Food Matters Symposium: A RGS-IBG AC2015 Pre-Conference Event

If you are booked as a participant in this event but have not yet confirmed any transport needs to / from West Town Farm but would like to be included please get in touch with both Suzanne & Rebecca A.S.A.P.  Please also get in touch if you would like your profile and contact details to be included in the programme but have not yet forwarded details.

Remember West Town is a working farm please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Confirmed Pick-Ups:
St David’s Station:  Jeremy Brice, Ana Moragues Faus, Matt Reed, Agatha Herman, Alice Willatt, Laura Colebroke, Emma Roe, Lou Dudley, Henry Buller, Kim Ward.

Streatham Campus:  Rebecca Jones, Mags Adams, Alexandra Sexton, Eifiona Thomas Lane, Megan Blake, Andrew Williams, Charlotte Spring.

Tuesday 1st September – West Town Farm, Exeter.

Although food waste is beginning to appear on academic and political agendas there has been a tendency to frame the problem around individual food practices, and much less work has been done on how food becomes framed as waste at other nodes within food systems. Through employing a mixture of panel sessions, provocations, hands on sessions and group work, this symposium will bring together academics, food producers, food retailers and food activists in order to approach the problem of systemic food waste. We hope this symposium will enable a collaborative process of agenda setting for future research into food waste, food knowledges and food practices.

Conveners: Suzanne Hocknell & Dr Rebecca Sandover.

Opening Remarks & Provocations:  Prof. Henry Buller (University of Exeter).

Dr. Megan Blake (University of Sheffield); Dr. Emma Roe (University of Southampton); Dr. Matt Reed (The Countryside and Community Research Institute); Andy Bragg (West Town Farm); Martyn Bragg (Shillingford Organics); and Kim Chenoweth (Devon and Cornwall Food Association).

Group Facilitators:
Dr Emma-Jayne Abbots (UWTSD); Dr Mags Adams (University of Salford); and Dr Agatha Herman (University of Reading).

Closing Remarks:  Prof. Elspeth Probyn (University of Sydney).

Food matters are increasingly contested as lively materials that shape issues around human health and wellbeing as well as impacting on ecosystems through their production, consumption and disposal. Food materials decay rendering food inedible. Food material can be seen as unknown, unfamiliar and undesirable for consumption. Food matters can contain anxieties over provenance, authenticity and wider material impacts on our ecosystems and our bodies. However solutions to knowing food, addressing food waste and increasing access to fresh food are contested. Examples of this include the use of waste food to address issues of food poverty, processing technologies precluding edible food from reaching the consumer, or food labelling inhibiting edible food from being consumed. Through this participatory event we seek to explore these issues by not only generating debate for academic research, but by also getting our hands on food matters, and engaging with local producers’ food stories and food knowledges. By incorporating practical hands- on sessions to produce our lunch with ‘waste’ food and hearing on-the-ground experiences of producers and activists, we seek to ground academic debate on production- consumption-waste pathways with the matter of food itself, and to co-create knowledges for ongoing research collaboration.

Dinner will be hosted by Bristol Skipchen on West Town Farm from 5.30pm.  Transport will be available from the farm to the RGS opening plenary, St David’s Station, or to the Rusty Bike pub.

More Info and Event Booking Here(Limited places available).

Organised  in collaboration with:
Love Local Food, West Town Farm, OrganicARTS, Ashclyst Farm & Dairy, Shillingford OrganicsWith support from the Nature, Materialities & Biopolitics (NaMBio) research group of the Department of Geography in the University of Exeter, the Social & Cultural Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (SCGRG RGS-IBG), the South-West Doctoral Centre of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC SWDTC), and the Catalyst Project at the University of Exeter. 

N.B. this symposium is supported by the ESRC SWDTC, and we have 3 funded places for student note-takers.  The note-takers will work with group facilitators in order to produce a detailed record of the day’s discussions that can feed in to future research design.  In addition, their delegate fee will be waived and we can offer £50 each in expenses.  If you are a PhD Researcher interested in being actively involved in the symposium in this way, then please contact Suzanne Hocknell <sh422 [at]> and Dr Rebecca Sandover <R.J.Sandover [at]> for more information.  

(Although it can be booked independently, this symposium is also a pre-event of the RGS-IBG annual conference.  Information about the RGS-IBG annual conference can be found here.  Linked sessions within the conference include: ‘Surfaces of Distinction:  Materiality & viscerally knowing food’ one, two & three;  ‘Thinking through Food Justice & Sovereignty’; ‘Geographical Perspectives on Food in the Anthropocene’ one, two & three; & ‘Exploring the Role of Transformative Research in Struggles for Food Sovereignty‘).


Suzanne Hocknell is a third year ESRC funded PhD Candidate at the University of Exeter supervised by Dr Ian Cook and Professor Steve Hinchliffe.  Her research focuses on knowledges and practices of food.  More specifically her PhD work investigates how margarine is done in industry, and in the home; as well as engaging craft methodologies to create space for exploring other ways of knowing and practicing margarine.

Dr Rebecca Sandover is an Associate Research Fellow working on The Contagion project at The University of Exeter, led by Prof. S Hinchliffe. Her PhD research investigated how material and visceral relationships when growing and cooking food shapes food knowledge and consumption habits. This research was conducted at two allotment sites in South Somerset.