Exploration of how arts intervention and cultural engagement can help address food, food poverty, and sustainable communities.
Full project details
Full project title: Foodscapes
Duration: January 2013 until September 2013
Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Connected Communities
Project leader for SPE: Michael Buser
Other UWE researchers, Research partners/collaborators:
- Emma Roe, University of Southampton
- Liz Dinnie, James Hutton Institute
- Roz Hall, Knowle West Media Centre
- Melissa Mean, Knowle West Media Centre
- Paul Hurley, artist
- Knowle West Media Centre
- The Matthew Tree Project
- Edible Landscapes Movement
Foodscapes was an AHRC Connected Communities project (2013) that explored the use of art as a way of opening up discussion about food. Participants in the project included Knowle West Media Centre, The Matthew Tree Project (TMTP), the Edible Landscapes Movement (ELM), UWE Bristol, University of Southampton, the James Hutton Institute and Paul Hurley (artist-in-residence). Together, we explored how arts intervention and cultural engagement can help address food, food poverty, and sustainable communities.
As co-designed action research, the project also examined how arts intervention can enhance interchange between community organisations and research institutions. Throughout Foodscapes there was an attempt to integrate the research questions, arts programming and evaluative activities into the actual process of the work, so that these activities could become entwined and, it is hoped, more meaningful for all involved.
Roe, E & Buser, M (minor amendments) Becoming ecological citizens: connecting people through performance, art, food, matter and politics. Cultural Geographies
Buser, M. et al (2013) Foodscapes, Discussion Paper for the AHRC Connected Communities programme. Available at the project website
The report includes a number of findings and recommendations. We’ve highlighted a couple of findings related to art/food and research.
Coming together around food, art and research
The potential of food (given the common, shared and familiar nature of food preparation and consumption) to open up a dialogic space that is shared and familiar but also potentially radical is something that could be usefully explored further. The power and potential of art processes and integrated evaluation approaches and the mechanisms they might provide for ensuring an equality of exchange and input as well as creative forms of documenting that exchange and input, are also worthy of further exploration.
Using key research skills
We found that while is it critical to engage community partners from the start, there remains an important role for researchers to engage and learn about the community with which they are working. This means exploring and valuing ‘traditional’ data collection methods which can provide background information and contribute to the refinement of research and engagement strategies. Of course, these practices should be transparently embedded within an overall participatory process.
For further information on the project, please e-mail Michael Buser (Michael.Buser@uwe.ac.uk) or Emma Roe (E.J.Roe@soton.ac.uk).