FoodCHI 2017

Nov 17 - 18, 2017, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Prof. Ann Light

University of Sussex, UK


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(The Cultural and Spiritual Aspects of) Growing Things to Eat

The practical side of growing food is much researched, from mainstream agricultural technology innovation to studies of development contexts and the fight against poverty. Little has been said about the additional value to be found in growing one’s own, yet our study of food-growing initiatives in a culturally diverse area of an English city showed how worldviews were made and reflected in the act of growing. We found that, particularly for immigrant populations, a relationship with plants from another land was a powerful incentive to grow what they could locally, while all our informants spoke of connections and rhythms that become especially meaningful when looked at with an eye to developing environmental sensibilities and ecological citizenship. This talk traces these themes from a summer food-growing festival in a church hall in East Leeds, UK, to what can be learnt for HCI research.

Short bio:

Ann Light is Professor of Design and Creative Technology at the University of Sussex, leader of the Creative Technology Research Group and a qualitative researcher specializing in design for social wellbeing, participatory design and social innovation. Her current research relates to social justice, sustainability and sharing, with a particular interest in place-shaping. Within this, she specializes in ageing issues, environmental and cultural change, human-computer interaction and how people make futures. She has led 25 UK research council projects and worked with arts and grass-roots organizations and marginalized groups on five continents, in local, transnational and international development settings. She draws on professional experience from the design sector and qualifications in humanities, arts, artificial intelligence and computer science. She is co-author of Designing Connected Products (O’Reilly, 2015) and advises the EU on the sharing economy.

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Video recording of the talk