The First Food Residency reaches out to audiences through visual mediums and creative activity. This happens during residencies as well as the time in between.
While residencies are happening, lead artists Antonia and Anna Bruce organise for residents to visit local growers, farms, charities, institutions and galleries. This develops local awareness of residency activities, which is important in the lead up to exhibitions, as well as giving the residents inspiration and contacts for their creative research.
In previous years residents have shared their research through group presentations and exhibitions. These are publicised through local media, as well as by our supporters which have included the British Council and The Mexican Embassy. Following the inclusion of First Food as an official Mex/UK project in 2015, details and images from that years residency were published in a book, as well as projected at the V&A during the celebrations that concluded the year.
Outside of residencies, British and Mexican ambassadors for First Food who include the lead artists and previous residents, build relations and expand the project. This happens through presentations to institutions and collectives, as well as collaborations with individuals already working with related subject matter. The purpose of this is to grow audiences engaged in the themes of the First Food project, as well as to specifically raise awareness for opportunities with future residencies.
First Food lead artists also maintain close contact with artists engaged with FFR. They support artists with post-residency exhibitions as well working with the artists to put on themed shows between residencies. This activity helps keep creativity alive between each residency and continues to promote a platform for dialogue between artists and audience.
There have been research trips within Mexico and the UK to explore possibilities and these have led to new partnerships and collaborations. Key developments that have come from these trips include ties with Chelsea and Reading in the UK. A major trip to Real de Catorce, Mexico at the end of 2015 inspired research into the unique culture and environment of the region, working with the Christian and Huichol communities to understand the use of food in ritual practice. This trip also formed the basis of an invitation from the Diocese of Matahuala for a future residency to be held in Real de Catorce.
Community engagement has been developed through a programme of workshops run by Greer Pester, who previously accompanied First Food Residency to Oaxaca, 2015. This work was shared with communities in the UK, beginning September 2016. The first workshops were held at the Institute of Education in Reading and at The Museum of English Rural Life. Collaborating with FFR lead artist Antonia, Greer is continuing to develop workshops around amaranth and 'future foods'. In recent years workshops have taken place in England, Scotland and Mexico.
Antonia has been pursuing outreach with the amaranth project, showcasing the work so far at the Royal Berkshire show, as well as giving presentations at MERL and talks with Macmillan.
All activities during residencies are documented. We also maintain close contact with previous residents and contributors, encouraging them to share with us records of any work that has come out of engagement with First Food. This documentation is regularly posted on the residency Facebook page, and can be used as a resource for presentations and workshops organised in relation to the First Food Residency.