Not to be Missed: Food Politics & Cultures Festival: A Festival of the Arts, Humanities & Social Science

Food Politics & Cultures Festival: A Festival of the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
When: 10 – 12 November 2017
Where: Homecoming Centre (District 6 Museum)


Poster Option Final 22 Sep copy 2


Hosted by the Food Politics and Cultures Project within the Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC, the festival brings together intellectual activists, scholars, students and artists to generate interdisciplinary conversations about and responses to the socio-political implications of food items, foodwork and food consumption. The festival will challenge the rigid and technical models that usually frame activism and scholarship about food, land and agrarian studies, and will focus on multidimensional, interdisciplinary and creative responses to and dynamic conversations about the myriad facets of food in our lives.

Food is central to our day-to-day experiences of physical survival, pleasure and work. Yet scholarship rarely confronts this adequately, even though we live at a time when corporate capitalism controls the choices we make about food and how to grow and eat it; when the impact of harmful genetic engineering constantly threatens, what is on our plates; and when groups such as small-scale farmers, domestic cooks and artists are resiliently searching for liberating ways to grow, eat and think about food.

Other patterns related to food in our present include:

  • The regional, national and global land and agrarian struggles that our current food distribution and consumption is based upon;
  • The resilience of forms of food production cooking and eating that testify to the rich networks of food in our lives;
  • The role of South African corporate capitalism and neo-liberalism in shaping food chains on the continent;
  • The centrality of foodwork and cooking in feminised spaces that are often marginalised or trivialised;
  • The centrality of food items, eating and cuisine in cultural representations of pleasure, sociality, conviviality and wellbeing;
  • The pivotal role of food in fictional, dramatic and artistic representations of individual and collective experiences.

Broader themes for the festival include:

  • Food politics, cultures, histories and geographies;
  • Foodways, coloniality, racism and migration;
  • Food and eating: representing social identities and lifestyle;
  • Embodiment, the visceral and pleasure;
  • Food struggles, food sovereignty and agrarian transformation;
  • Nature/Society and the ecological crisis.


Responding to these themes, the festival showcases and celebrates new thinking by students and scholar-activists, as well as knowledge production in several genres including fiction, the visual arts and performance. The festival is also aimed at generating conversations between those working in the academy and specialist areas of cultural production, and the broader public.


The festival will include:

  • Open lectures and panel discussions by eminent public intellectuals and scholar activists including Desiree Lewis; Gabeba Baderoon Donna Andrews; Angelo Fick and many more;
  • A Visual Art Exhibition, drawing on Angelo Fick’s formulation of food as both order and disorder which complements the Food Festival and explores individual and collective engagements and representations of food
  • Talks and Demos
  • Celebrations, Musical performances and poetry
  • Film Screenings: Bitter Grapes and more
  • Showcasing a new Recipe project and exhibition
  • A Book launch of Cutting Carrots the Wrong Way: an Anthology of Poetry and Prose about Food by UWC postgraduate creative writing students Jolyn Phillips, Kerry Hammerton, Musa Khanyile, Sindiwe Magona and others read from their work, edited by Kobus Moolman head of creative writing in the department of English Studies, UWC. (published by uHlanga Press).
  • A new play by Mike van Graan titled Another One’s Bread (A dark comedy about funerals, feeding and faking, featuring Faniswa Yisa, Chuma Sopotela, Awethu Hleli and Motlatji Ditodi, directed by Pamela Nomvete).


For more information, contact


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