Foodways Madison Update

Foodways Madison is our a year-long exploration of the food systems that shape “how we do food.” This social practice art project includes  a residence at the Madison Public Library, a work for the Wisconsin Triennial, and a year-long workshop symposium through the university.

Below you will find a description and listings for some of the Madison events.


We’ll be giving a public talk about the complete Foodways project (Germany, Australia, and the United States)  in Community Room 301 of the Central Branch of the Madison Public Library on Monday, 14 November at 6:30pm.  



Feeding Farmers is our artwork for the Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened September 23.

Feeding Farmers does just that: we’ve recruited more than 25 Wisconsin artists (so far) to prepare a meal to share with local food producers. Some of the meals will be visible to the public in the museum’s spectacular glass lobby, on the corner of State and Henry streets, at a unique re-configurable table designed by Sylvie Rosenthal and the Barcelona collective Nyamnyam, whose visit to Madison we hosted.  Feeding Farmers is a Blink! project by the Madison Arts Commission.  You can see the growing list of farmer-artist meals on the Henry Street windows of MMoCA.  If you’re an artist and you want to feed a farmer, let’s talk.



Throughout September and October we’re also artists-in-residence at the Madison Public Library’s central branch hands-on project space, The Bubbler. It’s the perfect place to pursue the community research component of the Foodways project.

During the month of September we’re collaborating with the public to develop a system to chart participants’ connections to various food systems, from production to distribution to consumption and waste. In October we’ll conduct multiple activities and conversations open to the public. The goal of our “Community Research Kitchen” is to grow community understanding of both how we are affected by “macro” food systems (like agriculture) and how we shape our own personal and communal “systems” for doing food.  Our amazing library intern for this project is Sigrid Peterson.  

At the end of our two months, we’ll be compiling what we’ve learned in a limited edition Foodways Madison booklet.

Saturday 1 October & Sunday 2 October 1-5 PM: Drop by our open studio hours at the Bubbler, Saturdays and Sundays.  We usually serve sourdough waffles and sometimes other snacks. 

There will be a slightly more formalized “workshop” happening at 3pm both days.  To register for 1 October and 2 October

Monday, 3 October, 6 PM:  Supper Club-Dinner and a conversation about food migration with special guest Sarah Khan.  To reserve, send an email to Participants are encouraged to prepare a recipe for a food that has moved from one part of the world to another.

Friday, 6 October, Gallery Night: Stop by between 5 and 9 PM for food-based interactivity (snacks and playful research). More information about gallery night at:

Saturday, 7 October, Bike the Art, 1:45-2:15: We’re one of the stops on the this community art bike tour.  We’re serving soup and sourdough rolls. More information about the complete event at:

Sunday 9  October 1-5 PM: Come teach us how to cook something you know well or watch us learn how to make something you want to learn. To register:

Monday, 10 October, 6 PM:  Supper Club-open topic conversation with soup, salad and bread. Reserve at:

Monday, 17 October, 6 PM: Supper Club-open topic conversation with soup, salad and bread. Reserve at:

Thursday, 20 October through Sunday 23 October: Wisconsin Book Festival. Look for our roving food/research trolleys throughout the library.

Thursdays, 20 & 27 October: Breakfasts with Teen Services Program.  (Not open to the public.)

Monday, 24 October, 6 PM: Supper Club-Panel discussion with community experts and potluck buffet.  Register at

Saturday, 29 October & Sunday 30 October, 1-5 PM: Community Research Kitchen Playground.  Multiple activities, snacks, and guests.



This year-long seminar  will bring together faculty, staff graduate students and community members whose research and teaching involves food. Over the course of the year, our activities will include sharing research, discussion of readings, guest speakers, and meals. We will host thematically organized presentations of faculty and graduate student research that will be well publicized and open to the general public. As much as we expect this seminar to be serious, we also want it to be fun. We hope to eat as a group, to meet with local chefs and with local food producers, host a popular food writer, and perhaps develop grant proposals, future courses or seminary, or a food studies anthology. 

If you consider yourself a food studies person (whether or not you are associated with the university), join the Food Studies Network! We meet regularly, usually over food, and plan events to share research and welcome guest speakers. The events for this group can be found at: to to sign up for the mailing list.


Introducing Foodways Madison

We’ve returned to Madison, WI, after 18 months abroad, and while we’re still unpacking and finishing up loose ends and documentation from Foodways Melbourne, we’re also already fully immersed in the Foodways Madison project. After focusing on the literal movement of foods (in Darmstadt) and on people’s narratives and language about food in Melbourne, in Madison we’ll be focusing on food systems, from farms to retailers to the waste stream–but also how we can individually understand ourselves as connected to big food systems, and as creators of small food systems.

Jars of sourdough starter.

Wild-yeast sourdough starter which we built in Germany (and used for our famous pancakes) traveled to Australia and then home to Madison with us to help grow future Foodways projects.

Continue reading

Foodways Melbourne Wrap-Up

We’ve posted some pretty substantial posts about the concluding elements of the Foodways Melbourne project.

Nothing else to add, really, except to say again, thank you, Melbourne.


Foodways Melbourne Walks

For the final day of the Performance Studies international conference, Spatula&Barcode recruited thirty Melbournians to offer small group introductions to Melbourne’s food culture.  Each host took 2-5 conference attendees on a two-hour excursion. Hosts and attendees were matched to accommodate dietary preferences, budget and mobility.  The “walks” took visitors away from the conference and included both meals and conversations.  Some were primarily social, while others included more performative elements. Some meals were in restaurants while others were in homes or in parks. Some groups stayed close to the university while others traveled distances across the city. Continue reading

Foodways Melbourne Procession & Feast

A range of factors led to Melbourne, and to coming for a full six months, but the “inciting incident” was an invitation from the organizers of thePerformance Studies international conference (PSi22, “Performance Climates”) to curate an event for the opening night of the conference. We knew there would be some kind of budget, and we knew there would be a built-in audience of some of the most interesting folks from around the world and from Australia, so we jumped at the chance. Continue reading