The arts could be central to a more participatory approach to researching a healthier and more sustainable food system. That was the premise of this wide-ranging workshop, which addressed a need expressed by researchers on food and farming. It presented a diverse range of arts-based approaches to dialogue with communities, and methods for thinking more creatively about how to create change.
This workshop aimed to give food researchers and campaigners an opportunity to explore the potential of arts-based methods for dialogue about the food system. The facilitators have all used creative arts and participatory methods in a wide range of contexts, and our shared experiences of using them have demonstrated that, in their various forms, arts-based approaches are key to effectively exploring food issues, particularly with people whose knowledge about food has been gained through experience, rather than professional training. The purpose of this workshop was to reflect on these experiences and explore with participants how these methods might be used in the context of their work.
Participants engaged directly with the techniques being discussed, through hands-on participatory activities within the day (theatre, art/collage, photography). There was also discussion about the uses and pitfalls of the various approaches, and their relevance to food research.