Using the Arts for Food Research and Dialogue
MetadataShow full item record
This Briefing Paper is intended to share ideas and learning arising from the authors’ experiences of using arts-based methods in food research and engagement, as well as to give some insights into the issues that arose from a workshop for academics and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) developed by Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) and hosted by the Food Research Collaboration (FRC) in 2016. It examines the use of participatory and community-centred approaches to explore pressing food policy questions, as well as providing guidance on how to apply these methods in practice. It is intended to be relevant to academics, particularly those interested in using participatory action research methods, and CSOs working with community groups on food issues. The authors’ main interest is the way in which arts-based methods provide a set of tools which can reveal, and give voice to, perspectives on food issues which remain otherwise absent from research and policy debates. In the authors' experience, this happens either because community members are not asked for their views or because of the way in which much traditional/positivist/biomedical academic research is based around pre-determined research questions that do not provide adequate space for community members to explore and voice their own concerns. It could be said that to date, much food research has failed to meaningfully engage with the general public, both during the research process itself and in raising awareness and achieving changes in the food system, which the research evidence indicates needs to happen. The paper firstly outlines why food research is a necessary and important area of exploration. Following this it examines the development, lineage and underlying principles of participatory and arts-based methodologies as approaches to research. Three arts-based and participatory methods are then reviewed in greater detail: i. Photography and film ii. Drama, and iii. Collage. These three methods were the focus of the BSUFN/FRC workshop in 2016. For each of these three examples, theoretical and methodological implications and ethical issues are discussed, enabling readers to fully consider how and why they might apply these approaches. In reviewing these emerging and alternative approaches for engaging communities in research processes, this paper presents a consideration of ideas, narratives, positions and actions relating to food, research and knowledge construction. The authors believe this paper to be an important addition to debates around how arts based and participatory methods might improve the processes, impact and contribution of food research. The paper presents a collaborative effort between academics, researchers and civil society organisations (CSOs) all of whom are concerned with improving research, learning and engagement in relation to food. The paper concludes with recommendations and suggestions on how academics and CSOs might use these methods as part of their research and/or practice.
Place of Publication
The following license files are associated with this item: