Indian corn

Indian corn

Food is a conversation that transcends most boundaries. As something we experience, it is both a necessity and yet part of our most elaborate rituals. Our connections to food, also are multi-faceted and deeply emotional: childhood memories of grandmothers’ baking, or perhaps the smells and tastes of far off lands we happily left behind or long for daily. We taste joy, poverty, home, love, success….Food is at the periphery and also at the heart of the human of the human experience.

With such a relationship, it makes sense to try to understand the human experience with food through science, art, history, and culture. From the insights from such divergent disciplines we glean understanding of our humanity that has implications in building successful businesses, in enhancing food security and overall wellbeing in the developing world, and in fostering better health and happiness in the developed world. The Making Sense of Food Project seeks to foster inter-disciplinary dialogue about the way in which meaning is constructed and negotiated via our experience with food. In particular, we seek to explore and investigate a core set of questions:

–What does food mean and symbolize? How is that meaning created? How is that
meaning communicated?
–What emotions does food or food imagery evoke? Can/how is food used as therapy for refugees?
–How is food experienced? How does food shape our experience? How are these experiences unique across cultures, social strata, age, gender, discipline?

These questions have multifaceted answers. The aim of this project is to find the unique ways in which food itself lies at the intersection of the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Furthermore, the project aims to bridge the gap between academics, artists, and food practitioners (from chefs, to restauranteurs, to policy makers). The project is open-ended and in true interdisciplinary form, can be approached from a number of avenues; suggested themes include:

Food and Art
o Literature
o Visual art
o Photography – food styling
o Music

Food and Public Policy
o Food security
o Globalization

The Business of Food
o Food buying
o Food selling
o Food marketing

Food and authenticity

Food and identity
o Culture
o Religion
o Gender
o Age
o Memory
o Immigration

Food and Industry (hospitality)
o Menus
o Chefs
o Restaurateurs
o Sommeliers
o Hotels