Glasgow’s Food Futures:
Local Ecosystems of Social Innovation in 2031

Week 0: Project Launch

The 8th iteration of Collaborative Futures kicked off this week with the Project Launch, which brought together the student-graduate team (2 MeDES students Hannah Roche and Amandine Fong, and 2 graduates of M.Des programme Katie Upsdale and Lydia Stewart ) alongside members from the Centre for Civic Innovation (CCI) (Chris Jamison and Heather Hamilton) and project leads Kirsty Ross and Stevie McGowan, embedded research Dr Marianne McAra, and three expect stakeholders Marie McLelland, AlanDavidson and Rebecca Reyonds.

Following a series of introductions, Marianne set out the project model in more detail and described the underpinning research exploring the boundaries of ‘studio’ in fostering innovative ecosystems for learning.Within this, Marianne and Kirsty are interested in developing experiential understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of collaboration and the mediating role of design-led innovation and knowledge artefacts plays, viewed through the theoretical lens of ‘communities of practice’. A key theme this year will be the role and value of story-telling and how this can ethically honour the expertise and voices of the project contributors and participants. This not only pertains to how story-telling can capture past and emerging experiences so to inform future narratives; but also in how the story of the project will be disseminated in creative and innovative ways that are accessible and meaningful to a range of audiences.


Time was then dedicated for the CCI team to present and reflect on key learnings from last year’s project focused on participatory demography, and positioned the project findings and insights as a starting point for unpacking this year’s project brief. As the brief centres on Glasgow’s food futures, in the second half the session we were joined by the expert stakeholders who each presented their work and key priority areas so to contextualise the brief and innovation challenge further for the team. Stevie McGowan kicked off these presentations by introducing the team to CCI in more detail, outlining the organisation’s vision, values and approach as well as highlighting their focus on establishing community-led design and creating a network of ‘neighbourhood solvers’.

Alan Davidson, an Economic Development Manager from theGlasgow City Council and works in the area of economic develop, with an expertise in social enterprises and the cooperative movement. Focusing on sustainability  and the city food plan, Alan highlighted the work of FairShare and Move On, which have adopted aspects of the ‘french model’ to redirecting food away from landfill. Advocating for equal food access (drawing on the concept of the ‘15 minute city’), Alan set out the multiple health, social, economic and environmental benefits of this approach. Following this, RebeccaReynolds, a Community Activator in the south of Glasgow, shared her workaround  food and climate action, which seeks to challenge current approaches with a focus on reimagining and co-creating resilient and more sustainable food systems with communities. Rebecca’s approaches include ‘climate cafes’, which engage citizens in future visioning around food and climate systems in Glasgow.

The session concluded with Marie McLellend, an EconomicDevelopment Officer based at the Glasgow City Council, sharing her insights on the wider impact of food systems in enabling communities to thrive, and the ripple effect these can have for collective wellbeing (in reducing poverty and crime and increasing employment). Highlighting the need to move away from tokenistic forms of consultation and engagement, Marie emphasised the need for meaningful and purposeful forms of engagement, whereby ‘citizens will be not empowered, they will have power’.

Next Steps: The experiences and insights shared at theLaunch have primed the team with key directions as they enter into Week 01 of the project, which focuses on unpacking the brief, defining key roles and responsibilities and engaging in initial desk research. The group will comeback together at end of Week 01 with the project leads to share their interpretation of the brief, scoping activity and their initial plans for engagement.

Asset 4