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Activities around digging have again become very popular recently, including in the attention they have received from cultural institutions. Many cultural institutions have in recent years recreated wartime (allotment) gardens to highlight a range of different issues and values. Such exhibitions and events, organized during a time of renewed austerity measures, increased concerns around food and the environment, draw obvious parallels to the contemporary moment, offering possibilities to rethink our own values. This panel brings together exciting new research that focuses on this renewed interest in growing your own food.
The first half of the panel highlights work from the recently completed ‘Everyday Growing Cultures’ project, which focused on the potentially transformative value of connecting two currently disparate communities: allotments growers and the open data community. Based on comparative research in Manchester and Sheffield, it explores potential effects of digital engagement and open data for allotment holders to build stronger, more active communities, benefit local economies and improve environmental sustainability and food security. The second half of the panel seeks to understand the different ways in which issues around digging have reemerged in recent years, to understand these by looking at how they have been expressed and mobilized by different people and actors. This can be expressed as actual digging linked to food production, symbolic digging as performance, digging up local histories, or as new forms of gift-giving.
Panel presentations from: Farida Vis, Ian Humphrey, Yana Manyukhina and Penny Rivlin. Penny's slides will be uploaded separately.