Behind the food on our plates lies a group of real people with lives like, and unlike, our own. We invite you to come and meet them…
The people featured in this exhibition are local food and drink producers working in Lancashire. Most of us take their work for granted. Few of us now plant seeds and harvest what grows from them; or raise, then butcher, an animal. But we depend on the people who do. Without them, we literally couldn’t survive, because we all have to eat.
When we pick up a milk carton, or a bag of potatoes, we see ‘things’, not people. We don’t often acknowledge or value those who make our survival possible. This exhibition enables us to see and hear the faces and voices behind our food, the work that they do, and to understand that the issues affecting them are ones that affect us all:
- Maintaining relationships with friends, family and wider communities
- Making a living in a world where our income is being constantly driven down
- The satisfaction of creating ‘by hand’ versus the pressure to industrialise to bring down costs
- Governmental regulations and political decisions
- Local and global trade conditions
- Climate change
‘Sustainability’ could sum up all of this, but it’s become such a buzzword it doesn’t really mean much anymore. Understanding the context of food production makes it come to life again.
To put this exhibition together, we visited each of the producers where they work, to take photographs and interview them. Articulate, passionate, and knowledgeable, they shared with us their wisdom and experience. We have drawn out key themes in the text that form part of the exhibition, but encourage you to read the transcripts, or listen to the interviews in their entirety (see sidebar to right), to gain a fuller understanding of the stories and the context the producers work in.
As this exhibition toured the local area in 2016/17, stop motion animation workshops were run with community groups and the public, to help people engage further with the images and producers’ stories. This creative process enabled participants to reflect on their understanding of the role food plays in their own lives. The animated films produced in these workshops are available to view online, along with the images and transcripts of the interviews.
Photographer: Jonathan Bean
Animator: Ginny Koppenhol
Thankyou to Lauren Walker for audio mentoring and support in bringing the stories alive.
Please complete the exhibition feedback form at http://s.coop/25mvz
The exhibition launched on Thursday 20th October from 7:00-8:30pm at the The Storey, Lancaster. The exhibition’s photography and stories were shared for the first time, and Johnny and Ginny talked about the artwork.
On Saturday 22nd October a free taster drop-in animation workshop was run from 2-4pm in the Thomas Storey Room at the Storey, Lancaster. These are the resulting animations:
The Faces behind Our Food exhibition toured Lancaster District’s cafés and art venues until May 2017. Venues and dates included the following:
- 20-31 October 2016: The Storey Institute
- 1-30 November 2016: Pavilion Café, Williamson Park
- December 2016 – January 2017: An art trail will be created across a number of Lancaster’s cafés including The Radish, The Whale Tail Café, Roots Vegetarian Café, The Cornerstone Café, and Wilde & Well Read (formally the Novel Café)
- 1-28 February 2017: Lancaster University
- 1-31 March 2017: Hot House, Morecambe
- 1-31 April 2017: Lancaster Library
- 1-28 May 2017: Halton Mill
Stop-motion animation workshops ran alongside the exhibition to explore the artwork and the producers’ stories further.
All artwork, including animations, were shown at a final event on the 27th May 2017 at Halton Mill.
The exhibition and workshops were all free of charge.
Thanks also to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for additional support that made this project possible.