Food: Sustainability, Health, Heritage and Tourism

This Arts & Humanities Partnership Catalyst takes the interdisciplinary subject of food and asks how rigorous academic research into food can benefit the wider food and tourism industry within Scotland and further afield. We are interested in the representation of Scottish food, both in history and the present day, and how that influences wider areas like sustainability, tourism, and health. The Catalyst activity will connect researchers with Scottish food providers, heritage organisations and others in the food industry to identify the key challenges in this area, with a view to facilitating new research relationships that improve the quality authenticity of Scottish food culture and its representation to the public.

Explore the blogs below to discover the research, insights and challenges facing the ever-evolving landscape. To get in touch about this Catalyst or any of the content you find in this blog, please email

Opportunity: The Scottish Food Library

Throughout the lifespan of the Catalyst, the network has voiced the need for a deeper understanding of food research being undertaken in Scotland. Our awareness of academic research done in HEIs, research happening at non-HE institutions, government research, press coverage, third sector work and commercial projects is disjointed. This lack of connectedness makes it difficult to know where projects should be undertaken, and by whom, as ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. In order to start mapping the current knowledge landscape around Scottish Food, the Catalyst team have hired a research assistant, Gina Lyle, to begin populating the ‘Scottish Food Library’.   

Those of you who attended the 2C show-and-tell event will have met Gina, and she has since been in touch with the wider network to reach out for useful information you may have. Gina is collecting the details of food-related research being carried out around and about Scotland over the past ten years. While this is just the first step, the Scottish Food Library will be of use both within and beyond the Catalyst network and we are enthusiastic about the value it will have for those interested in Scottish food. It will outline current research strengths and gaps in our knowledge about Scottish food, allowing us to proactively move towards addressing key. 

We are excited to present the Scottish Food Library to the Food Catalyst network at an in-person event on Monday 4 September. At this event, Gina will talk through her findings, and you will have another opportunity to contribute your knowledge and help with the co-creation of the resource. We will use discussions about the contents of the Scottish Food Library to outline targeted gaps that we can address with collaborative project development, in line with partner interests. 

To allow us to gauge interest and levels of participation for this event, please get in touch by emailing:

Opportunity: ‘Local Food for Everyone’: Scottish Government Consultation

The Food Catalyst team are delighted to announce an exciting opportunity for the Catalyst network to input on the Scottish Government’s ‘Local Food For Everyone’ initiative. In August 2021, the Scottish Government published 'Local Food for everyone: a discussion'. The document set out a  ‘comprehensive programme of actions the Scottish Government are taking to support local food’, and following responses, have made a commitment to engage with academic research on Scottish food as a means of informing policy.   

The Scottish Government have particular interest in three areas:   

  • Connecting people with food  
  • Connecting Scottish producers with buyers  
  • Harnessing Public Sector Procurement  

Given the overlap between these themes and the sectoral challenges identified through the Catalyst, we are excited to run an event later in the year in collaboration with the Scottish Government where Catalyst partners will have a chance to contribute their expertise in these areas. This an exciting opportunity to input on government policy, share ideas of best practice, and collaboratively discuss ‘what more could be done to create a future where all can enjoy locally produced food’. More information will follow. 

To allow us to gauge interest and levels of participation for this event, please get in touch by emailing:

Opportunity: Celebrating Scottish Food at Heritage Centres

At the 2C Food Catalyst event, there was a marked appetite for celebrating Scottish food, including the stories and history behind it. The project ideas that came out of the event reflect the interdisciplinary and cross-sector aspects of food history:    

  • A creative writing event formed around food in heritage spaces  
  • Heritage menus featuring Scottish produce in historical properties  
  • A Food History Festival   
  • Literature and food education at Ellisland   
  • Food Education at the Crannog Centre  

The idea of using heritage sites as centres to raise the profile of Scottish food has come up several times throughout Catalyst meetings. Because of this, we are keen to support the development of heritage projects between Catalyst partners. We invite expressions of interest from those engaged in creative or historical work within research and heritage sector who would like to co-create projects. This could perhaps be achieved through the use of IAA mobility funding to embed a researcher within a heritage organisation, or vice versa.   

To allow us to gauge interest and levels of participation for this activity, please get in touch by emailing:

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