The Immigration Museum has played host to a feast of culture over the past year, bringing together migrant cuisine and culture through its innovative North South Feast West program.
The ongoing program, launched in January of 2015, has seen a number of food festivals take over the museum’s courtyard focusing on the intrinsic collaboration of food and culture. The program is based on the idea that, just as migrants come from all over the world to Melbourne, so too do their traditions and cuisines. A number of one-day festivals and workshops have made up the North South Feast West season, each dedicated to a different food.
There have been festivals focussed on chocolate, chilli and coffee and tastings of Japanese sake and Belgian beer, in amongst cocktail and Mexican Day of the Dead workshops. These events brought together social enterprise with local vendors and migrant communities, sharing and communicating through the exchange of food.
In addition to festivals and workshops, the program also included a Friday Night Cantina over the summer period. The cantina, presented in association with PBS FM, featured a bar and food pop-ups set to the beats of a line-up of DJs.
Next on the agenda for the North South Feast West program will be a special Brew Fest held in the courtyard on Sunday, June 19. The Brew Fest event will bring together ancient infusions and contemporary concoctions in an aim to “extract the flavours of the world”. Visitors will be able to explore the origins of traditional beverages from around the world through tastings and talks by stallholders from various cultural backgrounds.
The North South Feast West program runs alongside a number of dedicated and daily exhibitions currently showing at the museum. Special exhibitions currently showing include Vietnamese in Australia, which takes an in-depth look at the migration story of Australia’s first wave of Vietnamese migrants, 40 years on from resettlement and explores the concept of cultural identity from the perspective of young Vietnamese-Australians; and From Volcanoes we Sailed, which celebrates the Aeolian community of Victoria, a migrant group hailing from the volcanic archipelago of the Mediterranean.
There is also a highlights tour run daily by Immigration Museum staff, set in Old Customs House in Flinders St. The tour is a great way to see the best of the museum and discover unheard migration stories. Be sure to call ahead to confirm, as tours are subject to change and cancellation. Group bookings are essential.
The Immigration Museum is an autism-friendly museum, sharing social scripts on their website that are designed to assist families and teachers who are visiting with children on the autism spectrum. The scripts include photographs to show children what they will encounter during a visit to the Immigration Museum. A sensory friendly museum map is also available via the website, detailing high and low sensory areas so visits can be planned ahead.
Located at 400 Flinders St, the Immigration Museum is open daily from 10am until 5pm. Concession and children visit the museum free and general admission adult tickets are $14. Visit www.museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum for more information or contact 13 11 02.