Talks and tours
Somerset House Studios

In Vitro Feast

Makerversity Material Explorations: Pharma Food Labs

Thu 08 Feb 2018
18.30 - 21.30
River Rooms
New Wing

At the core of any making process, materials define the limitations of design, raise questions around social and ethical manufacturing processes and create the primary interface between us and our experienced world.

In the third part of the Material Explorations series, Makerversity delves deeper into synthetic biology; exploring the applications and ethics of this radical technology through the lens of pharma and food.

In this series we’ll be debating whether we should have unfettered access to medical information and who has the right to decide? How CRISPR is creeping into our kitchens and the ethical conundrums of lab-grown meat. Should we harvest celebrity meat and who would you want to eat?

Join us to digest this meaty conversation through a series of experimental dining experiences.

In our In-Vitro Feast evening we will be joined by Speculative designer David Benqué, Louise Davies from the Vegan society and others to talk about the lab grown foods, their impact on society, how this industry is being regulated and how it's disrupting the agriculture industry.

Expect an edible feast of thought provoking courses, a quick-fire speed dating style Q&A and a meatier cultured course with invited guests.

Curated with Candyce Dryburgh.



David Benqué is a designer/researcher and PhD candidate in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. He holds a BA in graphic design and typography from the KABK in the Hague, and an MA in Design Interactions from the RCA in London. His design practice creatively questions the roles science and technology play in society. His current research investigates ‘predictive’ algorithms through critical design practice. He teaches design at Goldsmiths University of London.

Louise Davies has worked in a variety of roles in in the broad sector of sustainability, including launching her own events and retail ventures, and in employment with the Guardian and the Green Party.

In her role at The Vegan Society, Louise raises public awareness of the benefits of veganism, and influences opinion formers and politicians to encourage vegan friendly policy making.

Nicola Swift runs We Only Want Nice Things, a small creative agency offering product development, recipe writing/testing and communications services to the food industry. Previous to starting her own business in 2016, Nicola spent five years working within the meat industry, first as Creative Food Director of the Ginger Pig (a farming and butchery business), and latterly as the meat product developer at Marks & Spencer where she launched some of their bestselling new products in 2015 and 2016. She helps people turn ideas, trends or range gaps into viable retail products and recipes, and is passionate about supply chain transparency within food, especially around meat.

Dr Alexandra Sexton, Oxford University, is a critical human geographer working across the areas of food security, technological innovation, and sustainable food production and consumption. Her PhD thesis examined the recent turn by the Big Tech region of Silicon Valley to ‘feed the world’ through disruptive technologies, focussing specifically on their development of novel protein products – including plant-based, cultured meat and edible insects – as more sustainable, ethical and healthy alternatives to conventional meat, dairy and eggs. She has presented widely on this subject at both public and academic events, has been interviewed by media outlets including the BBC and PBS Newshour, and has also consulted the UK Government and leading NGO’s on the opportunities and challenges of technofix approaches to sustainable food production.

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