IFSTAL Digest 19/10/16

IFSTAL Digest 19/10/16

by Rebecca White -
Number of replies: 0


It’s the morning after the night before, and  it feels nice to have properly launched IFSTAL for this year. It is also a great relief that the technology-and-us worked for the livestreaming section – Phew!

Read on for details about the launches, information about the newly launched units, the IFSTAL away day and PhD symposium. We finish with information about other relevant events & happenings in and around our Universities. Sorry, bit of a long one, but there's lots going on!


We think about 250 people attended the launches altogether – for those who did thanks for coming, we hope you had a good evening. For those that didn’t, we’ll be putting up reports about each location under the Portal's big events tile here, and if it works a film of the live-streaming too. 

In Oxford we had a stand-up-sit-down round of introductions. Here are the MSc students in the room standing up and introducing themselves. I was pretty surprised to find that in response to the question, ‘have you ever been to an abattoir’, at least 7 people stood up – audience members had visited them in Puerto Rico, the Pacific Islands, Namibia and the UK.

Some people standing and some sitting at the Oxford Launch

In Warwick the evening kicked off with brief introductions from and networking with workplace visitors from WRAP, Coventry Fair Share and Innovation for Agriculture amongst others.

People networking at the Warwick Launch

Reading launched with good representation from the schools of Agriculture, Policy and Development (APD), Food and Nutritional Sciences (FNS), and the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences (SAGES), among others – over 80 students attended the event! 

Reading students sitting in a lecture theatre

In London the livestreaming was followed by a panel discussion between Professor Jane Dixon at City, Professor Peter Mollinga from SOAS/LCIRAH and Professor Bhavani Shankar at SOAS and RVC – a great mix of experience in sociology, applied economics, development studies and public health, all reflecting on the role of interdisciplinarity.

London students sitting in a lecture theatre


We have now also launched our two online units for this term. They can be found on the Portal under the big tile, ‘Online Course’. Unit 1 is an Introduction to the Food System, with sections on food security and health, food and the environment, and human and animal health. Unit 2 is an introduction to Systems Thinking. Please take a look!

Each unit is linked to a workshop held at each university. We’ll be sending out more details about these as the days draw nearer.

Thanks to all of you who have been filling out your profiles and introducing yourselves on the forum – it is fantastic to see the richness and diversity of IFSTAL. We’ll be going through these introductions and looking for themes and common interests with the potential to form discussion groups and develop events.

If you haven’t filled out your profile, it is in the top right corner of the IFSTAL Portal homepage.

There is also portal training taking place for London students, on the 27th October – look under the Portal Training heading here.


We have our first Away Day on Saturday 12th November in London - ‘Communicating in the Food Systems Community’.  This is a free event. We’ll have a session from Becky Hall, Executive Coach and Organisational Development Consultant, on tailoring communication and then will put this into practice with real world workplace scenarios. We’ll have a range of practitioners join us and of course it is a chance to meet some in the IFSTAL community. If you are interested in attending, and want to know more, look at the Away Day section of the Events tile here.  Applications close on 30th October 


For IFSTAL PhD students we also have a symposium on Thursday 24th November, at the Cedars Conference Centre, Reading University. 

This symposium has two purposes – to share and present research as well as to reflect on interdisciplinary research. Interdisciplinary research has helped to address many complex problems in the food system, yet it is not without its challenges. This workshop is designed for IFSTAL PhD students to provide insights into the different ways of doing interdisciplinary research, to draw attention to the potential problems posed by interdisciplinary research and to support critical reflection on the students' own doctoral research.  

Applications open click here to apply. A programme will come out shortly. 


Two Brexit-food events, one in Oxford and one in London:

Visioning Food after Brexit

November 1st, 7-9pm in Oxford. Duncan Williamson, Head of Food Policy, WWF will give his agenda for change, with a panel responding. Register here

First it’s exit the Corn Laws (1846). Then its Brexit (2016). Now what? 

A Food Thinkers event – Prof. Tim Lang. 26th October, 4-5:30pm City University. Register here 

Oxford Food Forum:

Are you at Oxford University, or live in and around Oxford? Do you want to get involved in organizing a student food conference, reading groups or lunch talks? Join the Oxford Food Forum!


Our first meeting will be on Tuesday 25/10 at 1pm, Gottman room in the School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University.

Discounts for the following events this week:

Food Tech Week in London have just announced that they are giving away 5 free tickets to the main Sustainability event on Monday. Meeting of the Minds: Solutions to Feeding the 9 Billion. This is a 2 part event. 

·  The morning session covers topics such as food waste, increasing traceability, the use of Blockchain and packaging innovation  

·  The afternoon session focuses on smarter growing and alternative protein sources 

Full price tickets are £60 each. In order to apply for the free tickets, people need to click 'apply' at the bottom of the page on the session they would like to attend (or both if they want!) and tell us why they'd like to come. They will be prompted to register for an account if they don't have one already. We will be reviewing all applications tomorrow and inviting the lucky few to attend!

Food Tech Week also features the following free events, including: 

Hope you have a good couple of weeks - we'll send out another digest then.

With best wishes, on behalf of the IFSTAL team,

Bex (Oxford EC)