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Exeter Food pechakucha seminar

These events are designed to allow us to familiarise ourselves with what colleagues across the university are working on, to offer them valuable input, and to spark ideas for future collaborations.

An Exeter Food seminar
Date25 January 2023
Time10:45 to 12:15

The second Exeter Food pechakucha seminar of this academic year will be held on Teams from 10:45-12:15 on Wednesday 25 January.

To remind everyone, these events are designed to allow us to familiarise ourselves with what colleagues across the university are working on, to offer them valuable input, and to spark ideas for future collaborations.

The four speakers, their topics, and brief abstracts appear below. Presentations will be short (7-8 minutes), followed by time for discussion.

Please do join us online.


Natalia Lawrence, Associate Professor in Translational Medicine

“Training emotional and behavioural responses to food to change eating behaviour”

Unhealthy and unsustainable diets are a leading cause of premature mortality and environmental destruction. Getting people to eat less junk food and meat, and more fruit and vegetables is hard. Building on findings from cognitive psychology and neuroscience, we have developed computerised ‘brain-training’ games that modify people’s emotional and behavioural responses to food and help them shift to a healthier and more sustainable diet.

Jess Fagin, PhD Researcher in Anthropology

“‘Without the Muslims, we’d be out of a job’: Constructing hierarchies of belonging in sheep slaughterhouses in England”

The value of the British sheep sector is rooted in Britain’s imperial past. Today, it is economically dependent on the domestic and international markets for halal-slaughtered sheep meat which emerged through post-colonial migrations to the UK and Europe, alongside the labour of British and immigrant workers. Despite these entangled histories and dependencies, I explore how white British slaughterhouse owners and workers, whose livelihoods are dependent on multiple migrations, construct racialised, classed and national hierarchies of belonging against people, sheep and meat. Engaging with critical race, feminist, and post-colonial studies, I argue that in these fleshy, material sites where fixed boundaries are untenable, it is dialogue and narrative rooted in a methodological British exceptionalism which animates white workers claims of belonging and moral superiority.

Toby Pennington, Professor of Tropical Plant Diversity and Biogeography

“The potential of agroforestry and silvopastoral systems in the Brazilian Amazon’s ‘arc of deforestation’”

Deforestation in Amazonia is most severe in the “arc of deforestation” across the states of Mato Grosso and Pará, driven by intensive soybean and cattle farming.  Agroforestry and silvopastoral systems offer a more sustainable land use that slow this deforestation, benefit small farmers via increased food security and incomes, whilst simultaneously increasing biodiversity and carbon storage. The NGO Instituto Ouro Verde (IOV) has supported the implementation of more than 2,000 hectares of agroforestry and SPS in northern Mato Grosso. This talk will describe a multi-disciplinary collaboration between University of Exeter and IOV that aims to develop improved tree-based agroforestry and silvopastoral systems and to overcome social and gender bias in their implementation. Approaches range from innovative use of smart phone and next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to understanding the current roles, strengths, and barriers to developing women’s social and economic autonomy.

Kate Ellacott, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

“Understanding brain circuits controlling food intake”

What, when and how much to eat are complex behavioural processes controlled by the brain. Our work is focused on understanding these pathways on a molecular and a physiological level, knowledge which is needed for the development of new drug therapies for disordered eating. This presentation will give an overview our current understanding of this area from preclinical research studies.