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Identifying the cultural connections different cultures share through the artefact of food

Keywords: cultural connections, heritage, food, artefact, living histories, global perspectives

Aims and Rationale

In this activity, students will identify the cultural connections different cultures share through the artefact of food. Using their own heritage as a base, students will use research, history, and oral recollections to explore the global links hidden in heritage based foods and traditions. In using this activity, you can

  • Provide students with an opportunity to establish a deeper appreciation for their and other cultural legacies.
  • Enable students to develop in depth research skills using local and international oral histories.
  • Enable students to integrate different global perspectives into their personal narrative and collective narrative of culture and identity.
  • Build upon prior knowledge of presentation and develop student’s professional presentation skills using enhanced digital knowledge.

Learning Outcomes and Associated Areas of Knowledge

  • Identify the cultural and geographical links between different artefacts of heritage.
  • Understand the effects of colonialism on cultural identity and heritage.
  • Build links between unknown shared histories and identities.
  • Gather a more globalized perspective of tradition, heritage, and food.

21st Century skills

  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Self-Direction
  • Global and Local Connections
  • Technological Fluency
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Flexibility and Adaptability



  • Printed World Map
  • Different Color Push Pins
  • Different Color Twine or String

As students present their findings, they will place their country of origin onto the map using a coloured pushpin to indicate the start of the dish and use the string to connect it to all of the different continents and countries across the world. By the end of the presentations, a map of cultural connections will be created to help visually communicate the impact of the lesson.

How to

Students will conduct research derived from a food item or dish from their personal heritage and create both a digital presentation and written analysis of their findings. They will interrogate current theories on identity, geography, and expression to explore research-using presentations to compile a research dossier, which supports digital work in either electronic or paper format.

This lesson builds upon students understanding of their own personal heritage to communicate, interpret, and educate themselves and others about the links between different cultures around the world using traditional foods as a base. Students are to use recipes, interviews done with family and friends, and members of different communities to visually communicate the threads of connection found through their research. This is ever so important in educational institutions that are becoming places of learning without borders. As we must prepare students to be a part of a more globalized workforce, understanding the shared commonalities between ourselves and those around us with different but similar cultures is imperative to building a better world with tolerance and acceptance. Using food as a conduit, this activity or lesson will prepare students to understand and adapt to environments of culture outside of their own in safe and experimental learning environment that enables growth and communication across cultures and generations.

To begin, students will need to choose any cultural dish from their heritage and research the history, origin, different regional variations of the dish, geographical locations it is made, and the way in which the dish has been taught throughout the generations. This research must be compiled into an ongoing research dossier to be handed in along with the written research paper and digital presentation.

Students from beginner to advanced levels  can participate in this activity and should be introduced the concept at the beginning of the course as it is used to help build cultural tolerance. As this is a very cultural and liberal arts based lesson, it will fit well within subjects such as International Politics, Culture and Identity, and even within the Fine and Performing Arts, but should not be limited to such as this course is helpful to expand understanding about borders, heritage, identity, and tradition.



This lesson is recommended for teachers with class sizes of thirty or less, although groups can be formed based off similar regional traditional food choices for larger size classes.

It is very important that students are given enough freedom to explore, but given clear instructional parameters to complete the assignment.

Assessment for Learning

Assessment could be based on both a digital presentation using variations of video, prezi, or virtual presentation boards along with a 6000 word research essay incorporating a research dossier of recipes, pictures, audio interviews and traditional transcripts.

Brief example of the completed lesson for identifying the cultural connections different cultures share through the artefact of food

Students should be given a set list of research questions that must be answered in their presentation and research paper from the list provided below.

  • History
  • Origin
  • Different regional variations of the dish,
  • Geographical locations
  • How has the dish has been passed down generation to generation


Research Dossier: This should include but is not limited to the following: (Roughly 2,000 words)

  • Recipes
  • Audio and Transcribed Interviews
  • Maps
  • Pictures
  • Ingredient explanations

Digital Presentation: This should include but is not limited to the following:

  • Powerpoint
  • Prezi
  • Video
  • Food coupled with audio histories

Research Paper: Elements should include the following:

  • Personal Reflection Portion
  • History
  • Origin
  • Geographical Locations
  • New Information learned about cultural dish
  • Names for the Cultural dish
  • Qualitative Analysis of Audio Research

Please rate this activity:

Further reading

Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage (Heritage, Culture and Identity) 1st Edition by Ronda L. Brulotte, Michael A. Di Giovine

Food, Self, and Identity  By Claude Fischler

Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (Heritage Matters)  by Michelle L. Stefano, Peter Davis, Gerard Corsane

The Story of Food: An Illustrated History of Everything We Eat, Giles Coren Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse (Media in Transition)  by Fiona Cameron

Hilali Community Contributions

The activity in this section was  co-created by teachers, students, researchers, academics and others interested in developing tools for those working in Higher Education and Cultural Heritage. To make the activity, the Hilali Toolkit Learning Designer was used. If you are interested in contributing activities, please use our learning designer or contact us.

Creator of ‘Cultural Connections’:

Beatrice Carey (Senior Inclusive Curriculum Consultant, Kingston University, UK)

Beatrice Carey is an African American contemporary visual artist and art researcher completing her MFA in Fine Art at Kingston University. Her work centers around equity in society, a desire for a deeper understanding of the cultural aesthetic standards that shape our perceptions of African Americans and their relation to black representation and attainment in education, with particular focus to the arts. She is currently a Senior Curriculum Consultant for Kingston University’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Centre where she helps implement the Inclusive Curriculum Framework through the Curriculum Consultancy program.