BISR Food Group: Food Sharing Activism in London: a Critical Reflection on Engaged Ethnography and Collaborative Participant Observation

Starts 15 March 2017 - 16:30
Finishes 15 March 2017 - 18:00
Venue Birkbeck, University of London. Paul Hirst Seminar Room (102), 10 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HJ.
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Free entry; first come, first seated
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BISR Food Group: Food Sharing Activism in London: a Critical Reflection on Engaged Ethnography and Collaborative Participant Observation

Free event open to all: First come, First seated

Speaker: Dr Brigida Marovelli, Visiting Research Fellow, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research and Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the SHARECITY project, Trinity College Dublin

This seminar will focus on the ongoing ethnographic work I am conducting in London around food sharing as part of an international research project "SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food-sharing economies" led by Anna Davies at Trinity College Dublin. SHARECITY is an international collaborative investigation of food sharing economies in cities and their potential to contribute to sustainable urban transitions. After completion of SHARECITY100, an online searchable database of more than 4000 initiatives in 100 cities, we have now commenced in-depth ethnographic studies of food sharing enterprises in 9 cities around the world.

In this talk I will describe my methodological approach to fieldwork around 4 London-based initiatives. I have been employing a collaborative form of participant observation to understand social practices from within the organisations. This hands-on approach brought me back to local community kitchens, where I have been volunteering in the past for more than 10 years, and my own cooking skills became a tool to access the field.  Entering the flow and the messiness of each initiatives’ daily activities consequently aims to create an embodied understanding of what happens on the ground, but is also translates into a reconfiguration of the relationship between the researcher and the participants. This type of ethnography challenges researchers in terms of positioning, which is never clear-cut, but also in matters of accountability towards participants.

For more information about the BISR Food Group, please contact Jason Edwards.

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) is the focal point for social research at Birkbeck and a hub for the dissemination and discussion of social research in London and beyond.

 

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Dr Brigida Marovello