In a borough where food bank use has increased alongside the rise of artisan farmers’ markets and café culture, researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London are collaborating with the local community to explore the how, what, where, when and why of what we eat.
‘Austerity Bites: Food Stories from Lewisham’ – an exhibition organised by the Department of Anthropology – runs at the Professor Stuart Hall Building at our New Cross (SE14) campus from 25 May until 6 June, with a private view on 24 May.
Is a £3 coffee ridiculous, or an every day habit? How have welfare reforms affected households and individuals food consumption? What are older residents’ food memories? And what do mothers have to say about their budgets, healthy eating and feeding the family?
Food is a main marker of identity in a Lewisham, one of the most culturally diverse but also one of the most deprived areas of London. It has been particularly affected by the politics of austerity and food is materially and symbolically at the heart of the anxieties residents share.
From food banks to allotments, cooperatives and soup kitchens to the rise of independent coffee shops, farmers’ markets and gastro pubs, the Austerity Bites exhibition will provide food for thought on how we as individuals and collectives experience social change through food.
The exhibition is part of a wider project of extensive interviews, workshops and interactions with groups of local residents, who talk about their routines and discuss the many meanings of food consumption in Lewisham.
Goldsmiths’ anthropologists have collaborated with the Grinling Gibbons and Lucas Vale Federation of Primary Schools, the community kitchen run by the Field Community Centre, Age Exchange, local restaurants, the Hill Cafe, and individuals, to bring together different perspectives.
This exhibition was curated by Gabriela Nicolescu, Dominique Santos and Henrike Donner.
Join us on Tuesday 24 May from 5.30pm for a BBQ and drinks reception.
The exhibition is accompanied by the following Austerity Bites events:
- On 27 May Curzon Goldsmiths hosts Austerity Bites: Film Feast, a day of cinema documenting the everyday struggles and contestations around the unequal production, distribution and consumption of food in Western society.
- Join us on 17 June (Deptford Lounge, SE8, from 5.30pm – 7pm) for Austerity Bites: Local Responses to Food Insecurity, a round table discussion bringing together local residents, researchers and activists to discuss the variety of experiences, reasons for, and local responses to food insecurity in Lewisham and beyond. Free admission, but tickets can be reserved through Eventbrite.
Visit lewishamfoodstories.wordpress.com for more information and the latest project developments