Designing Sustainable Food Futures: a design anthropological approach to cultural value and culinary capital in shaping ‘sustainable’ diets.
University of Brighton
Year of enrolment: 2019
This research aims to develop new insights into the ways culture shapes food choices, what a ‘sustainable diet’ can be and who it is for. It will utilise design research methods to engage food producers, consumers and policymakers in the development of new approaches to food, eating, and food cultures. While there have been significant changes in the research discourses surrounding sustainable food consumption, there remain opportunities for research that bridges environmental concerns, the needs of human health and nutrition and how food is valued culturally. Questions of priority and ‘what’s good enough’ (Garnett 2017) point to a disjointed future, with discordant perspectives on ‘sustainable diets’. The cultural subtexts governing these perspectives need to be addressed; looking not only at what we eat but more importantly how we eat.
This study proposes the use of design anthropology, supported by radical and critical design interventions to explore the role of 'cultural value' - the way that food is used in and by society, what is cherished and meaningful, and ‘culinary capital’ - the influences over our food choices, be they socio-economic, gendered or affected by celebrity and online platforms. It will consider the environmental impacts of food-related systems, food policy and politics through the lens of the relationship between food and popular culture. Interventions in the form of a series of dining experiences, performances and exhibition installations will be developed and analysed to identify ways in which rethinking the relationship between culture and food through design can support a more sustainable UK food future.