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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2020  /  September 2020  /  Laura’s practice-led PhD wins International Visual Project Award

Laura’s practice-led PhD wins International Visual Project Award

Claire Dwyer’s continuing legacy

Laura’s practice-led PhD wins International Visual Project Award

UCL Geography Laura Cuch’s PhD project, Spiritual Flavours has won the Rieger Paper/Project Award 2020 of the International Visual Sociology Association.

The award is a further recognition of the legacy of Professor Claire Dwyer, through the Ealing-based, AHRC funded project, Making Suburban Faith, she led in with Professor David Gilbert (Royal Holloway UL).

Laura’s research, associated with this project, comprised three creative visual outputs: a recipe photobook; a 28-minute film and the photographic series ‘Meals’, exploring different aspects of the relations between food and spirituality.

Like the wider project, Laura’s research compared the religious and cultural diversity of contemporary suburban London, involving a synagogue, a Sri Lankan Hindu Temple, a mosque, a Sikh Gurdwara, an Anglican church, a Roman Catholic church, a Polish Catholic church and a Pentecostal church.

Community members were invited to contribute recipes significant to their spirituality, personal histories and ways of practicing and experiencing religion. Although not exclusively ‘spiritual’, many different foods and food rituals featured as part of religious and community practices, for example associated with religious events and fasts. Dishes were also cooked as part of community-outreach, offered to the general public, celebrating community diversity, or feeding people in need.

The project examined the gendered work underpinning religious food practices, and other key issues such as how foods may provide children with religious education, or certain dishes, flavours and smells may connect people with their childhoods and with others.

Through combinations of interviews, cooking and photographic/film sessions, it explored affective relationships with food and religious practices, including personal experiences of home, family, community, tradition, diversity, migration, adaptation and belief.

It thus sought to enrich understanding of the sociocultural life of multi-faith suburbia, connecting the sensorial, the personal and the communal through visual and narrative associations and contrasts across different experiences.



Making Suburban Faith

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