Upcoming Events

Immigration detention: Get Informed and Take Action
Tuesday 16th October, 6-8pm
Theatre A, University Place, University of Manchester

Detention and the threat of detention affects staff and students at universities in Manchester, and members of the local community. It’s time to get informed, and take action. These Walls Must Fall is a grassroots campaign to challenge immigration detention. At the University of Manchester, we are bringing together a panel of practitioners, academics and experts by experience to raise awareness of immigration detention and look at what we can do on and off campus to take action.

Speakers include:

Louise Tomkow, Researcher on Forced Migration, University of Manchester

Mariam Yusuf, Campaigner, Women Asylum Seekers Together

Dr Rebecca Farrington, Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Manchester and GP with specialism in mental health of asylum seekers

Denise McDowell, Director, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit

Tickets are free and can be reserved via Eventbrite.


The Fifth Biannual Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium: Culinary Cultures, York St John University, May 5th 2017. Organised by Sarah Lawson Welsh


The academic study of food has undoubtedly been one of the growth areas of the last twenty-five years. However, Postcolonial studies has been relatively slow to embrace the study of culinary cultures and food histories in a postcolonial context.[i]  The contemporary popularity of Food Studies, both as an area of academic enquiry and in terms of a growing audience of more general readers, is evident from the burgeoning number of publications which cross these audiences, such as those which examine single foods in their various historical, cultural and global contexts[ii]  and the growing appetite for  cookery programmes and writing.

This symposium invites papers on food and the postcolonial, across and between different disciplines, in order to make a significant contribution to this emerging strand of postcolonial food studies. Papers may, for example, consider food preparation, cooking and/or consumption in literary, filmic, sacred or visual texts, travel writing, advertising, life writing and oral histories, menus, cookbooks and cookery programmes, foodways and food histories, postcolonial ecologies and environmentalism, may focus on intergenerational differences, food memories and nostalgia or gustatory experiences and the politics of taste.

The reach of papers may be territory-specific or global and we especially welcome submissions which consider the global dimensions of food and foodways. For example, how might we map a consideration of food onto the global connectedness and globalizing processes of colonialism and decolonization? What happens when food ‘travels’, and how do transnational and/or diasporic writers negotiate their identities through and with food? How do contemporary writers and/or artists navigate tensions between the local and the global, foodways of the past and of the present and how are concepts of culinary ‘tradition’ and ‘authenticity’ articulated in their works? How do postcolonial writers on food come to writing and what is their relationship with the audiences which ‘consume’ their works?

Possible focuses for papers include:

Food and narrative

Food and identity (cultural, ethnic, caste, class and gender)

Feeding, feasting and fasting as key tropes

Food rituals and practices

Food and oral traditions

Food and social order

Food and diaspora

Food and globalization

Historical foodways

Food and colonial nostalgia

Food and the postcolonial exotic

Culinary ‘tradition’ and/or ‘authenticity’

Food and globalization

Hospitality and commensality

Food theories / food and theory

Papers will be 20 minutes long. Please submit proposals of no more than 500 words to Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh no later than 31st March 2017. Acceptance of papers will be confirmed by 7th April 2017. Successful papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of the international, peer-reviewed Journal of Postcolonial Writing on food and the postcolonial, to be edited by Sarah Lawson Welsh.

The free day symposium will include a keynote by Nick Ahad, award winning journalist, broadcaster and playwright, whose most recent play, The Chef Show, is set in a northern curry house. There will also be a Cook-up/demonstration by Keralan cook and educator, Sharmini Thomas.

Tickets are limited and can be booked via Eventbrite

[i] Some notable exceptions in the literary arena include Valerie Loichot’s 2014 Culinary Coups: The Tropics Bite Back (on Francophone Caribbean writing), Parama Roy’s 2010 Alimentary Tracts: Appetites, Aversions, and the Postcolonial  and Anita Mannur’s 2009 Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture.

[ii] See for example, Kurlansky, Salt: A World History [2003], Albala, Beans: A History [2007], Abbott, Sugar: A Bittersweet History [2010], Griffiths, Tea: A History of the Drink That Changed the World [2011], Eccott, Vanilla: Travels in Search of a Luscious Flavour [2004].

Previous Events

The Fourth Biannual Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium: Postcolonial Education, University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, June 17th 2016, co-organised by Matthew Whittle, Rachel Bower, Jonathan Saha and Emily Zobel Marshall with NPN.

The Third Biannual Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium: Asylum, Refuge, Migration, University of Manchester and University of Salford, January 29th 2016, co-organised by Jade Munslow Ong and Rena Jackson with NPN

The Second Biannual Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium on Human Rights, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, July 2nd 2015, co-organised by Veronica Barnsley and Ana María Sánchez-Arce with NPN

Inaugural Event of the Northern Postcolonial Network, Liverpool John Moores University, March 25th 2015, organised by Kate Houlden with NPN

Take a look at our symposium reports page for a write-up about these events.

Please contact us directly if you are interested in organising a symposium