“David Cameron, do you know how many foodbanks there were in this country when you came to power?… There were 66 when you came to power, there are now 421. Nine hundred thousand people took food parcels last year. Free food parcels. You talked about broken Britain and fixing it. You haven’t. It’s more broken now than it was before.” – Jeremy Paxman to David Cameron, 26/03/15
In the months leading up to the general election in the UK in 2015, few topics were as prominent or as divisive as food banks. Time and again, food banks were placed at the centre of debates about society and government policy, as exemplified by Jeremy Paxman’s high profile skewering of David Cameron over the issue in a live TV debate. The ‘food bank phenomenon’, which had exploded onto the scene just a few short years earlier, appeared to be firmly engrained in the public imagination.
Yet fast-forward eighteen months and interest in food banks seems to be waning. When the Trussell Trust released its latest set of statistics in November, there was little of the outcry that had accompanied announcements of previous years. In academic and campaigning circles, too, there are signs that people and organisations are increasingly looking “beyond the food bank”.
It is in this context that we are seeking submissions for a new, special edition of Lacuna Magazine.
On the one hand, we want to hear about the ways in which conversations are moving on and changing shape. What are the new questions being asked and the new priorities that are emerging? What are the alternative ways that people are looking to investigate, measure and respond to food poverty in the UK? How are organisations such as End Hunger UK, or recent calls for a national measure of food insecurity, changing the nature of the debate?
At the same time, so-called ’emergency food’ programmes are still here and, if anything, appear to be growing in size and ambition. The Trussell Trust’s figures show a continued increase in the number of people using their food banks and reports suggest that this is merely the tip of the food aid iceberg. There are also signs that food banks are themselves widening their remit – the Trussell Trust’s ‘More than Food’ initiative being just one notable example. We want to find out more about these developments. How are food banks changing and how is this affecting their short- and long-term role? And what about other food aid initiatives? Can other projects – from independent soup kitchens to national networks such as FareShare – provide new insights and reveal different approaches to tackling food poverty in the UK?
We are interested in submissions that explore any of these questions or touch on relevant themes. All forms of writing and visual art will be considered and there is no word limit. If you take a look at some of Lacuna’s existing content, you will find submissions of varying lengths and styles. The key is that you have something to say that will intrigue and inform our audience, and that you say it (or draw it, film it…) with style and innovation.
If you are thinking about making a submission, have a look at our guidelines. For any further queries, please contact Lewis Smith at Lewis.Smith@warwick.ac.uk
Please send submissions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for submissions is Sunday 26th March 2017.