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Food and Public Space in a Global City

Saturday 21st May 2011  10am - 5pm   Room 101 Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College
Lunch will be catered by Sarah Moore Caterers a catering firm that specialises in local, seasonal and sustainable food and includes ingredients sourced from within London.
Cost: including lunch:
Standard -  £25
Other Student/unwaged -  £10
Birkbeck staff/students -  £10

The colloquium will be focused on one particular city – London - and will bring together the themes of food growing, ‘public’ space and the city to explore  thought-provoking questions around food equity, access to public and semi-private space, and the ability of different socio-economic groups to establish their own interests in city planning and construction processes that have consequences for private and community-based food production and distribution (e.g. the provision and retention of community food growing spaces, the creation of productive and educative school grounds, the provision of housing with growing and food preparation spaces).  The issue of food, food production and public spaces in cities is currently high on the political agenda. While urban agriculture has a long history, contemporary concerns over the environmental impacts of ‘food miles’ and our industrialised countryside, food security issues, together with growing recognition of the health, social and community benefits of gardening, are driving the issue of local urban food production up the political agenda. With waiting lists for allotments in Camden, for example, currently stretching to an estimated 40 years, and with the nation’s front gardens disappearing under tarmac car parking, attention is turning to the food growing potential of a multitude of overlooked and undervalued city sites.

The colloquium will include a walk and talk tour of new growing plots around Birkbeck College being established over the next year by the ‘Grow Birkbeck’ gardening group, following seed funding from the Capital Growth project.

Carolyn Steel  -  author of 'Hungry City' 
Paul Smyth -  Something & Son
Professor Martin Caraher -
Professor of Food and Health Policy, City University
Ben Reynolds  -  Network Director, Sustain

Gatekeepers & Social Research: Hindrance or Facilitation?

Thursday 16th June   10am - 5pm  Room G01, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Sq., WC1
Cost  -  £10 (cash - payable on the day) this will cover lunch and tea/coffee.   Registration essential - register here

  • Gaining access to a fieldwork site or a population is a key stage in most ethnographic studies and qualitative research, and gatekeepers are often sought by researchers to facilitate this process.
  • Gatekeepers, however, may also hinder the development of research, and contribute to changing its scope entirely.
  • With some exceptions, and despite their key role in shaping, constraining or facilitating research, gatekeepers have received little attention in the social research methods literature.
  • This colloquium aims to make a contribution towards filling this gap, by offering a space for inter- and cross-disciplinary discussion on the difference that gatekeepers make to research.
  • A more detailed programme will be available by the beginning of April 2011.

The colloquium is funded under the ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship scheme (Grant number PTA-026-27-2755) in association with the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research.