We are MA Interior Design graduates from the University of East London (2019/20). During this year we explored contemporary themes based on current global political-economic, social and cultural transitions in a period known as various
aliases: late-capitalism, postmodernity, neoliberalism and globalisation.
We designed a portable kitchen as a space of opportunity for asylum seekers which would also help the integration process through participation and empowerment. The charity organisation Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS) holds weekly workshops and advice sessions at St Mary Newington Church located in Kennington, London. Aiming to gather people from different backgrounds and addressing the elemental theme: Food. Unlike the other two centres that SDCAS use, St Mary Newington doesn’t have a kitchen so the charity cannot offer the free shared lunches here that they would like to.
The portable kitchen is transportable/mobile and could adapt to different situations. It could be packed away or be closed during mass, open up and be functional for use during shared lunches, and also pack down to be moved out of the church (considering doorways) and into a Luton van so that it could also be used elsewhere, potentially as a business opportunity for people once they have been granted refugee status. By considering nationalities and cultural background we pushed the conventional boundaries and explored the opportunities and activities this particular social space could generate to enhance the sense of belonging for Asylum seekers. This portable/nomadic Kitchen could also be a pilot programme for future alternatives.
These are unprecedented times but together, we are stronger, and the response is coming from communities across the country. Volunteer groups are springing up to tackle the logistical problems faced in our communities – but they need urgent support. That's where we come in.