05/24/2022 – 09:35am | By: David Tisdale
USM Media and Enjoyment Arts (MEA) pupils in the Faculty of Conversation put in
the previous yr in a collaboration with college students at Thammasat College in Bangkok,
Thailand, for their output of the quick movie “The Meals That Binds: Making Cultural
Interactions Across the Table” focusing on how the preparing and enjoyment of foodstuff
can be the common denominators that bridge discrepancies in between individuals about the planet.
Variations in language, culture, political and religious beliefs might present obstacles
to creating interactions in between, say, a Hattiesburg resident and a citizen of
But a quick documentary made by pupils in The College of Southern Mississippi
(USM) University of Communications’ Media and Leisure Arts (MEA) application, in collaboration
with counterparts at a university in Thailand, intends to display its audiences that
inspite of the variations among people today all around the planet, coming collectively about a delightful
meal can bridge individuals chasms.
The “Breaking Bread Movie Task,” a collaboration between Breakthrough Now Media
and The Innovation Station at the U.S. Department of Point out, delivers film and media
creators from international and U.S. Gulf Coastline places to perform on new brief-variety
information motivated by their shared ordeals and tips. As a result of this collaborative,
creators from five U.S. states and 5 nations around the world are paired and tasked with conceptualizing
and generating a quick movie or other undertaking addressing the intersection between food stuff
insecurity, traditions, and innovation. The application culminates in a showcase of the
Mississippi/USM is partnered with Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, for their
creation “The Food That Binds: Developing Cultural Associations Across the Table”
to be screened in July at the Money Screening Series in Washington, D.C., at the
United Nations, and at consulates and associate stakeholders in the U.S. and in the
associate Asian country’s university and consulates. It will also be screened at the
Catalyst Competition in Duluth, Minnesota in September.
Reps of Breaking Bread linked with Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer, professor in
the USM University of Conversation and senior college member in its MEA plan, about
participation from her pupils for the task. They involve Zack Eddy of Petal,
Mississippi Mia Slone of Alexandria, Virginia Eli Goff of Gautier, Mississippi
and Alisia Powell of Picayune, Mississippi.
With advisement from Dr. Sheffer and her MEA school colleague Jared Hollingsworth,
these students centered their exploration on the communal facet of meals, analyzing the
dynamics of planning and interaction at mealtime through the enter of restauranters,
cooks and other culinary authorities, as nicely as ‘foodies’ from throughout the Magnolia Condition
who appreciate sharing meals with household, good friends, and even strangers.
Eddy famous how both of those cultures use lots of of the same staple foodstuff – rice, fish, and a
assortment of vegetables, as examples – in manufacturing time-honored recipes, utilizing distinct
forms of seasoning and preparing designs, in the farm-to-kitchen-to-desk method
distinctive to the communities profiled in the documentary.
“What we want to exhibit with this film is the commonality between people today, disclosed by means of
the enjoyment of preparing and taking in tasty foods, no subject wherever they are well prepared
or with whom they are shared with,” he claimed.
Goff mentioned he didn’t count on the venture to be as expansive as he initially assumed.
“I’m far more of an ‘eat-to-live’ variety of individual as opposed to the ‘live-to-eat’ people
who are passionate about meals in methods I could not understand,” he ongoing. “It wasn’t
until we begun seriously listening to other people’s perspectives on meals lifestyle –
in Mississippi as nicely as other places in the entire world – that I recognized meals plays a
major position in not only people’s personalized lives, but in creating local community as
well. In truth, it’s produced me recognize my very own loved ones far more, as I imagine back to all
the times my spouse and children would appear with each other and bond in excess of cooking.”
He reported this notion was cemented in his brain as the workforce arrived at out to area cooks
and cafe proprietors and saw how energized they had been to notify them about what they cook
and why it issues to them.
“Cooking is not only an exercise to bond around, but it is the basis for developing interactions
in Mississippi as nicely as Thailand,” Goff continued. “We all have to consume. Why not
do it collectively?”
Slone concurred. “When you sit down at the desk for a meal, you arrive to see that
you are not as diverse from people from other cultures, other sites, as you imagine,”
she mentioned. “It exhibits we’re much more alike than not.
“You put some good meals in entrance of me at the desk with other people today, and I can be
mates with anybody.”
For Powell, the challenge underscored for her what she previously recognized about how
true this dynamic is in her indigenous South. “Being ‘Southern’ suggests shut bonds, and
when we get jointly for a meal, it doesn’t make a difference about race, ethnicity, gender,
or politics, simply because we’re all spouse and children in the conclude.”
Teamwork and persistence have been precious qualities exercised by the crew in doing the job with
an additional team of pupils at an additional college midway around the earth, only a couple
of whom can discuss English. “It’s been a mastering expertise for all of us,” Dr. Sheffer
even more noted.
Dr. Edgar Simpson, director of the USM College of Interaction, praised Dr. Sheffer
for facilitating a project for her college students with such prominence in profile and arrive at.
“Our college are normally seeking chances to supply our college students with new and
unique possibilities,” Dr. Simpson ongoing. “This job is an case in point of how technology,
these kinds of as sound and video clip, transcends standard boundaries.”
Goff hopes when audiences see the team’s documentary, they occur to realize foodstuff
is “a enjoy language spanning culture.”
“Even although Mississippi and Thailand are worlds absent from every single other, and no subject
how distinctive persons appear around the globe, absolutely everyone comes together when they’re eating,”
For information about the USM University of Communication, go to https://www.usm.edu/interaction/index.php.