I recently had the honor of presenting at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s (SFA) graduate student conference, ‘Foodways and Social Justice in the U.S. South‘ at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. The colloquium brings together ‘graduate students from a range of disciplines to exchange knowledge, experience, and scholarship’. In my talk, I shared some of my early reflections from my Phd fieldwork and research on the role that philanthropy is playing in the food movement in post-Katrina New Orleans.
I was impressed by the generosity of the SFA (the colloquium is free and the food is fantastic — we had an incredible dinner at Snackbar), the moving and important tour of the campus by Professor Jeff Jackson of the Slavery Research Group, and the stellar food scholarship by other attendees from around the country.
The Marshall Institute at the London School of Economics recently awarded research grants and I am happy to selected as an award recipient. The Marshall Institute aims to increase the impact and effectiveness of private action for public benefit through research, teaching and convening. Grants are given to empirical research (qualitative and quantitative) and the theoretical underpinnings (economic, social, political, moral) of private action for public benefit.
As private funding is increasingly circulating in development and humanitarian aid, this project will identify the sources of knowledge that inform, inspire and produce such interventions. This research examines the substantial philanthropic activity in foodscapes and food systems in New Orleans more than a decade after Hurricane Katrina. Many projects in New Orleans have been funded or spearheaded by high-profile individuals, and this research seeks to understand the role that celebrity plays in processes of knowledge production.
Read more about the award and other recipients.
I’m honored to be selected as 2017 Visiting Scholar at the Small Center for Collaborative Design and the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University. I’m fortunate to have worked previously with the stellar faculty and staff from both Centers as the Assistant Director of Grow Dat Youth Farm.
I have no doubt that Tulane will be a wonderful academic home while I am conducting my fieldwork in New Orleans.
Local NPR affiliate WWNO New Orleans Public Radio asked me to speak with them about celebrity humanitarianism in the decade since Hurricane Katrina. I chatted with the fabulous Jesse Hardman near the eco-friendly homes built by Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation.
The interview starts at about minute 10:15 – click here to listen.
I’m currently continuing to explore the role of celebrities and business leaders in aid and development in my PhD research.
I was honored to be selected to present at the #EverydayHumanitarianism: Ethics, Affects and Practices conference. The convening was coordinated by the research network on celebrity and North-South relations (see their excellent new book here) and took place on the LSE campus this spring.
Our panel was part of the track on ‘Commodification — The Humanitarian Marketplace’, exploring issues in Philanthropy, Brand Aid, Celebrity Endorsement, Micro-Finance, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Jon Emmett who runs the Sustainability Blog at The London School of Economics and Political Science asked if I would write a piece for the LSE environmental community about the work and mission of Grow Dat Youth Farm, and I was happy to oblige.
‘At Grow Dat Youth Farm, we use chemical-free farming methods to build a resilient sustainable agricultural system. To us that means producing food by supporting natural ecological systems and stewarding natural and human resources for the future. Located on a former golf course, we do not use chemical-based pesticides or fertilisers. Instead, we utilise techniques such as cover cropping, composting, companion planting, farmscaping and crop rotation to stimulate micro-biological activity and soil health.’
Read more here.
Youth Crew Members inspect a crop of lettuces in the field at Grow Dat in New Orleans, Louisiana
I had the honor to work with artist Anna Henson for her on-going project ‘Icons: Women Workers’. An interactive digital portrait places me at sunset in front of the hoop house at Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, Louisiana.
I am proud to stand alongside Courtney Harvey, Sister Alison McCrary, Malliron Hodge and Claire Graves – all incredible women.
About the project
Icons : Women Workers is an ongoing series of interactive video portraits aiming to create a gesture-based movement dialogue between a viewer and digital portrait, while investigating a new iconography of women in the workplace. A hybrid of documentary and staged imagery, with symbolism drawn from varied religious and spiritual sources, the work blurs performativity with the reality of the women’s working lives. The objects shown below the portraits, significant to each woman’s working life, as well as the hand positions (mudras), were chosen in collaboration with each portrait subject. More here.