The Chapel Hill Public Library hosted an opening reception for its new multimedia exhibit, "Old Dishes, New Dreams," on Oct. 14.
The multilingual exhibit is a collaboration with the Refugee Community Partnership and features the stories of 14 local chefs from seven language communities.
“Our role in community history is to work with people whose stories are traditionally left out of the narrative,” Molly Luby, the community history director for the Chapel Hill Public Library, said.
The exhibit consists of videos and photos of each chef sharing a dish from their culture, with interviews that prompted stories about their family and home. The videos were recorded in each chef's native language, and participants received stipends for their efforts.
In addition to English, the exhibit includes displays written in Burmese, Chin, Karen, Swahili, Kurmanji, French and Spanish.
“Almost 20 percent of the people in Chapel Hill are foreign-born and speak languages other than English,” Luby said.
The library partnered closely with RCP to plan the opening event and the exhibit itself. The exhibit is available to visitors during the library’s open hours until the end of November, as well in a digital version on the Chapel Hill Community History Website.
RCP is a grassroots organization that connects with migrant and refugee populations throughout central North Carolina. They provide a wide range of assistive services, including a variety of strategies to tackle language barriers without losing non-English languages.
Their program coordinator, Paw Paw Wei, recruited the chefs. RCP also provided translators throughout the production and at the reception.