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NSYSU uncovers community memories behind local delicacies


(Provided by Institute of Public Affairs Management) The forgotten delicacies of the countryside have become a “cookbook” of cultural stories! Institute of Public Affairs Management (IPAM) at National Sun Yat-sen University collaborated with the Nansheng Community in Cishan and uncovered the best local recipes, recorded the memories behind each dish through interviews with community figures in workshops and compiled a community culture stories “cookbook” to pass down the recipes and let more people know about the diverse culture of the community.

The team of students and teachers of IPAM held a presentation of their work, including a video, a cooking class, and a gourmet feast. Assistant Professor Cheng-Hsun Hsieh of IPAM pointed out that starting from March last year, the team has been working in Nansheng Community with the goal to preserve the memory of the multi-ethnic cuisine and engaging the young and old of the community to participate. Starting with community fieldwork, the team interviewed culinary heirs, held culinary workshops and work presentations, compiled cultural memory manuals, and filmed a documentary on community participation. The team particularly interacted with the elderly and interviewed them, not only recording the forgotten diverse local food culture but also creating a deep emotional connection with the community. Finally, the team invited the elderly to participate in the work presentation, and in this way, achieved the goal of intergenerational co-creation.

Located in the southernmost part of Cishan District, Nansheng is a multicultural community with immigrants from Dachen Islands, Minnan and Hakka people, and new immigrants. However, due to population aging and youth outmigration, part of the local culture gradually disappeared. For this reason, the faculty and students of IPAM held culture and food workshops to pass on the stories of the elderly in the community. Besides documenting traditional cultural cuisine, the team also interviewed culinary heirs and discovered many forgotten cooking tips and moving stories behind the food. IPAM student Yuan-Ting Wang said that community engagement not only enhanced students’ communication skills but also gave them practical experience in community participation and in handling paperwork, which is not something one can learn in classroom.

The cooperation between the IPAM students and Nansheng Community received the support of many resources, including the Bureau of Cultural Affairs of Kaohsiung City Government (Kaohsiung Community Development Center) and the USR project of NSYSU College of Management – Cooperative Empowerment and Extension Service. It allowed students to step into the community, experience different social situations, come into contact with local public affairs, and further accomplish fruitful results together with the community.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)
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