Food Systems and the Arts: Re-engaging with Food is a multi-stage international project that explores the relationship between socially-engaged performance and local food production initiatives. It experiments with varied applied theatre practices to raise public awareness of the complexities of issues of food security and sustainability and to initiate public dialogue (in words and actions) leading to a re-engagement with food production and consumption from a scientifically sound starting point. Thus it seeks to influence the ways in which ordinary people understand and take responsibility for sustainable food production and consumption through access to affordable, nutritious food.
Hope is a Wooded Time, stage one of the project, began in France in 2010, as a joint project between Susan Haedicke in Theatre and Performance Studies at Warwick and Sarah Harper, Artistic Director of Friches Théâtre Urbain, a street theatre company based in Paris. This stage participates artistically in an environmental urban-agriculture initiative launched by the city of Montreuil, just outside Paris, that focuses on the Murs à Pêches.
A second stage of the project, ‘Grow Warwick: Re-engaging with Food’ is being developed as a collaboration between Theatre and Performance Studies, English, the Institute of Advanced Study, Life Sciences, Sociology, and Politics and International Studies. The aim is to develop truly interdisciplinary research that furthers our understanding of the relationship between the arts, society, food and the natural environment and that utilizes a range of research methodologies. The research methods for this project, funded for one year from July 2012 by a Warwick Research Development Fund grant, focus on practical collaborations across disciplines and practical implementation of interdisciplinary understandings of new ways of re-engaging people with food. They are based around two arts projects:
- an illustrated anthology of creative writings on the apple through history - published by Nine Arches Press.
- a performance and mapping project (with Sarah Harper, Artistic Director of Friches Théâtre Urbain) that engages the University community in imagining ‘Future Foodscapes’. An itinerary of performance installations took place in the centre of the University Campus on 17th October 2013.