Animal-based protein production and consumption is linked to major global environmental and health challenges. The FAO (2006) has documented the environmental costs of livestock production, including contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, less efficient use of land and water, and animal health and welfare concerns. Additionally, Rohrmann et al (2014) have reported on an association between increases in cancer risk with processed meat consumption. The focus on protein, rather than meat (see Emel and Neo 2015) addresses these global challenges most-directly, and continues to build on experience from the two earlier AHRC funded projects that indicated it is the nutritional associations with meat as protein, and the lack of understanding of alternative protein sources, that is limiting moves to reduce animal-based protein consumption practices.

Man Food builds on the success of Protein Pressures (2016), in the use of the ‘becoming ecological citizen’ (BEC) methodology (see Roe and Buser 2016), devised and trialled by the PI, Emma Roe, with Michael Buser and the PDRA, Paul Hurley, in previous Connected Communities projects (Foodscapes in Bristol 2013, and at the Connected Communities Festival in Cardiff in 2014) as well as by Roe and Hurley in Protein Pressures and a non-food adaptation in recent EPSRC-funded interdisciplinary research into antimicrobial resistance (Mapping Microbes, 2016, and Fighting Superbugs on the Home Front: Becoming an Ecological Citizen in Your Bathroom, 2016). This methodology explores the potential of combining material practices (food preparation and eating) with creative processes (arts-based activities around food) and discursive practices (talking about food) to consider the individual’s relationship to the nonhuman as one of ecological citizenship rather than ethical consumerism. It therefore offers participants a non-exclusionary platform to explore their commitments, interests and practices to the environment.

The involvement of artists-in-residence will develop the team’s work of involving artists in the development of the ‘becoming ecological citizen methodology’ in CC projects Foodscapes and Protein Pressures (Roe and Buser: 2016). Building on this experience, it is hoped that the involvement of artists-in-residence in Man Food will enable the researchers to develop further insights into the potential role of artistic practice and participatory methods. A central theoretical and pragmatic question that will drive the engagement with the creative arts and performance is how to make non-human foodstuffs in the form of protein ‘active participants’ in the workshop design, execution and analysis. This develops long-standing theoretical interests of PI Roe outlined in a 2017 editorial collection with fellow Connected Communities researchers Bastian, Jones and Moore (Bastian et al 2017). It is envisaged that the project will make an academic contribution theoretically and methodologically on this topic.

In addition, the project will seek to address specific issues around gendered conceptions of ecology, through performative and embodied practices that connect directly to performance. We see the creative arts as a valuable way for researchers and community participants to understand and articulate participation in more-than-human worlds. Drawing on academic advisors Jackson and Meah’s recent work on caring masculinities in relation to food, and FlorĂȘncio’s on performance bodies and the anthropocene, we will see if creative participatory activities, and the artist’s creative response, can be opportunities to formulate and enact ‘eco-masculinities’

Project Team:

  • Dr Emma Roe, Associate Professor, Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, Principal Investigator
  • Dr Paul Hurley, Senior Research Fellow, Geography and Environment, University of Southampton
  • Steve Sayers, Chief Executive, Windmill Hill City Farm, Co-Investigator
  • Mark Goodway, Chief Executive, The Matthew Tree Project
  • Anna Ralph, CafĂ© Manager, Windmill Hill City Farm, Community Researcher

Project artists-in-residence:

  • Jamie McCarthy, sound artist and musician
  • Joanna Young, choreographer
  • Kip Johnson, dancer and choreographer

Other Community Partners:

  • Healthy city Week / Bristol Green Partnership, Bristol
  • St Werburgh’s City Farm, Bristol
  • Man Alive, Knowle West Health Park, Bristol
  • At-Bristol, Science and Discovery Centre, Bristol
  • Flexitarian Bristol, Bristol
  • Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol
  • TIGER, Bristol

Academic Advisory Panel:

  • Professor Peter Jackson, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Angela Meah, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Angela Piccini, Reader in Screen Media, University of Bristol
  • Dr JoĂŁo FlorĂȘncio, Lecturer in History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, University of Exeter.