Research

Dr Noëlle Janaczewska

The Powerhouse Research Fellowship

March 2022

Project Title: Lessons in Eating for Migrants

Noëlle Janaczewska
Image: Dr Noëlle Janaczewska.

Teaching migrants the Australian way to eat was a challenging job – according to a 1949 newspaper article. Authorities at the reception camp were trying to wean the newcomers from their goulash. How did those postwar refugees and displaced persons from continental Europe, Ten Pound Poms and other migrants deal with the Australian menu? How did their recipes, their market gardens, their ideas about cooking and eating change Australian foodways? And in return, how did Australian produce and attitudes towards food modify those migrants’ culinary practices?

Stroganoff. Schnitzels. Strudels. Stories filled with poppy seeds and smudged with buttery fingerprints. The dishes we chose and serve offer insights beyond the kitchen. Lessons in Eating for Migrants takes an inventive, interdisciplinary approach to Powerhouse collections and resources. Noëlle Janaczewska will use her dramatist’s skills to animate the archive and communicate her findings in engaging and performative ways. Chasing down obscurities, shedding new light on the familiar, her research looks at how post-war migration shaped Australia’s tastes, and suggests ways we might add some more missing voices to the archive.

Dr Noëlle Janaczewska is a playwright, poet, essayist and the author of The Book of Thistles (UWA Publishing) and the collection Scratchland (UWA Publishing Poetry Series). Much of her writing deals with history’s gaps and silences, focusing on people, places and events overlooked or marginalised in official records. The recipient of multiple awards, including the 2020 NSW Premier’s Digital History Prize and a Windham-Campbell Prize from Yale for her body of work as a dramatist, Noēlle is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland.

More information about Noëlle Janaczewska’s writing and research can be found on her website.

Photograph of Sydney cafe interior, espresso coffee machine. Powerhouse Collection
Black and white photograph of George’s Restaurant/Cafe Espresso, Double Bay. Photo by A L Guildford, Sydney, 1958. Interior design by Hungarian brothers Imre Soos and Gyula Soos.