Research

Each of METIS’s projects takes place in a context of artistic research. Two concepts have become central drivers of the ideas behind Metis’ work: the idea of ‘attention’ and the concept of ‘rehearsal’.

ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIES: FOOD

 

Whilst conducting her research in public interviews to explore climate change scenarios, Zoe has come across some interesting and zany approaches to help tackle the problem of food wastage in the UK.  Some are blatantly commercial apps and others are the result of community minded individuals getting together and  ‘doing their bit’.  We have listed below each of these approaches together with a short description.

 

Too Good To Go

‘Our mission is to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. Through the TGTG app we’re raising awareness of food waste by making surplus food available for collection before a store closes its breakfast, lunch or dinner service’.

Simply, restaurants and fast food outlets can sell off waste food – that would otherwise go into landfill – to consumers, who would pay only approximately £3  for the meal. The app is free to download and the London office of TGTG administers the transaction and sends out biodegradable take away containers. The consumer just shows the payment confirmation to the restaurant and collects the meal at a given time. TGTG take £1 admin cost per transaction, with no joining fee.

 

Olio

OLIO is a free app connecting neighbours with each other and with local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away. The app shows distances between fellow users. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. For your convenience, OLIO can also be used for non-food household items too.

 

 Community Fridges

What is a community fridge?

The Community Fridge is not a wholly new idea: the UK’s first community fridge was launched in Frome in 2016, to remarkable success. Since then, a 12-month trial by Sainsbury’s in Swadlincote has further demonstrated the efficacy of sharing surplus food. During the trial, food sharing initiatives such as a Community Fridge and the food-sharing app Olio, showed huge promise with residents sharing the equivalent of over 10,000 food items. Brixton also has a successful community fridge.

Cambridge Sustainable Food  has recently launched a community fridge, located in the Edge cafe on Mill Road: funded by Sainsbury’s, this fridge will help to simultaneously reduce food waste whilst also providing a source of food for those who require it – and who knows, maybe it will strengthen the community spirit on the side as well!

Anyone can put good but unwanted food into the fridge, or take it out to take home and eat. The fridge will be monitored to make sure nothing is kept past its use-by date, and to make sure nothing inappropriate gets put in the fridge.

 

 

Food Hub

FoodHub gathers professional food buyers, wholesale producers, distributors and industry suppliers in one dynamic community. It was started in America and currently has nearly 7,000 members.  It is starting to appear in the UK now.

 

Food Cycle

Food cycle  a national charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

 

Transition network

Below is a quote from the website of Transition network:

‘Faced with uncertain energy prices and climate change, our response is to build a stronger, more versatile community – a community with the capacity to adapt to whatever happens and where we can be happy and healthy. Making better use of local resources also means saving money – by growing more of our own food and by reusing and adapting stuff instead of throwing it away’.

 

Research In Public

Over the course of our research and development, we have been developing a new way of making work, which seeks to share as much of the research process as possible with the public, as the project developed. This commitment was made as a result of wanting to share with audiences not only the artistic results of our research process, but also the insights gained along the way. In practice, this has entailed both online and live engagements, including the creation of the World Factory shirt, a digitally-enhanced consumer item that reveals the people and processes behind its making.

The Digital Quilt:  The process of artistic research has been shared in public through this bespoke interactive website. A patchwork of texts, images and videos, the digital quilt provides a communication platform and research-sharing tool for international exchange and conversations between artists, and a way of involving the public in sharing stories and knowledge. See here for more details.

Café Conversations: These are small-scale public events where we invite experts to share their stories with us, in the informal setting of a café or gallery, with the dual purpose of: (1) bringing together different perspectives on the history and politics of the global textile system, to further our research (2) developing a live, public, political conversation around these questions These events not only enabled us to invite experts to share their perspectives with a wider audience than just the artists involved in the project, but through attracting an excitingly diverse audience, has brought us into contact with further experts we might never otherwise have met (e.g. Anne Lally, consultant with the Fairwear Foundation, and Mark Dowling, an expert in investigating companies’ resource-use with Giraffe Management – both of were attendees at a Café Conversation who we then invited to speak at subsequent events). The other outcome of this process was to hone a mode of public face-to-face conversation about political issues, bringing together strangers in groups of between 25-50, depending on the event, to address some urgent questions of our time. These experiences fed directly into the way we then structured the parameters for the conversations invited in the World Factory performances in April-June 2015.

For further details of speakers and events, please see:

World Factory: a cafe conversation at The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester – February 2015

CVS Media House residency – February 2015

World Factory: considering consumption – January 2015

Pulse: The Shirt and The Shop – June 2014

Hunt&Darton’s POP-UP Shop: Launching the Digital Quilt – May 2014

World Factory: 28 Hands Make Light Work – February 2014

World Factory: A Conversation in Progress – November 2013

World Factory: Presenting Research – May 2013

3rd Ring Out

3rd Ring Out was a practice-led research project, developed between 2008 and 2012. Please click here for an essay outlining the research context for the project.

Copyright © Metis Arts 2013