Food, Drink and Social Exchange
My research on historic drinking cultures has featured in newspapers (such as The Times,Link opens in a new window The GuardianLink opens in a new window, Swiss daily Der Bund), radio interviews (on drink statistics for Voice of Russia, the 'history of the picnic' for German station SWR 2 or the FEAST! festival on BBC Radio CWR) , TV programmes (like the Australian 'Who do you think you are?' with Marta Dusseldorp, filmed at a Swiss inn), online magazines (The ConversationLink opens in a new window) and public lectures (e.g. at Saarbrücken / Germany, Budapest / Hungary, Henan University / China or a History Festival at the Warwick Arms Hotel).
I helped to found the Drinking Studies Network and edited a survey work on early modern food culture. From 2014-18, I co-hosted the 'Summer University in Food & Drink Studies' of the European Institute for the History & Cultures of Food (IEHCA) at Tours / France and, in 2021, became the academic lead of Warwick's 'Food Cultures' research priority, where we organize webinars and other outreach activities.
From November 2021 to April 2022, I co-organized the FEAST! theme in the University's Resonate Festival for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, featuring a series of Feast Food Festival videos examining celebratory dishes / drinks from the perspectives of producers, restaurateurs and researchers. A highly successful 'church ale' staged in partnership with My-Parish & St John the Baptist, Berkswell (25-26 March 2022) will be followed by the panel debate 'Rethinking Hospitality' on 20 April. The initiative attracted broad media coverage in Coventry and beyond.
I regularly address local associations like the Bishop's Tachbrook History Group (reported in the June 2014, October 2017 and May 2022 issues of the Parish Magazine), branches of the Historical Association (Coventry, Nuneaton, Winchester), Kineton & District Local History GroupLink opens in a new window, the Lyddington Manor History Society, the Stoneleigh History Society, the Warwickshire Local History SocietyLink opens in a new window and the Woodford Halse History SocietyLink opens in a new window. In October 2017, I participated in a panel discussion on the impact of the Reformation hosted by the Warwick Words Festival and, in March 2021, hosted a webinar on the evolution of the 'British Parish'.
Between 2007-9, I directed the steering committee for "Catholic Warwick", a history of the parish of St Mary Immaculate written by Ruth Barbour. At the book launch event in the social centre, I moderated a panel debate involving the author, Canon Edward Stewart, the parish priest; Michael Hodgetts, a historian of Catholicism; and Warwick professors Peter Marshall and Jack Scarisbrick (Photo left: John Mullis for the Coventry Observer).
Since 2003, I have co-ordinated the Warwick Network for Parish Research (introduced in Local History NewsLink opens in a new window), which highlights the significance of local communities, informs on related initiatives and facilitates new research well beyond the UK. An annual highlight is the 'Warwick Symposium on Parish Research' dedicated to varying themes and documented in our audiovisual resources. The tenth anniversary meeting in May 2012, 'Parish Studies Today', showcased the wide range of activities undertaken by local history societies, church conservation bodies, universities and other organizations. During the 2020-21 Covid pandemic, the 18th ('Remembering the Parish') & 19th ('Parish, Power & Politics') Symposia became virtual gatherings.
Our public face is the My-Parish community platform launched in autumn 2012, which allows anybody interested in parish history and culture to upload information on projects, resources and related activities. In July 2018, we ran an outreach event on 'Parishes & Migration' with our partner church at Berkswell near Coventry and, in November 2020, we took over the Twitter account of the Ecclesiastical History Society.