A Oaxacan Immersion – “Food & Identity in Oaxaca”

Read Time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Murmur Ring curates immersive experiences and believes that the only way to connect is to disconnect. In such a digitally connected world, there is a deep need to experience things in real life, to touch things, interact, see things, and exchange ideas in the tangible world. Murmur Ring CEO Ashley Lukasik curates these immersions both for client partnerships as well as independent immersions to connect a range of partners to a commonality of a region.

One such independent immersion “Food & Identity in Oaxaca” is commencing on February 15-18, 2023, with special access rates for SEGD Members. Located in the southwest region of Mexico, Oaxaca is well-known for its mezcal, food scene and skilled artisans. Oaxaca has captured interests in the global market, yet is one of the most economically poor regions in Mexico. This diverse region has over 300 villages and different political divisions and represents a dichotomy of new money, tourism and the region’s rich resources; and indigenous communities working to make ends meet through the production of local food and goods. 

The 3-day, 4-night immersion will energize creative passions, offering an opportunity to “get back in touch with your humanity, providing a space to think and breathe,” says Lukasik. Participants will be hosted in boutique hotels and will collectively travel around in shared transportation to visit 10-12 local partners. The group will participate in a traditional Temazcal ceremony, eat and connect with contemporary food scene leaders, including Rodrigo Amaury of and the team at NOIS and the former winner of Top Chef Mexico, Rodolfo Castellanos, with whom they will shop in Central Market for ingredients to prepare a Oaxacan meal. Oaxaca artists Jaime Ruiz and Rame Cuen will facilitate a discussion about local, creative collaboration. 1050 Grados design collective will host a workshop, focused on the conversation of traditional Oaxaca ceramics. Participants will explore the legacies of iconic past Oaxacan leaders, Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo, and experience tours and tastings at local mezcal farms that implement self-sustaining models driven by indigenous communities. Conversations will evolve organically, offering rich, thoughtful and exploratory ideas to marinate throughout the immersion.

This human-centered immersion will offer insights and discussions into navigating the complexity of emerging conditions and technologies. Each participant will come to this experience with different goals in mind – for instance, perhaps an academic researcher is looking for a comparative analysis to solve similar issues in other developing countries. The big picture of the immersion experience is that it encourages participants “to think about and explore models that are more equitable and sustainable, working through one’s own privilege and positioning, and come away with experiences that have concrete reference points to offer reflection upon how one operates in the world, creating tools for equity and sustainability” says Lukasik. This immersion will encourage a critical look at how leaders and individuals choose to operate economically in different markets, offering an understanding that such rapid disruptors can change the cultural fabric of how communities operate sustainably. 

Murmur Ring’s team will document and produce content through video and photography, paired with principles and insights derived during the course of the experience. Based in Chicago, Lukasik hopes this is a starting point for more exchanges between Chicago and Oaxaca, with longer term ambitions for artists residencies. She views Murmur Ring’s role as facilitating the conditions for deeper, collective reflection on big topics. “Not only have emerging technologies changed the way we live and work, we are more acutely aware of the need for climate and social justice,” concludes Lukasik.

There is still space to attend the one-in-a-lifetime immersive travel opportunity! Visit Murmur Ring’s website for information on participating in the upcoming Immersion “Food & Identity in Oaxaca.” SEGD members get a $500 credit toward their experience tickets. Enter “SEGD500” in the discount code at checkout to redeem. Purchases can be made here

Murmur Ring is based in Chicago and founded by Ashley Lukasik. Lukasik has built her career by curating powerful experiences for organizations, focusing on human-centered design through exploring complex challenges with undefined roadmaps. Ashley Lukasik co-produced “The New Bauhaus” film in 2019, in partnership with Opendox.

All photos courtesy Dylan Chandler for Murmur Ring.