Projects are part of the Food Global Research Priority sub-theme, Food Systems and the Arts, which looks at the ways in which the ars can create innovative ways to re-engage people with issues around food, including sustainable production, consumption, diet and health, and food security in all its dimensions.
Hope is a Wooded Time began in 2010. It is a site-specific community theatre project with Friches Théâtre Urbain based on the restoration and preservation of an ancient woodland in Montreuil, near Paris, France. Through community talks, open days with artistic installations, guided walks and conservation efforts, the project seeks to interrogate and animate contemporary and local experiences of the wood and its edible plants, and to valorise biodiversity and the cultural diversity of the local community who are ethnically diverse group of long-established families and recent immigrants.
Grow Warwick is a collaborative interdisciplinary research project between Theatre, English, the Institute of Advanced Study, the School of Life Sciences, Sociology and Politics and International Studies. Grow Warwick seeks to develop interdisciplinary research to better understand the relationship between the arts, society, food and the natural environment. It seeks new ways of re-engaging people with food production and consumption. The Grow Warwick launch event in October 2013 used the arts to imagine what growing local might mean in the West Midlands. It explored ways in which the arts can be used to increase public knowledge about food production and to encourage a change in attitude and behaviour around food issues.
Grow Warwick used the university campus as a model to imagine how a community might sustain local food production using a series of performance installations created by staff, students and local artists. Community volunteers were on hand to discuss questions about food production in the West Midlands, such as 'What does growing local mean in the West Midlands?', 'Where could we produce more food?', 'What are some of the other ways we could imagine growing food?'
Creative Spaces is a sub-theme of the Sustainable Cities Global Research Priority which explores the relationship between the arts and sustainable urban futures. The research has two main strands: the role of the arts in developing sustainable cities and Venice and Sustainability. Creative Spaces is part of the AHRC-funded network Making Sense of Sustainability based at Cardiff University. Led by Dr Nicolas Whybrow, the sub-theme group hosted a roundtable event on 'Artists' Plans for Sustainability' to accompany an exhibition at the Mead Gallery (June 2013) where contemporary artists proposed a range of solutions to issues such as the waste and exploitation in the textile industry, the hostility of the built environment to more sustainable behaviours, political divisions, food waste and the social and economic problems of Venice, a city faced with a binary catastrophe of rising sea levels and sinking land.
Dr Whybrow's broader research interests lie in site-specific practices and the relationship between performance and the city. His most recent publication Performing Cities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) is an edited collection of contributions from scholars and artists exploring different approaches to writing the performing city. Dr Whybrow has been invited to deliver a number of public keynote speeches including a keynote talk on public art in Turku, Finland, January 2012 to mark the conclusion of the city's shared role with Tallinn, Estonia as the European Capital of Culture in 2011. Other papers at public art events in major European cities include Belgrade, Copenhagen and Cologne.