be planted!