Review of Contemporary Food Issues Symposium

On the 16th of June 2016, the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network hosted its third annual symposium. The event was the biggest BSUFN has held to date, with attendance from students, staff, and faculty across Brighton and Sussex Universities, as well as wide representation from non-academic organisations, community groups, food producers, activist networks, and other academic institutions across the UK.

The programme reflected the diversity of contemporary food issues and the prevalence of food in practice, policy and research at present. Topics addressed during the day included obesity, food poverty, international food security, novel foods and edible insects, sustainable food systems, and food manufacturing.

Presentations and the poster display triggered much discussion during the day, both in the room and online via social media.

Issues of diversity, privalege and marginalisation, and representation within the food system and academia were addressed by the keynote speaker, Dr Tom Wakeford (Coventry University), and again during other presentations including Beth Kamunge (University of Sheffield). This discussion particularly focused on the dominance of white middle-class voices within the UK food system and academia and called for the current structures to explicitly seek the involvement of those from ethnic minorities and other social classes. Perspectives of activists, researchers, and food producers were reflected in the discussion on this topic.

You can read more about Gilly Smith and Jo Rallings’ discussions surrounding the influence of TV chefs on the way we eat and Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Smart Campaign here.

The results of the poll of food issue priorities, as referred to by a number of speakers, can be found here.

Details of some of the arts and creative methods projects outlined in the poster display are available through BSUFN’s online resource on creative methods and food here.


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