Imperial’s Public Engagement team have led the delivery of a new engagement opportunity: The Future Fridge
In recent weeks Imperial’s Public Engagement team have led the delivery of a new engagement opportunity to enable dialogue between Transition to Zero Pollution researchers and community audiences. With the help of external funding from UKRI and the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) to explore and rethink approaches to public dialogue, the Future Fridge has been engaging audiences in West London.
The Future Fridge, designed in collaboration with design agency The Liminal Space and with input from community partner Nourish Hub and Imperial researchers, is an activation created to stimulate conversations around whole systems thinking and the environmental and health impacts of different foods.
Recently piloted at the Nourish Hub in Hammersmith & Fulham, the Future Fridge has doors and drawers that can be opened to reveal different types of food – some familiar, others less so – to prompt discussion and conversation around food and Imperial research. As part of the design of the fridge, audiences are encouraged to share their thoughts and feedback, providing valuable insights into what motivates and drives the choices people make about food, and how they feel about alternative ingredients (such as insect protein in their chicken nuggets, or plant-based milks) and engineered foods (such as chocolate bars containing tiny air bubbles, or meat that has been grown in a lab).
The Future Fridge has been well received by community audiences and feedback from Imperial researchers involved in the development and delivery of the project has been positive. Maria Valdivia Garcia, a Research Associate within the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, commented ‘Members of the public take the new information in different ways. Some are more keen to change or (are open to) trying new food options than others.’ Tilly Collins, a Senior Teaching Fellow within the Centre for Environmental Policy, added ‘Watching people engage with the fridge and ponder was very heartening’.
Ffion Hayward, Nourish Hub Manager, observed ‘It’s been great to see how much people have enjoyed interacting with the fridge. It has enabled people to socialise, have fun and learn, which is central to our purpose here at the Nourish Hub’.
If you would like to see the fridge in action for yourself, please visit the Food Zone at this year’s Great Exhibition Road Festival where you will be able to explore future foods and share your own thoughts and opinions on the subject!
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