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Food Play: a novel method for visceral geographers and health researchers

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Duika Burges WatsonORCiD, Vincent Deary



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This paper reinforces the value of visceral geographic approaches to health research as a method ‘beyond talking’. The paper establishes and sets out an integrative embodied multi-sensory research methodology - food play. Researchers across the social sciences and sciences are exploring the limits of logo and researcher centric research methods and exploring peoples sensory experience of themselves and the wider world using participatory, patient-centred, multi-sensory, visceral and biosocial geographic approaches. With reference to the growing interest in visceral approaches to research in geography, and sensory research in neurology, anthropology and embodied cognition in psychology, we argue that the presence and pungency of food uniquely animates research, and for our research, provided highly individualised insight into the lived experience of living long term with eating difficulties, allowing visceral difference to emerge and be expressed. We illustrate our approach with reference to a six-year research project, Resources for Living, co-produced with survivors of head and neck cancer and underpinned by a series of food play workshops to address post-treatment and chronic difficulties with food and eating.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burges Watson DL, Lewis S, Campbel M, Bryant V, Storey S, Deary V

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health and Place

Year: 2019

Volume: 57

Pages: 139-146

Print publication date: 01/05/2019

Online publication date: 29/04/2019

Acceptance date: 11/04/2019

Date deposited: 03/05/2019

ISSN (print): 1353-8292

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2054

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.04.004


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