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MICA Awards Conflict Kitchen Founders 2017 Steinmetz Residency

Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski will visit campus for a public lecture on April 19 to discuss their work with the restaurant.

Posted 04.04.17

MICA is pleased to announce Pittsburgh-based artists and Conflict Kitchen co-founders and co-directors Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski as this year's Wm. O. Steinmetz '50 Designers-in-Residence. The weeklong residency begins April 17, and includes classroom discussions with students, studio visits and a public lecture on their work with Conflict Kitchen.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and will take place Wednesday, April 19, 7 p.m., at Falvey Hall.

Conflict Kitchen is a restaurant that serves cuisines from countries currently in diplomatic or armed conflict with the United States. Using the social relations of food and eating as a means of understanding, Conflict Kitchen engages the public beyond polarizing political rhetoric to encourage cultural exchange and dialogue. The restaurant's design identity and menu rotates regularly in relation to changing geopolitical events.

"Conflict Kitchen provides a forum for critical dialogue, challenging xenophobia by supporting voices less heard and cultures less considered in the United States. We develop spaces for empathy and action that build a greater sense of curiosity and understanding in American life," said Rubin and Weleski in a joint statement.

Most recently, the project served traditional cuisine from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy, which is a league of six indigenous nations located primarily in upstate New York and western Pennsylvania.

Past examples of food cultures served by Conflict Kitchen include Iranian, Afghan, Venezuelan, North Korean and Palestinian.

"The project operates like an open public lab, in constant conversation with the communities we represent and serve. Being open every single day and moving through so many different iterations of the project, we've accumulated a diverse network of audiences and participants worldwide," Rubin and Weleski continued.

Named after the late MICA alumnus, faculty member and longtime trustee William Steinmetz (1927 - 2016), the Wm. O. Steinmetz '50 Designer-in-Residence program was established in 2009 to enhance MICA's design culture by bringing outstanding practitioners to campus to share their valuable experiences and perspectives with students, faculty and the public. The residency was created thanks to an endowment fund established by Steinmetz's spouse, Betty Cooke '46 (Art Education), as well as gifts from others in honor of him.

Past Steinmetz Residency recipients include Richard Niessen, Chip Kidd, Karin Fong and Cameron Sinclair, among others.

For more information about Conflict Kitchen, visit conflictkitchen.org.

This page was last updated on 04/24/2017.