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  4. The 2018 City Food Policy Symposium – Connecting people with food policy




The 2018 City Food Policy Symposium – Connecting people with food policy




This event is now full and we are no longer taking bookings. If you would like to be kept up to date with activities surrounding this event and to receive follow up materials and outcomes please register your interest at the link below. In the unlikely event that space becomes available we will contact you.



Please note: we will not be printing full speaker details or abstracts for guests on the day. A basic programme with timings will be provided. We encourage guests to download the pdf to their phones or tablets before the event.

The aim of the 2018 City Food Policy Symposium is to learn more about how gathering and translating evidence of lived experience of food-related problems can help make food policy more effective in delivering its goals. It will explore how gathering evidence of lived experiences of food challenges - how citizens and communities experience, explain and respond to them - can inform more effective, equitable and empowering policy solutions.

The morning session will include short “taster” presentations by policymakers, academics and NGOs concerned with different aspects of food, of examples where they have listened to people and where they have involved them in defining problems or crafting solutions.

The afternoon session will be made up of 2.5-3 hour workshops led by the policy, NGOs, programme and academic community. They will be designed to provide learning opportunities for how to gather and translate the evidence of lived experience. A cross-cutting theme for all the workshops will be processed through which the evidence gathered of lived experience can be used to meaningfully improve decision-making.

The output of the symposium will be a report bringing together a shared understanding of the value of gathering evidence of lived experiences and how this evidence can be most effectively translated into transformative action.

This event is generously supported by the Worshipful Company of Cooks.

Symposium Programme (may be subject to amends)

The event will be chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes, Director, Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London

9.30am - 10am Registration and coffee

10am - 10.20am Scene Setting: The spectrum of lived experience from listening to co-creation 
Professor Corinna Hawkes, Director, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London 

10.20am - 11.20am Session One: Short talks on how do we listen, what do we learn

Focus groups for advocacy: listening to the experience of diet-related noncommunicable diseases in Mexico
Cristina Parsons Perez, Capacity Development Director, NCD Alliance, Geneva

Engaging with consumers to inform policy: listening to the publics views on food systems in the UK
Michelle Patel, Head of Social Science, Food Standards Agency, UK

Assessing vulnerability and risk for intervention design in diabetes: insights from research in Houston, Mexico City, Vancouver and other global cities.
Dr Anna-Maria Volkmann, University College London and Director of Research and Training, Cities Changing Diabetes Programme

Engaging Canadians to inform a national food policy: ways of listening to thousands
Raphael Sauve, Agriculture and Agrifoods Canada; Dr Hasan Hutchinson, Director General of Nutritional Policy and Programs, Health Canada; and Diana Bronson, Executive Director, Food Secure Canada (by video)

Interviewing young people for research: listening to teenagers voices on what influences food purchases in and out of schools in Scotland and England.
Professor Wendy Wills, Professor of Food and Public Health, University of Hertfordshire, UK

“Listening posts” to inform activism and policy in development: the experience of high food prices in Asia, Latin America and Africa
Dr Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert, Researcher, Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility

11.20am - 11.40am Coffee break

11.40am - 12.40pm Session Two: Short talks on involving and empowering people with lived experiences

Lessons from Witnesses to Hunger: how to disrupt the status quo through action research and photovoice in the United States.
Tianna Gaines-Turner, Witness to Hunger, Sherita Mouzon, Witness to Hunger and Professor Mariana Chilton, Professor, Health Management and Policy Director, Center for Hunger-Free Communities, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA (by video)

Learning lessons from the experience of food poverty: a Systems Leadership approach to creating food wealth in Cornwall.
Matthew Thompson, Chief Executive, Fifteen-Cornwall

Deliberative processes for analysing research findings: involving small farmers in transforming food systems in Nicaragua and the UK
Elise Wach, Research Advisor, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK; Doctoral Researcher, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, UK

Co-designing user-centered services: involving older people in the UK’s Food for Life programme
Francesca Sanders, Head of Service Design, Food for Life, UK

Group model building for local solutions: involving communities in obesity prevention in rural Australia
Janette Lowe, Executive Officer, Southern Grampians Glenelg Primary Care Partnership, Victoria, Australia (by video)

Food Diaries as citizen-generated evidence: bottom up advocacy for dietary diversity in Western Uganda
Alejandro Guarin, Senior Researcher, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Natalie Lartey, Advocacy and Communications Officer, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

12.40pm - 2pm Lunch

2pm - 5pm Workshops

The 2.5-3 hour workshops will run in parallel and be led by members of the policy, NGOs, programme and academic community. They will be designed to provide learning opportunities for how to gather and translate the evidence of lived experience. A cross-cutting theme for all the workshops will be processes through which the evidence gathered of lived experience can be used to meaningfully improve decision-making.

Workshop One - Empowering people in food poverty

Led by Ben Pearson, Food Power; Empowerment Programme Officer, Church Action on Poverty; Workstream Leader 'Involving Experts by Experience', plus a Food Power pilot participant.

Workshop capacity: 30

This workshop will be used to inform the Food Power programme, a programme which tackles food poverty through people-powered change. The aim will be to identify how the experiences of people in food poverty can be used to inform more effective decisions about programme and policies designed to address it.

Facilitated by the leader of the Food Power workstream on 'Involving Experts by Experience', it will start with a general introduction to Food Power, followed by interactive activity designed to reveal the purpose of involving experts by experience, exploring empowerment & influence. It will then showcase & provide an opportunity to test the three different methods that are to be used in the Food Power ‘Involving Experts by Experience' pilots. This will be followed by a discussion about how the information captured can be used to influence decision-making by programme and policy makers, and what these decision-makers needs are.

This Workshop will provide insights to anyone concerned with effective and sustainable solutions to food poverty. It will be particularly relevant to programme and policy makers at the local level looking to inform their food poverty activities through evidence of lived experience. Decision-makers who would like to feedback and inform the Food Power programme are particularly welcome.

Workshop Two - Better everyday takeaway
Led by Chris Holmes, MD, Healthy Food Programme, Shift

Workshop capacity: 15

Shift, a leading product design charity, have been working on fast food's role in unhealthy weight gain. They are about to start market testing a new social venture to reduce calories in inner city fast food. This co-creation workshop will give you direct experience, as a participant, of the co-creation phase they've just completed and put this step into the context of the overall process of product and service design they follow. The content is 'hot of the press' and the process is live and ongoing. You won't get closer to such a programme without being in the programme team but in return expect to work hard for 3-hours and come away exhausted - not for those who want a relaxed afternoon of presentations.

The workshop is for those interested in: people's relationship with fast food; experiencing a co-creation technique; and product/ service design. You will come away with an overview of a product design process, first hand experience of one stage and some of the most up to date understanding of people's lived experience of fast food.

Workshop Three - Trust in the food system

Led by Michelle Patel, Head of Social Science, Food Standards Agency

Workshop capacity: 30

The FSA’s strategic aim is “Food we can trust”. However, current discourse suggests that worldwide, trust in government, NGOs, business, and media has declined. Some commentators blame this ‘crisis of trust’ on the rise of social media and the democratisation of information. The FSA has been researching the trust and connection that people have in the food system, and what a) the regulator and b) the food industry can learn to maintain, improve and deserve the confidence of the communities we serve.

This workshop is one of a series with industry and civil society where we would like to briefly present the insights gained so far from three years of research into people’s lived experiences and gather views on what drives and builds a trusted a) regulator and b) a trustworthy food system in an increasingly complex world.

It is part of a programme of work to explore the issue in more depth, including establishing new quantitative measures to understand and track public views including the development of a composite measure for trust, a literature review covering the contemporary drivers and barriers to trust in industry, the food system and in regulators and qualitative research which will explore trust with citizens.

This workshop will be of particular interest to those who seek to understand or represent food businesses and consumers of food.

This programme will be brought together later this year in a peer-reviewed synthesis with existing research from the FSA and elsewhere, intended to help locate food policy decisions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the coming years and to inform the wider discourse.

Workshop Four - Engaging in Brexit: How can we meaningfully involve the British public in developing a fairer vision for food and farming in post-Brexit UK

Led by Lynne Davis, RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission, Sinead Fenton, Food Research Collaboration, Centre for Food Policy. City, University of London and Rosalind Sharpe, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London

Workshop capacity: 30 people

The RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission launched in November 2017 with the aim of building a widely shared public mandate for the future of food, farming and the countryside in post-Brexit UK. This workshop will help inform our year long program of national engagement with citizens and practitioners in food, farming and countryside issues.

In June 2016 the British public was formally consulted on EU membership - arguably a simplistic gesture of public engagement with very little follow-up opportunity in shaping the future of this country. So what does it mean to meaningfully involve citizens and stakeholders in the decisions that will shape their future?

Jointly facilitated by the RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission, the Food Research Collaboration and the Centre for Food Policy, this highly participatory workshop will delve into the nature of engagement in food and farming issues. We’ll start by taking stock of the current landscape of engagement, looking at the processes that have gone into existing consultation and policy proposals across the sector. We’ll then draw on the collective experience of participants to explore method and practice through a lens of meaning and efficacy. We’ll mix presentations, multimedia, discussions, problem solving and post-it notes in this creative and collaborative session. From the workshop we’ll build a toolkit based on our collective experiences.

This workshop will provide insights to anyone concerned about how to take the opportunity of Brexit to improve food policy. It is for anyone that has ideas or experience in working with individuals and groups to gather ideas, ask opinions, consult on proposals or deliberate on democracy.

Workshop Five - Co-production: guidelines for respectful collaboration between people with lived experience and campaigners/researchers
Led by Caroline Mockford, Food Justice Campaigner, and Pete Ritchie, Director, Nourish Scotland

Workshop capacity: 25

This workshop will be used to inform the discourse in the food justice movement in the UK and more broadly. The aim is to stimulate thinking and reflection on the complexities of co-production in the food justice movement.

At the start of the workshop, the co-presenters will talk about their experience of co-production, especially on the food justice agenda.  We will also draw more generally on the practice of collaboration in the pursuit of social change between researchers, campaigners and people directly affected by injustice.

The themes raised will include:

  • Representation of lived experience: how researchers and campaigners can add weight to people’s experience without taking over, or making people look like victims.
  • Representativeness: how individual experience turns into collective experience through people finding a way to understand what’s going on.  How to deal with claims that ‘expert users’ are not representative.
  • Power: how setting up ‘of’ organisations can empower people in their relationships with ‘for’ organisations; the particular challenges of developing and nurturing strong ‘of’ organisations around food justice issues, and comparisons with other social movements.
  • Bread and butter issues: the way meetings are organized and managed; how money gets shared.  Examples of best practice and the not so good.

The workshop will then open for a guided discussion

The workshop will provide insights for those of us who are researchers and campaigners and see our work benefiting others. It will remind us of how we can engage coherently and respectfully with those whose experiences we rely on for our work. For those of us who come to the workshop as people with lived experience it will provide an opportunity to share experience of collaboration and remind us what we have a right to expect.

Workshop Six - Visual methods for gathering evidence of lived food experiences

Led by Manuel Franco MD, PhD, School of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Madrid and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dept Epidemiology and Julia Diez B.A. Biology, MPH. School of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Madrid

Workshop capacity: 25

Food practices are embedded in both social relations and social processes, and can be challenging to represent through text. Therefore, this workshop will explore visual methods as tools for understanding social context and for allowing communities to communicate about lived food experiences that might otherwise be left unheard.

During this workshop we will provide a dynamic overview of a variety of visual methodologies and discuss the value of applying these methods to understand food-related problems. In particular, we will reflect on our experience of using the Photovoice method to run participatory photography projectswithin citiesthat bring together civil society and researchers. Photos taken by local residents through this methodology, together with accompanying narratives paint a picture of how this food environment influences citizens' food choices.

We will cover key aspects of visual methods including methodologies, facilitation frameworks, and discussions about how to share and communicate project results through interactive cartographic applications, videos, photographic exhibits, photoessays, research articles, and photobooks.

By the end of this workshop participants will:

  • Understand how visual methods (e.g. Photovoice) can be used to inform the development of food policy recommendations.
  • Understand the benefits of using photographs (or other visual methodologies) to identify community needs and develop appropriate interventions.
  • Use participant-driven data to identify opportunities for advocating for food policy change, and to influence policy-making.

Workshop Seven - Systems Leadership & Food: a complex problem requiring new ways of leading, thinking, feeling and doing

Led by John Jarvis, COO and Di Neal, Enabler, The Leadership Centre

Workshop capacity: 30

The Leadership Centre exists to build leadership capacity to make lasting change happen for citizens and society. Drawing on a wide variety of approaches, we are committed to advancing leadership and connectivity in solving complex problems. We nurture new ways of thinking, behaving and being to make change possible where traditional approaches no longer work, where there’s no blueprint and no obvious way forward.

Whatever the food-related problem there is an interplay of factors - social, cultural, economic and environmental – that prevent people from accessing and consuming high quality, nutritious meals.  Food is a complex issue that sits across a number of policy areas, including health, education and place planning.

To work with complex issues that have multiple causes, issues that we can improve or make worse but never completely resolve, requires a way of working that recognises their complexity and inherent messiness. For over a decade we have been experimenting with how to make lasting change in this context – a sophisticated craft, a blend of art and science coined Systems Leadership.

Systems Leadership infuses leadership behaviours, design skills and living systems theories providing capabilities to lead when you need to work across boundaries on issues with no simple solution.

During this workshop we’ll share stories of those who have lived experience of issues with food and reveal what’s hidden, the problems behind the problems, which are a powerful lens through which we’ll examine the characteristics and nature of these types of problems, and how different forms of leadership can influence these issues.

Workshop participants are encouraged to bring along their own food related challenge to use as a case in point throughout.

By the end of the session participants will have gained insight into their issue including:

  • Identifying types of problems and their nature.
  • Explore and practice some leadership behaviours, tools and techniques required to make headway in complex multifaceted issues.
  • Mapping perspectives, people and power in the system.
  • Develop a safe to fail experiment in relation to your challenge.

5pm - 5.30pm: Closing summary of the day 

Dr Claire Marris, Reader, Centre for Food Policy, City University of London and
Dr Bill Vorley, Senior Associate, International Institute for Environment and Development, UK

5.30 - 6.30pm: Reception

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When and where

9.30am - 6.30pmWednesday 25th April 2018

Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre Tait Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom

Contact Details

City Events Team

+44 (0)20 7040 8037

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