Eating Mothers - Milk Matters

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Food is an embodied medium; rich in social paradoxes and entanglements. As such, accessing these complexities and nuances of food and eating requires innovative approaches to research.

This study is situated within the context of global food systems and their environmental impacts. It explores the intersection between human and non-human milk and its role in sustainable development. This workshop builds on food design as a critical medium to understand, dissect and reflect on milk in contemporary UK culture.

Participants will be invited to use design methods to critically evaluate milk against themes of 'embodiment', 'queering milk', 'scenes of milk', and ‘milk values’. The workshop seeks to introduce and evaluate research methods designed to provide new insights into this complicated territory and identify opportunities for alternative futures of milk. During the workshop participants will be invited to explore milk by taking part in taste, smell, and tactile activities. A combination of cultural probes and sensory experiences will be used to facilitate deeper emotional and critical understandings of the identified themes.

‘What if?' scenarios and problem statements will be used to trigger responses and develop ideas. The workshop will explore: the embodied dimensions of feeding and eating through consideration of spaces and bodily functions; 'Queering' milk, how heteronormative elements may be challenged; milk 'scenes', the normalisations of milk in society; and the economic and cultural values of milk(s).

This workshop is part of a programme of work that seeks to develop new insights into the use of milk in UK food culture to enable more sustainable practices. It acknowledges that urgent changes are needed to change the human impacts on the planet. Human breastmilk, powdered formula milk, milks from non-human mammals and plant-based dairy ‘alternatives’ present a complex set of challenges which need further examination, exploration and discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpanding communities of sustainable practice symposium proceedings 2018
PublisherLeeds Arts University
ISBN (Print)9780956197085
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventExpanding Communities of Sustainable Practice - Leeds Arts University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Nov 201816 Nov 2018


ConferenceExpanding Communities of Sustainable Practice
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Research Through Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • Sustainable Development
  • Motherhood
  • Food Design
  • Sustainable Food
  • Breastfeeding
  • Feminist Design
  • Design Research
  • Design For Change
  • Workshop
  • Leeds Arts University
  • AHRC
  • Brighton
  • Practice based
  • Design Research For Change
  • bodies
  • Food
  • Milk
  • Eating Bodies


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