Meeting Minutes

This page contains the meeting minutes from BSUFN organisational meetings with the most recent meeting notes at the top.

Notes from BSUFN steering group meeting on 26th October 2016

Present: Abigail by Skype, Dipak, Durwin, Carol, Jenny, Peter, Rachael D. by Skype, Rachael T., Ruth

Apologies: Caroline, Harvey, Pedram

Changing roles among the steering group

Rachael D. was welcomed back to the steering group after maternity leave, and Jenny Constantine was welcomed as a new member.

We noted that Ruth is leaving Sussex in December, and Rachael T. in February. There are a number of areas of work which therefore need to be taken on by others. These include the communication tasks needed to keep the Network going and to maintain its profile. These are:

  • Updating the website and keeping it interesting
  • Answering emails
  • Keeping the membership database up to date
  • Twitter / Facebook

Other jobs include organising events and meetings – see notes below.

We discussed how to keep the website going. Suggestions included:

  • Asking members to write blogs, e.g. active members offer to write one per year
  • Finding a student who would be willing to manage it
  • Asking members how they use it, how they would like to use it and ensuring members are aware of its impact
  • Asking the IDS nutrition group to engage more with the site e.g. enabling re-posts
  • Encouraging members to write book reviews
  • Identifying a small number of active members who could write one blog a year each

Abigail and Jenny agreed to take on managing the website. Peter agreed to act as a book review editor. Rachael T. will support the handover process.

BSUFN Three year proposal

A draft had been circulated in August, but had been put on hold while various possible research funding opportunities were explored. It seems extremely unlikely that any admin / Network support funding will come from any of those proposals, so it was agreed to pursue the proposal to SPRU / BMEc again. The current draft needs trimming and structuring. It was suggested that we could ask members what they see the value of the network to be, to strengthen our case. It was agreed to recirculate it and get comments from steering group members by the end of next week. It was agreed that we should ask for advice from Marion Clark in SPRU and/or Caroline Grundy in SSRP. It was agreed that Ruth would send it round and talk to Marion, Rachael T. and Jenny would work on the draft on 18th November, with the aim to submit it to SPRU by the end of November and hopefully get some sort of response by the end of the year.

Research projects and funding opportunities

Rachael D reported on the bid for SSRP funding, which she had circulated in draft form before the meeting. Responses so far had indicated that the research angle was unlikely to fit with SSRP priorities and that funding was unlikely to be available for developing Network capacity in the way we would like to. Funding might be available for a post-doc position focussed on specific research goals, but with little networking, engagement or impact elements. Similarly the Researcher Development Fund did not look positive, and Rachael D. does not have the capacity to work on a proposal for it.

Jenny asked about the possibility of the Network being included in other proposals as a disseminator of research outputs / as the body delivering engagement and impact.

We discussed funding options at Brighton. Abigail noted that universities are very unwilling at the moment to fund any admin staff and it is very difficult to get official recognition as a research centre. She agreed to talk again to Julie Doyle to see if there are any possibilities of e.g. access to admin staff time. Rachael T. suggested it might be worth approaching people in Brighton who had supported events in the past e.g. Andrew Church – via Harvey?

ISSC project: Rachael T. reported that BSUFN is hosting the workshops associated with this STEPS project, which is an opportunity to raise our profile and reach new people. Rachael D. felt that we should be making much more of our involvement in this, highlighting our in-kind contribution and our pivotal role in the project’s design and development. An impact story like this is important for funding.

Food access and food poverty project: Rachael T. reported that funding has still not been secured for this, but there is a great deal of interest from BHFP and other civil society members of the Network, so it is really important for us to find funding for it. We discussed possible synergies with work in Brighton Uni, including in the Centre for Education, in the Social Science dept and through Harvey’s connections with people working on food banks in Eastbourne. Rachael T. to send round the details to Jenny, Carol, Harvey, Vicki Johnson and set up a meeting, including with the Sussex fundraising team who have supported the process so far.

Events for 2016/17

Photography and food workshop at Brighton Students’ Union: Rachael T. is running this event in November. Carol asked to be involved. We discussed possibilities of working more with Brighton SU and their sustainability officer. We need to find someone able to talk at an event they are organising in March 2017. Rachael T. to put Carol in touch with the SU.

We discussed events at Brighton SU around the sugar tax. The SU is holding a referendum on whether the SU should increase the cost of sugary drinks. It has the potential to become a big issue locally and nationally, and the person campaigning against the tax has done a lot of publicity and is interested in using this to launch their own political career. We discussed how to counter their arguments and what media to use. Carol will send further information to us all, for circulation around the Network and to ask for support from BHFP, members and others.

Reading groups: it was agreed that we should plan for one in December and one in January. It was agreed that trying to organise them by topic hadn’t really worked. Rachael T. will email members for suggestions of articles.

Seminar series 2017: The seminar series in 2016 was very well received and we have had offers of speakers for another one. However, we do not have any money to pay for travel or other costs, and we also cannot guarantee an audience if we run seminars independently. We agreed to run a series based on seminars already taking place within departments / courses i.e. BSUFN will take its seminar series to you, we will integrate your seminar into our series and therefore give it wider coverage, a bigger audience. This will involve asking members to nominate a seminar they are already planning that would fit into a BSUFN seminar series.

Annual symposium 2017: Rachael T. felt that having the Symposium at the end of the academic year meant that we were not able to capitalise on the ideas, connections and energy that arose from it, and suggested holding it in January or February. We discussed funding options and agreed to charge people £10 to attend. Carol will find out if there is any possibility of free conference facilities from Brighton, including catering. Rachael T. will send round a doodle poll to select a date in February.


As this was Ruth’s last meeting, she was thanked for her work with BSUFN.

Next meeting:

10am on Wednesday the 1st of February 2017 (which will be Rachael T.’s last meeting).


Notes from BSUFN Steering Group Meeting 4th May 2016

Present: Peter, Ruth, Carol, Harvey, Rachael T.

Apologies: Abigail and Durwin.

  • Annual Symposium
    1. Updates on arrangements (rooms, facilities, funding) – Harvey and Rachael

We currently have two rooms booked in Checkland Building (Brighton Falmer campus). Each room has a capacity of 50. Last year, with 80 people registered, we had an attendance of over 60. We felt that if we have parallel sessions we would need attendance of more than 50 to ensure good sized audiences in both rooms. During the meeting Carol checked the capacity of other rooms in the building and it was agreed we would try to book a larger room for the plenary sessions.

We currently have £1410 funding offered from various sources but the stripped-back budget is still £1570. Rachael and Ruth were advised to apply to the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account fast track funding at Sussex to gain more funding for the symposium. If this application is successful it would cover the shortfall and allow the additional expenses which have currently been cut from the budget. Harvey said that COSTALS are able to provide £250 and he can provide £150 from his own budget, so this will cover the current shortfall if needed.

Action: Harvey to try and book A501 – capacity 60 with tables, so could potentially hold capacity of 70

Action: Harvey to book poster boards for up to 10 A1 posters (5 poster boards)

Action: Carol to block-book 10 parking spaces

Action: Rachael to complete and submit the IAA fast track funding application.

Action: Harvey to order catering for 60 people and liaise with SPRU for invoicing.

  1. Draft programme – Rachael

We need to timetable 30 minute slots per presenter and longer spaces for the networking because these were both points in the feedback from the symposium last year. To allow for this we considered making the keynote and the non-academic discussion session shorter.

We discussed whether to have parallel sessions or not as there was a concern that this detracts attention. Once the abstract submissions had been selected, we agreed to have one session as parallel to allow time for the strongest submissions from people who have not spoken at a BSUFN event last year. Apart from one session, the rest will be in plenary.

Action: Steering group members to play with adjusting the draft programme.

  1. Selection of abstracts – All

All present had pre-read the abstracts submitted and made comments on them, and Abigail had also sent her comments in her absence. Those present went through each abstract in turn and agreed to accept 12 of them. This was a difficult decision because it meant declining some good and interesting abstracts. We agreed that some would be more appropriate for the ‘Food Inequalities’ themed event and this was suggested as a topic for a symposium next year.

Action: Rachael to contact each of the people who submitted abstracts to notify them of the outcome of the selection.

  • Festival of Social Science application – Harvey and Rachael

Harvey will prepare and submit a similar application to the one which was successful last year. Rachael began preparing an application for the planned project with the Brighton WI but recognised that this was not the right funding source because the project is too arts-based for a social science festival. It was agreed that we will not submit an application for a Brighton event because we have enough other activities on.

Action: Harvey to prepare and submit the application for an Eastbourne-based event.

  • CUPP applications and collaboration requests – Abigail, Ruth and Rachael

We are aware of three potential BSUFN connected applications to the Spring CUPP funding round: Hastings Bites Back, Railway Land Wildlife Trust, and a food sovereignty project between Robin Dunford & BHFP. We have not heard an update from Abigail regarding her application but we believe she is pursuing this funding route for Hastings Bites Back. Likewise, we have not heard an update from Robin Dunford regarding his potential project and application. At the end of the meeting we received notification that the Railway Land Wildlife Trust collaboration will not be submitting an application to CUPP for this funding round.

  • SIG review – Rachael

BSUFN has six SIGs, some of which have over 50 people in. Each new member of BSUFN signs up to the SIGs. However, the SIGs are otherwise inactive. It was agreed that we would continue to ask new members to identify which of the topics they are interested in as this is useful information for establishing collaborations, networking activities, and seeking subject-related contributions. We agreed to keep the database of the SIGs running but that they would otherwise be inactive.

Action: Rachael to notify members during the next circular e-mail and amend the text on the website and membership sign-up to reflect the inactive status of the SIGs.

  • Hosting BSUFN and Three Year Plan update – Ruth and Rachael

The proposal is taking shape but is taking time to prepare. We have a couple of members who have agreed to look over it once a full draft has been prepared.

Action: Carol to write a paragraph or two reflecting the strengths in BSUFN due to the collaboration between Brighton and Sussex Universities.

Action: Harvey to write a couple of paragraphs on the benefits of BSUFN for linking with local businesses.

Action: Rachael to finalise the timeline and edit the existing draft of the proposal.

  • Any Other Business

No issues

  • Dates of steering group meetings for academic year 2016/7

Steering group meetings for the next academic year will be from 10am-12pm on the following three dates:

  1. 26th October 2016
  2. 1st February 2017
  3. 3rd May 2017

BSUFN Steering group meeting on 3rd February 2016

Present: Rachael T, Ruth, Carol, Durwin, Bob (by Skype), Dipak

  • Funding proposals
  • The A Team Foundation:

This is not being processed till May because the person responsible is on maternity leave. In the meantime, the proposal has been reworked and submitted to Daylesford Foundation for April, for approx. £13,000. It’s possible we may get funding from both sources in which case we can scale up the project.

  • AHRC Follow-on Funding:

Abigail, Ruth, Rachael and Bella have been working on drafting the proposal, with support from Tom Wakeford at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) in Coventry. He has agreed to be PI and the application is being put in as a Follow-on funding bid for a project he ran. Abigail is named as Co-I. The bid is for £30,000

  • Urban Living Partnership:

This is a large scale proposal involving both universities, several councils, BHFP and several network members as named researchers. It is highly competitive, but if Sussex/Brighton is successful, there will be a role for BSUFN, probably.

  • Hosting BSUFN
  • Brighton uni:

Abigail is still in discussion with the Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics Research Centre, but no further progress.

  • Sussex uni

There is a possibility of a similar arrangement with the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, and Ruth/Rachael are hoping to discuss soon. Action: Rachael to chase up with Caroline at SSRP.

We have continued trying to find a School or Department to host the Network, and Johan Schot, head of SPRU, has asked us to put together a 3-year proposal and work-plan. He would like us to include in that a request for 1 day a week of admin support for the Network. It was agreed it would be good to pursue this, but that any proposal would have to take into account how impact might be measured incorporating the two Universities, and how this might be handled under the REF. Action: Ruth/Rachael to approach Graham and/or Peter in the first instance to see if they would have time to write a proposal. If, from their experience, they are able to provide us with an outline, we could ask volunteers to write e.g. a paragraph each. It was also suggested we could get references from Tim Lang or Bex White, if needed.

  • Events
  • Food, Climate and Society seminar series:

Tim Lang is opening the series of seminars on 4th February. There has been a lot of interest and positive comments on the series.

  • Discussion groups:

These are ongoing. There is a small regular group, it would be nice to broaden it out. Action: Rachael to advertise it to undergraduates.

  • Creative methods workshop with FRC:

BSUFN is organising, with some input from CAWR, a workshop on creative arts methods in food research. It will be on 11th May. Carol said she would be interested in being involved, and talked about interesting uses of smart phones for data collection in diet and nutrition research. She also noted Harvey’s past work using visual tools. We agreed it would be good to bring in experience of public engagement on health. Action: Ruth to copy Carol into future correspondence, and continue to coordinate.

  • Nerd Night Brighton:

BSUFN has been offered a slot at Nerd Night, which is a monthly event in Brighton where people talk about nerdy topics in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. It is on 19th May, and we need three presenters. Rachael is interested in being one of them, and there was interest from other steering group members. Action: Rachael to continue to coordinate.

  • Brighton Fringe Festival event:

As part of SPRU and IDS’s 50th birthday celebrations, a joint public event as is being organised as part of the Festival Fringe, on the topic of food futures. Ruth has been involved in shaping this. It will be on 18th May and will include Network members as speakers.

  • Other things in Geography and SPRU:

An undergraduate in Geography has organised a series of film nights on the topic of food, and has organised a visit to Sussex from Tristram Stuart (17th February). We are hoping that he will join the Steering Group. In SPRU, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, there will be a public event at the Science Museum with a food focus. Network members are involved in planning this.

  • Annual Symposium Planning
  • Funding from Schools/Departments

Harvey has offered to find £200, SPRU has agreed to contribute up to £300 and Abigail is hoping to get funding through CUPP. Carol said she may be able to get funding through the Small Grants Fund, but has to wait for it to be open for applications. There is also a (small) possibility of using HEPCOM funding. Ruth and Rachael may be able to try for the Researcher-Led Initiative fund again, but they may not be willing to fund it for a second time.

It was agreed that we would continue to try to get funding from different sources, but if we were not successful we would go ahead anyway and just reduce costs e.g. not buy lunches for participants. It was felt that this was a better option than charging them to attend.

  • Date and venue

After discussion, the date was set for Thursday 16th June. It was agreed that one of the Falmer campuses was most convenient, and that a lot of other events are happening in Sussex at the moment. Action: Bob to book a room in Checkland building for approx. 80 people for the full day.

  • Theme

We agreed on a theme of Diversity again, with a suggested title ‘Contemporary Food Issues’. We could then have sub-themes outlined in the call for abstracts.

  • Timeline for call for abstracts/posters

We agreed the call should be put out in mid-March. It was agreed we would approach Neil Ravenscroft to be a key-note speaker. Action: Rachael to liaise with Abigail.

Action: Ruth to circulate a time-line for organising it.

  • Any other business

Bob raised the issue of putting videos from the Symposium on the website, but Rachael said it wasn’t possible because of the size of the files. Bob suggested opening a youtube account for them. Everyone was happy for him to go ahead and do this if he wanted to. We discussed the possibility of filming future events but felt that we didn’t have the equipment or the people. It was agreed that people organising events could decide for each event whether filming was practical or appropriate.

The date of the next meeting had to be changed. It was set for 4th May at 10am


BSUFN Steering group meeting on 7th October 2015

Present: Abigail, Bob, Peter, Rachael T, Ruth, Caroline, Durwin, Harvey, Pedram

1.      Hosting BSUFN

  • Funding / hosting at Brighton

Abigail updated the group on activities over the summer. BSUFN had approached several people, many of whom were interested in supporting us but unable to commit the time. Andrew Church took this forward and Abigail has now been given 50 hours from her School to work on BSUFN. Most promising as a potential host within Brighton uni is the new Research Centre (the name is not confirmed yet) which is due to be launched soon. This centre is dynamic, interdisciplinary, and across all colleges and it has been suggested that BSUFN could be a collaborative partner / member. It was agreed that it is the best option available at the moment, so we should try it and see if it works for making funding applications, which would come from Brighton uni rather than from a discipline/school. We expect a PI or Co-I could apply for funds via the centre.

What can Abigail do with 50 hours? She described success in other similar networks, through proving that the network magnifies the efforts of members, so all members benefit from the banner of BSUFN.

Action: Abigail and Rachael to follow this up once the research centre has formally been launched.

  • Funding / hosting at Sussex

We are seeking to get formal recognition as a network within the university, probably through being hosted within BMEc. Once formally hosted, we can apply to be recognised as a research network within the university. We can then also be affiliated to SusSus (Sussex Sustainability Research Programme) which seems to be structured in a similar way to the new research centre at Brighton so might be a good parallel at Sussex. Ruth and Rachael are pursuing this with the support of Fiona Marshall.

Action: Ruth and Rachael to finalise the proposal to BMEc and send this to Fiona.

It was agreed that it would be useful to have a similar ‘corporate identity’ across the two universities. If we are applying to external sources then it is important to be consistent in where we are based and how we function, so that it doesn’t become skewed towards either Brighton or Sussex.

2.      Funding proposals

  • The A Team Foundation proposal for food poverty research

This proposal has been submitted to the relevant person at Sussex who will put in the application on our behalf. This is a relatively small funding proposal (£13,600) for a 1-2 year project with one day per week funded for researchers. It is a collaboration between BSUFN and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, researching perceptions of food poverty from the perspective of families and children who access services in Brighton & Hove.

Action: Rachael to follow up depending on outcome of application.

  • AHRC Research Networking proposal for unheard voices in East Sussex food systems

The AHRC call includes money for networking, so networking itself isn’t enough and need to have an area/problem to work on so propose to bring people together to work on that. We have been preparing something on the unheard voices in urban food systems in East Sussex but this has been changing a little according to interests of the people involved. The proposal needs a PI as Abigail has offered to be the Co-I. This has been a challenging point in getting the proposal prepared. There’s a suggestion that we could have an early-career researcher who’s a PI (i.e. Abigail) and then a ‘mentor’ as a Co-I. Other people we have been in contact with regarding the proposal include Julie Doyle, Ian Gazeley and Dave Goulson but they are not able to be involved or do not think they have the right expertise. We have a meeting arranged with Andre Viljoen in November to discuss the proposal as he has expressed an interest in it.

How can researchers engage with community successfully?

Food research case studies publications and research methodologies – highlight that under the umbrella of the project. Not just the type of research but how it is going about.

Action: Abigail, Rachael and Ruth to continue with proposal development and attend meeting with Andre in November.

  • ESRC SSIAA proposal for sustainable urban agriculture research

This is not something which is appropriate to pursue for BSUFN at the moment because it is about increasing impact of existing research. The first round has just closed so it is something to bear in mind for the future rounds once we have some research complete or underway.

  • Urban Living Partnership

This is a Research Council UK funding call which several faculty in SPRU are planning a proposal for. They have invited Rachael to their next meeting because they have identified food as a suitable area for their proposal to focus. The deadline is in January and conversations about a proposal are at an early stage.

Action: Rachael to feedback following meeting on the 16th of October.

  • Potential for a big research funding bid

Following several conversations with people who have a strong interest in developing research in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex on food poverty, food waste, and urban food production, there is an idea of a larger-scale funding proposal to be developed. This could incorporate a couple of full-time post-docs or PhDs as well as roles for faculty. This is only just beginning to be discussed as will take a considerable amount of time to plan and prepare, and no funding call has yet been identified. Something to think about though.

3.      Upcoming events

  • ESRC Festival of Social Science event

The symposium on the links between universities and the local food and tourism sector will be on the 11th of November in Eastbourne. Harvey outlined the programme for the day and progress with the arrangements. The event is aimed at local businesses rather than academics, so the registration will be made available by invite.

Action: Rachael to create an Eventbrite registration page for the symposium. Rachael to make a list of all of the business-related modules taught at Sussex so these can be available for participants during the symposium.

  • Art on the Breadline creative food poverty exhibit

Abigail has arranged for a stall at Hastings Herring Fair to launch her new initiative ‘Hastings Bites Back’. The BUCFP exhibition Art on the Breadline will be on display and relevant people including Bella Wheeler will be attending. They will run demonstrations of creative research methods and explain types of research that can be used for this. This is designed to prompt people to think about what food research in Hastings could/should be, then sign them up and form a research group called Hastings Bites Back. Inviting lots of groups/people and getting support from Brighton uni communications and Hastings Council. The intention is to develop research interests and then apply for CUPP funding in the spring.

  • Food, Climate and Society seminar series

This is a seminar series in the Department of Geography (Sussex uni) during the spring term which BSUFN will be co-hosting. The series will be flagged as being a SusSus collaboration as well. There are a few gaps remaining in the series but some people have already been invited to speak.

Action: Pedram, Rachael and Ruth to follow up with those who have been invited and ensure that all of the seminar spaces have been filled.

  • HEPCOM Web Platform Nutrition conference?

This is a 1-day conference which marks the end of a project Carol has been working on with partners overseas. It is expected that this conference will take place in Brighton and BSUFN will co-host it but at present the arrangements for this are uncertain. Carol was not present at the meeting to provide a more recent update on this.

Action: Carol to update all as and when arrangements for this conference emerge.

  • Agro-chemicals and Phosphate symposium

This was postponed but there is interest from several people to speak at it. The current plan is to talk about peak phosphate and fertilisers in the morning session with a keynote lecture given by Robin Sen (Manchester Metropolitan University). Then the afternoon will focus on pesticides. Bob has made contact with the main Moroccan phosphate mining company.

Action: Rachael to follow up with Robin Sen to arrange a new date.

Action: Bob to follow up with other contacts regarding their interest in attending and/or speaking.

  • Food Sovereignty Now gathering

Ruth, Rachael and Elise will be attending the Food Sovereignty Gathering in Yorkshire at the end of October. We submitted proposals for running workshops but were not successful.

  • BSUFN Annual Symposium 2016

Although this doesn’t necessarily need to be held in February as it was this year, we need to start thinking about plans and arrangements for the BSUFN 2016 symposium. There was discussion about how to structure the symposium as this year we began by planning a session per SIG but that didn’t work once we had abstracts submitted. It was agreed that this year we should wait and see what abstracts are submitted before deciding about sessions. We also agreed that we could have a call for posters as well, not just presentations. It was also suggested that we should have a session which is in a different format such as several 2-minute presentations.

It was suggested that holding the symposium in early April which is just after the Easter break but before teaching ends for the exam period.

Action: Ruth to look into the timetable for planning this year’s symposium and use that as a basis for when we need to take which actions for next year’s symposium.

4.      Other matters

  • Suggestion of preparing a book with chapters written by BSUFN members

Peter introduced this suggestions as he has experience of it being a really useful strategy for developing research, raising profile, and public communication. He explained it can be good for people who have done research but haven’t published much, while also giving those without much experience of publishing the opportunity to work with those with experience to develop skills. Peter can contribute techniques of how to do this. There were two ideas of possible book themes raised during the meeting: one on food security, and one on diet, nutrition and health. There may be other ideas when we approach all BSUFN members but we need to have a clearer idea of what we are proposing first.

Action: We need an abstract-length proposal for a theme of the book(s). All to contribute to discussion on this as necessary. Then we will circulate the idea to all members.

  • Suggestion of preparing a members database

This idea has been raised several times and has come up again recently. The idea is to have an area on the website which only members can log in to. They can then access a database of all BSUFN members, contact details, and areas of interest. So if a member is looking for a particular area of expertise or a collaboration, then can search for appropriate members themselves. Because of data protection we will have to ask permission from members to share this.

Action: Rachael to send an e-mail to all members asking them to let us know whether they are happy to be included on the database.

  • Feedback on outcome of Governing Food Policy Workshop

The workshop went well and stimulated good discussion which has since been continued between some participants. Rachael is writing a report on the workshop which will be available soon.

  • Need to develop SIG-specific activities

The SIGs now have quite a good number of members but we are not running activities regularly. Rachael suggested having another series of reading groups but have all members of each SIG be part of the conversation to select a reading. We could also run general SIG-specific meetings such as 5 minutes to present your research and then get feedback, or have a general discussion topic rather than a reading for discussion.

Action: Rachael to e-mail all members to ensure they are on the SIGs they want to be on. Rachael then to e-mail each of the SIGs separately to start conversations about readings and what type of activities they want.

  • Food Research Collaboration workshop on visual/creative participatory methods in food research

Ruth has proposed that BSUFN co-host a workshop with the Food Research Collaboration (City University, London) on using visual and creative participatory research methods. There are several in BSUFN who could contribute to this workshop and there is interest from FRC too. They have proposed February or March.

Action: Ruth to follow up with Food Research Collaboration as necessary.

  • Mouthful theatre production

Ruth saw the theatre production Mouthful in London recently and has suggested they bring it to Brighton. They have expressed an interest in this.

Action: Ruth to follow up with them as necessary.

5.      Any other business

  • BSUFN business cards – Rachael distributed these to all present
  • Pedram explained that he has submitted a proposal for a new Masters programme on Food and Development. If accepted it is likely it would run for the first time in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Elise is stepping down from the steering group but it is possible that Serena will be joining us
  • Durwin proposed a trip to his Linseed Farm as a SIG activity. There are a couple of SIGs which might be interested in this but it could also be opened up to all members. There will be a flax/linseed workshop at the farm on Easter weekend and we could look at hosting something similar in the spring.


BSUFN Steering Group Meeting on 17-6-15


Ruth, Caroline, Bob, Rachael D, Rachael T, and Pedram

Locating BSUFN

We discussed where BSUFN should be located, and agreed that locating the Network in a department or school (or two, one in each university) would ensure its sustainability, because a department would have responsibility for ensuring its continuity even if current steering group members leave. It was agreed that this is important, particularly at the moment as several of the people on the steering group have other priorities in the near future.

There has been an informal offer of support to be located within the School of Global Studies at Sussex. It would be good to find a similar offer from a school or department at Brighton. Harvey has enquired about the possibility of being supported by the Department of Geography at Brighton but we have not yet had a response. Both Bob and Caroline offered to follow up Harvey’s contact and enquire with others at Brighton about the potential of joint-hosting BSUFN there.

It was agreed that we would pursue the School of Global Studies offer, even if it is not possible to identify an equivalent offer of support at Brighton. It was also agreed that we would continue to maintain an image of independence, such as keeping our own website rather than having one on the Global Studies pages. The hosting/locating of BSUFN in a school or department would be for practical purposes only.


Pedram will arrange a meeting with Andrea Cornwall (Head of School of Global Studies) and Ben Rogaly (Head of Department of Geography) at Sussex and if we have identified an equivalent at Brighton then they will also be invited to the meeting. Ruth and Rachael T will also attend this meeting.

Caroline and Bob to enquire with heads of the Centre for Sustainability and the School of the Environment at Brighton regarding BSUFN being hosted there.

Ruth and Rachael T to prepare a couple of pages about BSUFN from existing material to be circulated to people who may be involved in discussions about hosting the Network.

AHRC Funding Proposal

This funding call seems ideal for BSUFN as it is a call for network development to incorporate multiple disciplines, particularly science and technology, with arts and humanities, and to engage with communities and non-academic groups. Of the seven topics which the call is for, BSUFN is able to cover four of them: cities and urban living, valuing nature, wellbeing, and emerging science and technology. The call is for a maximum of £30,000 for two years, and the funds can be used for all associated costs including staff time and other expenses.

We agreed that BSUFN would work towards submitting an application for this call. The deadline is the end of July and we need to notify the relevant research staff at each university at least six weeks in advance of the deadline, which is now.

We need to find appropriate people who will be willing to put their name on the application and be the PI and Co-I. We suggested Abigail as she is based in the School of Arts and Humanities at Brighton. Assuming we locate BSUFN in the Department of Geography at Sussex, it would be necessary to have a named individual from the department. Pedram suggested that Ben Rogaly might be an appropriate person as his work is more humanities-based than others.


Pedram to inform relevant Research and Enterprise staff at Sussex of our intention to apply.

Ruth to contact Abigail to enquire whether she will be willing to be a named individual at Brighton. If so, Abigail to inform relevant research staff at Brighton of our intention to apply.

Rachael T to begin work on drafting an application and circulate to others for input as necessary.

Pedram, Ruth and Rachael T to discuss the proposal and the need for a PI and Co-I when meeting with Andrea Cornwall and Ben Rogaly (see above action point).

Other funding

Rachael D explained that she has met with the Research Development Office who has outlined some opportunities for charitable funding. There are several places we could apply to for funds which could support BSUFN activities and events. It is unlikely that charitable funding options would fund overheads but they would fund staff time and direct project costs. If BSUFN is hosted by a school or department then perhaps the overheads could be covered through this route. It was agreed we should prepare a proposal for funding which could be re-worked as necessary for each separate application. We agreed this could be a positive way of accessing funds and could be particularly useful should we be unsuccessful with the application to AHRC.


Rachael D to arrange another meeting with Michael Edmunds to discuss application options and help with preparing a proposal. Ruth and Rachael T to attend this meeting.

Upcoming events

We have two upcoming commitments:

  • Food, Climate and Society seminar series in the Department of Geography at Sussex, to be held during February to April 2016.
  • Three proposals for funds were submitted by BSUFN to the ESRC Festival of Social Science which will be in November 2015. We will know by the 26th of June (next week) whether any of the applications have been successful. If successful then we will be committed to organising and running three events (a food-related creative arts-based exhibition in Hastings, a symposium in Eastbourne, and a trail from producers to consumers and waste management in Brighton).

Other potential things in the pipeline:

  • An activism day volunteering at Ashurst Farm, Plumpton – they have requested volunteers.
  • A social event at the start of the next academic year, perhaps a meal somewhere like SILO (so relevant to food waste discussions) in late September.
  • A community-based workshop on the topic of food waste with engagement from the community groups who are members of BSUFN and other associated organisations. There is a proposal for this event already prepared, with the possibility of access to funds for it from SPRU. However, in the light of the immediate work-load we agreed to allocate available time from the voluntary steering group to other priorities.
  • A short workshop (2-3 hours) on the topic of the influence of the food industry, food policy and governance. This will act as an initial event to launch the new Food Policy and Governance SIG.


Pedram, Ruth and Rachael T to continue with inviting speakers and organising the seminar series.

Ruth, Abigail, and Harvey to notify all of the steering group regarding whether the applications to ESRC have been successful or not. Action on organising the events will be taken after we know whether we need to host them or not.

Ruth to agree a date with Ashurst Farm for a group of volunteers from BSUFN to visit. Rachael T to publicise this on website and e-mail list once a date is agreed.

Rachael T to plan the food industry and policy workshop with support from Bob.

Forward planning

Due to the need to ensure people are able to attend steering group meetings in order to sustain BSUFN, the possibility of organising meetings far in advance was discussed. It was also suggested that we inform all network members of when these meeting are and invite input and/or attendance from everyone so that we can create more interest. Suitable times to meet were discussed and Wednesday afternoons were agreed to be a time that may be most convenient to the most people because there is no teaching. It was also agreed that early in each term would be a good time for the steering group to meet.

We could also ask members to send us details of any students (PhD or Masters) who are working on food-related issues, or ask them to forward information on BSUFN to students. It was agreed that this should be done early in the new academic year (early-October?) when more students are about and new students have started.


Ruth to e-mail existing steering group members to get a list of Wednesday afternoons in October, January and May when they will not be available so that meetings can be planned now and then circulated to the whole network. Ruth, Rachael D, Rachael T, Bob, Caroline, Pedram, Carol, Harvey, Abigail, Elise and Dipak to send the required information to Ruth.


BSUFN Steering Group Meeting notes from 23-3-2015


Pedram Rowhani, Rachael Taylor, Dipak Sarker, Ruth Segal, Abigail Wincott (via Skype).

Future of BSUFN

RT and RS gave an update on work so far on the Business Plan – though it was agreed that a better name was ‘Action Plan’. This had been discussed in draft form with Johan Schot, the Director of SPRU, who had given useful feedback.

Hosting of the Network

We discussed the pros and cons of being housed in a specific department in each university, or remaining ‘independent’:

  • We are more likely to get funding from a wider range of departments if not affiliated to a particular one
  • We know we can get funding from university sources without affiliation
  • There is a possibility of getting sucked into internal university politics and bureaucracy about interdisciplinary working if hosted in one department
  • But being based in a department gives the Network long term stability because it would be the responsibility of the department to ensure its continuation and take responsibility for it. If BSUFN remains ‘independent’ then its continuity is down to individual members.
  • Ideally, long term it would make sense for BSUFN to operate under the auspices of the Sussex Sustainability Centre, but that is not yet up and running.

AW noted that she is a member of the Centre for Research in Memory and Narrative Histories, and it might be useful to discuss with them how they are set up and funded, and what difficulties they have encountered.

It was also noted that we have a budget code at SPRU, which means that we are in effect hosted by SPRU at the moment.


  • AW to talk to CRMNH and report back
  • Notes of this discussion to be circulated to the steering group and their views sought
  • RS/RT to tidy up the ‘Action Plan’ and circulate to the steering group.

Funding the Network

We discussed whether future funding applications should include an amount to cover admin costs, if so how much, and how we would use it. Options of paying an administrator were discussed, and whether this could be through a host department. AW raised the question of whether a non-member administrator would be able to do all of the necessary tasks. It was agreed that it seemed more suitable to pay whichever individuals are working on a particular issue.

Funds could be used to pay for someone’s time e.g. a Network member working to organise an event, but this is only practical for PhD students, because staff are allocated a certain number of work hours and it is difficult for them to take additional pay for hours they are already doing. It was suggested that an admin element could cover payment in kind i.e. access to administrative support from the funding departments. We could include a budget line for admin hours, which could either be allocated as payment to members to do specific jobs or to get access to communication / admin / research support staff.

It was generally agreed that including admin costs in any future funding proposals or budgets was a good idea but the practicalities of doing this need further investigation.

It was noted that we have a budget code in SPRU, and it would be useful to have a similar mechanism at Brighton.


  • Include an admin line in funding applications
  • Find out about the options for a budget code within a department at Brighton
  • Speak to appropriate people in finance departments at both universities to seek advice on if and how we can pay staff/faculty for hours on an ad hoc basis.

Community links

Meeting with BHFP

RS reported on a meeting with Vic Borrell from Brighton and Hove Food Partnership (see minutes of meeting circulated separately).

RS reported that BHFP are interested in research on food waste and land use and access. We discussed ideas arising from that, particularly how to bring in a wider group of actors involved in food waste e.g. Veolia and actors who are often not included in research-community partnerships.

There is also interest in the possibility of linking community groups with researchers, Masters students, and volunteers.

Sustainability Transitions Research Network Conference

RS reported that there is an opportunity to organise a half-day workshop / event at the STRN conference, to be held at Sussex in August. The aim of the event would be to bring academics attending the conference and local community transition groups together to address a challenge facing the community groups. This had been discussed with BHFP and some ideas generated. We are waiting to hear back from BHFP if they are interested in getting involved, but if they are, we have to put a proposal together in the next couple of weeks.

There was a suggestion that a challenge / problem which could be presented to those attending the conference could be food waste. This could include businesses in the conversation rather than only the activist groups that would typically engage in such an issue.


RT has drawn up a list of events and activities, arising from offers made at the Symposium.

  • Activism Day at Moulsecoomb Forest Garden: arranged for 12th May, and already advertised to the Network members
  • Reading group: RT has contacted the SIG reps and started the process of putting together readings with their input. It is planned to take place in May-June. AW noted the difficulty of getting people together physically from Brighton University, and suggested virtual discussions, or hosting discussion groups on the website.
    • Action: AW to find out about Brighton education department virtual conference technology.
    • RT to look into setting dates/times/places for the reading discussion groups.
  • Sussex Foodies Society film showings: The aim is to hold a series of primarily social events, to stimulate interest about food and maybe get discussion going i.e. fun films, not documentaries. We did not know if a similar student society existed at Brighton. We discussed the possibility of having a leaflet about BSUFN available to promote ourselves.
    • Action: RT to liaise with Daniel Levin (chair of SFS); RS and steering group to provide a list of suggested films.
  • Social event: it was agreed to organise this for September, to bring everyone in at the beginning of the year
  • Farm and glasshouse visit: it was agreed that we could visit both of them in one day.
    • Action: RS (?) to contact Ashurst and Fletching to find out when would be a good time to visit.
  • Seminar series: there is a possibility of running a seminar series for a term in the Sussex Geography department. PR reported that Geography seminars are organised by the research clusters, and each cluster takes responsibility for a term’s worth (i.e. max 12) weekly seminars. The most relevant research cluster is Climate Science and Society (including land use). PR, RT, RS are developing a proposal to link food research to this cluster.

ESRC Festival of Social Science

This takes place in November, and we are hoping to put in proposals for two events, but ideas still need to be developed. Suggestions include:

  • a ‘food trail’ similar to the Open Art House trail
  • a creative community day to include culinary arts, art, photography, fictional writing, and poetry on the theme of food
  • a community-based event around Jeremy Evans’ seaweed garden project (in Lancing) to include education, exhibition, and edible seaweed tasting.

The deadline for applications is 8th May.

We discussed the options and agreed that an event in Lancing was not practical. RT noted her past experience of developing arts education projects, and potential undergraduate support for such an event. We agreed that we wanted to develop two proposals for two locations and that it is important that the events are not located in or around the campuses, but are more easily accessible to the public.


  • share this discuss with Harvey and check he is still able to draft the proposals by the deadline
  • circulate proposal ideas to everyone and get input via Huddle

Follow up from Sussex Foodies event:

RT reported that there had been a lot of interest in BSUFN following the Sussex Foodies event at which Carol Williams spoke. As a result there have been offers of support, including offers of writing for the website, offers of creative input which might link to the FSS proposals, and interest from an undergraduate making a documentary on food.


AW noted that RT is doing all the work relating to the website, and suggested we need to find ways to encourage Network members to contribute more informally. RT has been asking specific people for input, so is not doing all the writing herself.

P.S. Since the meeting RT has established that there is a Bake Society and a Vegetarian and Vegan Society at Brighton, both of which engage in cooking. There are also four other food-related student societies at Sussex which we should contact: Food Sovereignty; Roots (communal gardening); VegBox – Sussex Shoots; and Veg Soc (vegetarian and vegan).

  • RT to contact the other food-related student societies at both universities to establish their interest in the film showings and other potential collaborations with BSUFN


Notes from BSUFN steering group meeting, 19.2.15

Present: Rachael T, Harvey, Ruth, Pedram
We discussed the offer of housing the Network in the Geography department, and agreed it was a sensible home. Geography is keen on under- and post-graduate working and local engagement, and is able to offer small-scale funding, probably.
Action: Harvey to talk to Neil Ravenscroft and Andrew Church at Brighton about a parallel arrangement in Brighton’s Geography department so there is a cross-University coherence.
Action: Rachael and Ruth to put together a first draft of a business plan (covering the Network’s history, objectives and future ideas, both immediate and longer term).
We agreed that we would put in bids to the ESRC Festival of Social Science from both Universities to double our chances and broaden the range/location of activities.
We also agreed to consider a bid to Sussex’s Research Opportunities Fund and the equivalent at Brighton e.g. CUPP or the ECHO grants scheme.
Action: Harvey to work on a first draft of the business plan on the 27th of March.
We agreed we would start up a reading group, which would begin after Easter
Action: Pedram to organise
We discussed the possibility of taking over a term’s worth of the Geography department’s weekly seminar sessions.
We discussed the idea of meetings / discussions linked to the Foodies Group.
Action: Ruth/ Rachael to contact Daniel Levin who runs the Foodies Group
Pedram mentioned the need for placements for students and Rachael reported that TRAX Ghana would be interested. Carol had previously highlighted that UoB students were on placement with the B&HFP.
Action: Ruth / Rachael to put together a list of local (and international) groups which would like to interact with the Network and how they are interested in working with us, as part of the business plan.

We agreed that it would be good to take up the offers of local farmers who attended the Symposium, and organise some field trips for both Network members and students.
Action: TBC
We agreed that the various bits of work could be progressed via email, so no date was set for another meeting.


Notes from Symposium planning meeting 9.1.15

Present: Rachael T., Ruth, Harvey, Caroline, Dipak, Bob (via Skype)

Structure of the day:
We have received a small number of high quality abstracts, and agreed we would like to accept all of them. There were also expressions of interest from three people, who had not yet put in an abstract.
Action: Ruth to follow up Fiona and Anne; Harvey and Carol to write an abstract
Harvey suggested opening the day with a keynote speaker.
Action: Harvey to ask someone from the Centre for Food Policy. If no-one is available, Harvey to ask Neil Ravenscroft. Harvey to inform all of the outcome by the end of Tuesday 13th Jan.
Rachael suggested the possibility of a live link-up to farmers in Ghana, to discuss shared problems and concerns with producers in the UK. This was an idea that arose from discussions within the Primary Producers SIG.
Action: Rachael to follow up.
We agreed a timetable for the day.
Action: Rachael to write up and circulate draft timetable.

Not many people had signed up to attend so far, so promotion is very important. Ruth has secured an offer of help from the Communications staff in SPRU, and Harvey has worked up a poster. It was agreed that the poster could also be sent out via e-mail, so perhaps it might be appropriate to have two versions of it, one containing all the relevant links.
Action: Ruth and Rachael to get advice about promotional material and methods
Ruth and Rachael to send final version of poster to Harvey for printing up on Wednesday.
And send final email version to everyone.

Harvey is organising the catering.
Action: Harvey to check the last date for ordering
Bob to change the Eventbrite registration to include a question about dietary requirements

Rachael reported that the room booked has facilities for powerpoint etc. but we would need to get stationery.
Action: Harvey to get flipcharts, pens etc.
Ruth / Rachael to get name-badge holders
It was agreed that we would print a programme for attendees, but that a symposium pack wasn’t necessary.
Each of the sessions needs a chair, and there also needs to be a chair for the whole day. It was felt that we could mostly cover it amongst ourselves, but additional possibilities were Erik Millstone, Dominic Glover and Elise Wach.
Action: Ruth to email Erik to check his availability
Others to be contacted once details of the sessions have been confirmed.

Other actions:
All to register on Eventbrite
Rachael to email those who submitted abstracts with information on the required length and format of their presentations, and also asking them to register
After the timetable is finalised, Ruth / Rachael to contact potential chairs with the abstracts and what we’d like them to do.
Date of next meeting:
22nd January, 2pm, on Moulscombe site.
Dipak to find a room.


BSUFN Steering Group Meeting on 11-11-14

Present: Ruth Segal, Caroline Hodges, Bob Madadi, Rachael Taylor

Actions from last meeting:

Funding application was done. Will take 4 weeks to hear back but can organise and draw on Harvey’s money if the application is unsuccessful.

Ruth raised an issue discussed previously about whether we need to bring together people to get something going before the symposium. She suggested that a potential event could be a showing of one of the resources on Tim Lang’s new food research centre which was circulated by Rachael D.

  • We discussed who the current SIG reps are and how to get them together for vetting of the abstracts once submitted so that each session of the symposium can be planned by the SIG reps. We agreed that an e-mail will go out to the SIG reps next week at the same time as the call for abstracts, explaining what they are expected to do for planning each SIG’s session at the symposium. Action: Ruth will draft an e-mail to go to the SIG reps to be sent next week.
  • Tasks for today’s meeting were to draft 3 things – the call for abstracts, a covering e-mail for the call explaining membership, and an e-mail to the SIG reps (as above).

The call for abstracts has been drafted by Rachael T based on calls for abstracts which have been used for previous events. We all reviewed this and highlighted a few small changes to be made before being sent. The priority is to get a date for the symposium confirmed from Elise. Following this an Eventbright page can be set up for registration for the symposium and the details of this can be put on the bottom of the call for abstracts, and then circulate it.

Action: Rachael T to check with Elise regarding room booking to set a date.

Bob raised the issue of membership for the cover e-mail. It was agreed that anyone who signs up as a member will be automatically added to administration of the website so that all can upload blogs or posts. Action: Ruth to draft an e-mail cover to members, and a slightly different one to non-members to explain that they should look out for an e-mail with details for how to access the website once they are members.

  • We discussed who to send call to and how. We agreed that the call for abstracts should be sent to staff, researchers, and students at both universities. Brighton uni can send it to staff via uni-info. Sussex uni can advertise it online via a broadcast. Ruth suggested it is sent out more broadly too because some unexpected people came to last symposium and should be sent directly to people’s inboxes for some departments. Action: Caroline and Rachael T to send out call for abstracts to respective unis once the call and covering e-mail are finalised with the date. – Caroline and Rachael T are responsible for finding out how to get it to all staff and students.
  • It was agreed by all that the closing date for the submission of abstracts should be moved back a week to the 11th of December because the previously suggested date of the 4th would only give a few weeks. It was agreed that the organising committee and SIG reps should meet on the 15th of December to review the abstracts. Action: Rachael T to book room for 15th of Dec 10am-1pm for abstract selection.
  • It was discussed in the last meeting that we need to get some blogs on the website to get it active. Some ideas for short blogs were discussed by those attending the meeting. Action: Bob to ensure that Rachael T, Ruth and Caroline are editors on the website so that they can upload blogs. Then Rachael T, Bob, and Caroline to each add blogs, Ruth to ask Rose regarding one on the Nexus Network call, plus ask all of the SIG reps in the e-mail being sent to them. All members being told that they can add a post once they are members and added as editors on the website.

Other actions:

Action: Bob to set up an Eventbright page so that it is ready to go live once we have a date confirmed. Bob will also create a symposium webpage using the call for abstracts as text.

Action: Ruth to update the timeline for organising the symposium and circulate updated version, then Bob will make a spreadsheet in Dropbox for project organisers.

Ruth, Rachael and Bob will meet on Monday 17-11-14 to make sure the Eventbright page, symposium webpage, call for abstracts and associated e-mails are ready to go live and be sent out.


BSUFN steering group meeting 28 July 2014

Present: Bob Howard, Ruth Segal and Abigail Wincott (by Skype from home).


  1. Introductions and apologies
  2. Agree agenda
  3. Recap outcomes of last meeting
  4. Agree new website content
    We have a basic site up, with SIGS, about page and webform. Shall we open it up to network?
    Problem: Apart from joining, there’s no clear way for people to communicate with each other yet, people might be put off.
    ACTION: Bob will investigate adding forums to each SIG and the whole network end Aug/Sept
    ACTION: Bob? find out whether we can restrict editing rights, to stop people accidentally messing with permanent furnitute of the website.
    ACTION: After we know about forums and editing rights, we will look again at giving the whole network access to the site, so they can start contributing and networking online.
  5. Recap organising of annual symposium

Suggested date – end November. Series of panel sessions, themed under SIGs. More people probably needed to help organise.
ACTION: Email committee to ask if anyone else will help out.
ACTION: Bob will create symposium page, with link on top menu

6. Recap Events and bookings
: Add events tab to the site (Abigail?)

  1. Recap Membership
    At the moment it’s only staff and students of the two unis (though there is also a separate list of non-uni people who expressed an interest), the feeling was in the past that we should keep it at that till we’re organised. On the other hand, maybe people from outside academia should be able to take part in the early days as well, so they have a say in the agenda and direction of the network. Plus they’re valuable contacts for researchers too who might want to collaborate with them on funding bids etc.
    ACTION: Ask committee whether they want to open the network to all on equal terms.
  2. Recap Funding
    : Ruth to ask Harvey whether he has any news on funding.
  3. Set date, time and agenda for next meeting
    Mid-September – ACTION: Ruth to set up Doodle poll for it. (And chair?)
  4. AOB
    : Abigail to type up action points and email to Bob and Ruth.
    ACTION: Abigail to post agreed minutes/actions to the website and email committee to tell them,
    ACTION: Abigail to make the ‘About’ page the front page.


BSFUN organising meeting 12th of June 2014

The BSFUN organising meeting was held on 12th of June 2014 at 10am.

1. Introductions and apologies
2. Agree agenda
3. Recap outcomes of next steps event
4. Agree organising committee activities
5. Agree roles
6. Set date, time and agenda for next meeting

It was decided that a new BSUFN website would be created.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s