Friday 24th February I left Glasgow with an empty soup pot and headed off to Manchester. I gathered the ingredients of my soup as a travelled, hoping to provide physical as well as intellectual nourishment. Disappointingly I found little other than branded ingredients from chain stores on my journey apart my last stop which was a small open air stall with an amazing variety of veg from round the world.
I had a really good discussion with people who attended the talk at the Chinese Arts Centre about food and art. It was a mixed group of people interested in food, sustainability, art and community development and everyone was open and generous in their contributions to the discussion.
People contributed their personal experiences and thoughts on how they relate to food;. We talked about the value placed on it from scarcity, how it is crafted and served, who it was bought from, how it was produced, the health giving properties and who it was eaten with. Specifically in relation to Chinese culture we talked about the health giving properties of soup and the customs around it’s consumption.
We went on to discuss what an artist’s role can be in drawing attention to or exploring that relationship through engagement with communities. It developed into talking a lot about not how the artist related to the community but to the spaces and cross overs between artists and other professionals.
I filled my pot with the parsnip, carrot, thyme that people had brought to talk about and the ideas, challenges and thoughts from the discussion and headed back to Glasgow.