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Friday seminar | A ‘Labour of Love’? The Politics and Pleasures of Niche Food Production


Seminar by University of Tasmania research fellow Michelle Phillipov

Start Date

25 Aug 2017 1:00 pm

End Date

25 Aug 2017 2:00 pm


Room 333, Physics Building, Sandy Bay Campus

RSVP / Contact

No RSVP required. Enquiries to

In the era of popular food media we are regularly encouraged to “connect” with the sources—and producers—of our food so that we can resist the alienation and unsustainability of conventional, industrial food systems. This is giving niche producers an expanded customer base for ‘ethical’ and ‘value-added’ products. However, these media portrayals of small-scale farming and value-adding may conceal more than they reveal about the realities of contemporary food production.

Using a cookbook by Australian chef Kylie Kwong as a case study, this seminar explores how niche production is often portrayed in the media as a ‘labour of love’ done for pleasure, rather than as ‘work’.

This has significant implications for how we understand and value production practices. Such portrayals may in fact weaken consumers’ knowledge of food systems, inadvertently amplifying the distance between producers and consumers. The implications of this for the media and communications strategies of small producers need to be more carefully considered.

Michelle Phillipov is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Media and Communications at the University of Tasmania. Her research, supported by an Australian Research Council DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award), examines the new relationships between the media industry and the food industry that are emerging as a result of an intensified media focus on food. She is the author of three books, including Media and Food Industries: The New Politics of Food (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan).

This free seminar is presented by the Institute for the Study of Social Change and the School of Social Sciences. All welcome.


Institute for Social Change
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 44


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