Two exhibitions were
staged on consecutive days over the 16th and 17th June at an allotment grower’s
conference in Dunblane and at a community centre in Granton, Edinburgh. These
exhibitions represent a milestone as all of the elements of our exhibition
finally came together and were presented as envisaged by the co-creation group.
The two locations were
in quite different communities. Dunblane is an affluent middle class small town
and Granton is among the most deprived areas of Scotland. The exhibition
consisted of a large (2.4m wide x 2.2m high) eye-catching display panel that
gave an introduction to food security (in a Scottish context) and to a
technique we have used with small groups of up to six people called digital
Alongside the display a
set of tablet devices with headphones provided the people attending the
exhibition with the opportunity to listen to digital stories. At the time of
the exhibition 16 stories were available, but more are in production.
The simple message
conveyed on the display is that Scotland has a reputation for producing high
quality food and yet not everyone has access to this produce due to a variety
of barriers. With commitment from Scottish Government to consult on a Good Food
Nation Bill the aim of the BigPicnic project at RBGE has been to give a voice
to people who have experienced barriers to accessing nutritious food.
Photo credit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The compact and
lightweight design means the exhibition can easily be taken to a variety of
venues including community centres and cafes. The entire exhibition can be
packed into the boot of a car and can be set up in less than 30 minutes.
Supervision of the exhibition also means that conversations can be had with the
public and feedback on the digital stories and food security issues can be
gathered via short questionnaires.
The purpose of the
exhibitions was to properly test the system devised for making video available
to play on demand. We also wanted to gather data on the impact of digital
stories as a medium for helping people to engage with food security. This was
done through use of a short questionnaire.
Between the two
exhibitions we estimate that 65 people engaged with the content through viewing
the display, listening to stories and talking to the team of three who
supervised the exhibition. Of this number, 25 people completed the
questionnaire. The people supervising were Andy Crofts, Max Coleman and Pauline
Munch - an MSc student conducting a research project about storytelling as a
medium for engagement with food security.
The exhibitions were
both regarded as a success. A technical issue was identified with the video
delivery system that did not interfere with the experience of visitors in any
significant way, but was something to be resolved for the future. At both
exhibitions it quickly became obvious that people found the digital stories to
be engaging. The time spent viewing stories showed us that multiple stories
were being viewed by individuals. These stories were thought provoking for
people as many wanted to discuss issues with us and were often willing to
complete the questionnaire.
A secondary impact was
that the methods used were shared with an audience of people who may then go on
to adopt them in other work. Our next steps involve running a series of further
exhibitions at appropriate local community venues as suggested by our
co-creation team. In addition, we hope to run an exhibition at a more
high-profile venue where we may be able to invite decision makers and other