The Kitchen consists of various inclusive programmes. It is dedicated to unusual fusions of music, cuisine, art and activism and creates a platform for exchanging ideas, habits and preconceived notions.
Although it will not present its extensive culture and arts programme until next year, this European Capital of Culture flagship has actually been active since 2017, when the inaugural Porto Etno World Music and Gastro Festival took place and Migrants Day was celebrated.
The Kitchen is thematically focused on minorities and it includes and celebrates various minority cultures and subcultures: national, ethnic, religious, gender, minorities in terms of physical or mental diversity, age and lifestyle.
From Rijeka to the European Union – diversity as a bridge
Rijeka carries the title of European Capital of Culture with the slogan “Port of Diversity”, which best describes the spirit of an open-minded, multicultural and tolerant city, all values that provide a basis for the Kitchen of Diversity programme. This Kitchen allows the Romani people and individuals with developmental disabilities to become mentors at workshops and actors on the stage of the national theatre, respectively. The cultural programme of this flagship aims to send a message of unity, solidarity and mutual respect to the world, as well as to remind the citizens of Croatia of the unassailable truth that diversity connects people instead of separating them.
The Kitchen of Diversity programme also tackles the issue of migration. As we witness an increasing number of people leaving our homeland, as well as the arrivals of others who will become our new neighbours, the Kitchen of Diversity places migration as a global phenomenon at the forefront, explores it and addresses its consequences. For example, in this segment of the Rijeka – European Capital of Culture programme, members of Rijeka’s national minority associations will dance, sing and prepare their national specialities for their fellow townspeople and visitors to Rijeka, while at the same time the programme will discuss Afrofuturism as a political and cultural movement that centres on migrations of the African-American people caused by colonialism.
However, the topics of migration, minorities and activism are not universal to Rijeka, Croatia or the region – even the EU motto “United in Diversity” places emphasis on communities teeming with diverse cultures, nations and languages, which is why it is safe to say that the Kitchen of Diversity flagship is as much European and global as it is local.
The audience have had a chance to attend the majority of the programmes taking place in 2020 as part of the Kitchen of Diversity during the pre-programme phase. These include the following: the Porto Etno World Music and Gastro Festival, the Festival of the European Short Story, Migrants Day, Minority Literatures Revue, Smoqua – Festival of Feminist and Queer Culture, RoUm and the Fifth Ensemble. All these programmes will be expanded and extended in 2020, the year of celebration, with the addition of a new programme One City: One Goal – European Capitals of Culture Cup, as well as the Football Chant Concert and the Hay Festival.