Dr Laura Colebrooke
Postdoctoral Research Associate


Research interests

My PhD research (2013-2016) looked at food insecurity in Bristol. Arguing that research of food insecurity and access to food has so far failed to account for the way in which we related to food on sensory, emotional and embodied level, I developed ideas of taste to make sense of food poverty. This enabled me to reflect on how food inequalities are experienced in places and forms that extend far beyond spaces most commonly associated with food insecurity, but might better be understood as unequally distributed precarities that are sensed and made sense of (Miele and Evans 2012) within a myriad of everyday encounters.

I have also looked at experiences of food anxieties and eating disorders on two interdisciplinary projects which emphasise the importance of affective relationships and emotional experiences in helping people come to terms with food anxieties and eating disorders. Focussing on interactions at the table, I worked with artist Sabrina Shirazi to facilitate participants who had experienced food anxieties to redesign the table setting in order to enable them to eat well. This work was enabled by Brigstowe Institute and The Cultural Capital Exchange.

I am a member of the Social Innovation Group and the Cross Campus Social Science group (CROCUSS)

Research projects

I am currently working on two co-produced ESF projects: Living Well to Work and Smart Tenants which both fall under the Future Peninsula umbrella (2017-2019).

Living Well to Work brings together a range of voluntary and community organisations across Cornwall to deliver 12 pilot programmes which help people in target groups move back towards employment. While the headline figures for employment in Cornwall are improving, certain groups have remained excluded from the workforce including those with mental ill-health, older people, people with long term health problems such as diabetes, those with Asperger’s’ Disease or Autism. Using a ‘test and learn’ approach, these pilots help participants to develop their confidence in order to head towards work, into training and education or into volunteering.

Smart Tenants is a collaborative project involving Registered Social Landlords, community development charitable organisations and local foodbanks. The project adopts a “Test and Learn” approach and work with partners to design, test and implement a programme that will enable participants to have the confidence and skills to make best use of the opportunities that will be available through Universal Credit and to progress through to employment to maintain and increase the economic development in Cornwall.
The primary focus of the project will be to develop new training and support programmes to improve financial stability, help participants with the transition to Universal Credit and move towards sustainable employment. This project will develop a range of support and training opportunities to stabilise households and give them the confidence and skills to move towards employment and the opportunity to volunteer to support their peers in the community thus adding to the social capital of the area.


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