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Food play: A novel research methodology for visceral geographers and health researchers

Burges Watson, D.L.; Lewis, S.; Campbell, M.; Bryant, V.; Storey, S.T.; Deary, V.

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D.L. Burges Watson

S. Lewis

M. Campbell

V. Bryant

S.T. Storey

V. Deary


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 11, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 29, 2019
Publication Date May 31, 2019
Deposit Date May 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 29, 2020
Journal Health & Place
Print ISSN 1353-8292
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Pages 139-146
Public URL


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