Confronting the climate on Manchester’s Curry Mile

SCI Researchers Zarina Ahmad and Sherilyn MacGregor held the highly successful event ‘Mangoes, meat and motors: confronting the climate on Manchester’s Curry Mile’ as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

A group of people having a discussion

The purpose of the event held at the Whitworth Art Gallery on 8th November was to have a community-facing, friendly and generative discussion about how to make the Curry Mile a place that serves people and the environment better.

The ideas shaping the event emerged from the Leverhulme-funded project ‘Towards Inclusive Environmental Sustainabilities (TIES)’, which aims, among other things, to challenge the dominant Western conceptions of sustainability that inform socio-environmental policies and research and to explore how Global South immigrant knowledges and practices contribute to socially just and sustainable urban environments in the UK.

About 50 people attended, joining first to view an exhibition of 24 photos submitted by local people over food and drink. After the exhibition came some introductory remarks by Dr Safina Islam (Head of the AIURRRC) and Zahid Hussain (writer and Manchester City Councillor for Levenshulme). Attendees participated in a ‘World Café’ facilitated by Zarina, guided by the question: how does life, work and play on the Curry Mile help and/or hurt the environment?  From the answers generated by the small group discussion, the team will produce a short report that combines TIES research with insights and photos from a diversity of local people.

It was encouraging that, in addition to local residents, the event was attended by businesspeople, grassroots activists, and ten councillors and officers of MCC. The photos were scored by three independent judges, Jenna Ashton, Zahid Hussain and Qaisra Shahraz MBE. The event received funding from the UoM ESRC Festival team and the SCI.  Donations were received from two both long established businesses on the Curry Mile: £300 worth of gift vouchers as prises for the top three photos from My Lahore and of enough assorted Mithai to feed tables from Sanam Restaurant and Sweet Centre.

Thanks to colleagues who gave their time and support to make the event a success: Nathalie Perl, Catherine Walker, Udeni Salmon, Ulrike Ehgartner, Stan Wiltshire, Milad Aghazedeh, and Magdalena Rodekirchen.