Supported by BISAPGN funding
Our one-day postgraduate conference, supported by the British International Studies Association Postgraduate Network (BISA-PGN) and entitled ‘Food (In)Security Research Network: International and trans-disciplinary perspectives’, took place on October 16, 2013 at the University of Warwick. It was a very successful and engaging event, attracting postgraduate students, academics, and members of civil society from a diverse range of disciplines, interests, and geographical locations around the UK. The conference played a role in strengthening the interdisciplinary study of food security through exploring its social, environmental and especially international dimensions, as well as creating a network between early career scholars. The date selected for the conference also had symbolic significance as October 16th is World Food Day, which is celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and around the world to raise awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.
The BISA-PGN funding call gave us the impetus and financial support we needed to organise a conference devoted to this important issue. As doctoral students situated within the discipline of politics and international studies and researching various food-related subjects, we were aware that food security is a topic increasingly elevated to the top of government agendas and the focus of scholarly inquiry that had not yet gained a strong foothold in many disciplines such as the study of International Relations. This is surprising considering it can be argued that food insecurity is exacerbated by the current international trading system, trade laws, and certain international actors such as the World Bank and transnational corporations. It is an issue not only restricted to the Global South, but a crucial focus of new European Common Agricultural policies and Europe-wide conferences. The generous support of the BISA-PGN enabled us to help overcome this neglect and invite a number of keynote speakers to open the event, as well as provide a local and sustainably-sourced lunch, coffee and tea breaks, and travel bursaries for postgraduate presenters. For more information about the event, please email Sarah Goler at s.goler [at] warwick.ac.uk.