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Sheffield collaboration creates new artworks for National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Ignite Imaginations artists worked in partnership with four community groups to create four artworks for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, each reflecting one of the centres' core themes of work; Healthier lives, Feeding a growing population, Digital connectivity and technology and Food system sustainability.

The artists, Ali, Peter and Alastair worked with community partners from Tinsley Youth Group, The St Alban's Craft and Coffee Groups from Attercliffe Center of Mission and Darnall Well Being Craft Group. Following an exhibition in April, the final pieces are now on permanent display at the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

Find out more about the final pieces below:

Healthier Lives - Blue Skies and Black Boxes - Peter Griffiths

"This painting is constructed out of a number of visual motifs that have been created by members of Darnall Wellbeing Craft Group; they represent each of the words that make up the title. The design for the painting was developed after the workshops and makes use of the images that were created by group members during it.

The arrows going in a circle represent the system where all of its parts are visible and the entire system can be seen. The items of fruit represent the food that is being used and the dark grey devices represent any processing that needs to take place in the system. The background grid is reminiscent of computer Jacquard cards used to control machines".

Feeding a growing population - Look and Sea - Alastair Flindall

Alastair worked with Tinsley Youth Group.

"How to feed a growing population? This piece focuses on the future of fishing and farming, where current practices are completely unsustainable. Seaweed and kelp are strong sources of protein, perhaps in the future our fishermen and women will swap to farming vegetation underwater? It has to be a better use of land and resources than what we currently have in place".

Food system sustainability - Daisy, Wilbur and Babs - Ali Bird

"The conversation with the focus group from St. Alban's Church centered around the need to include plant based alternatives to meat, be these processed foods or pulses. My initial ideas explored using the form of a factory and filled with pulses and vegetables, but after chatting through ideas with a friend I opted for the idea of using Butchers diagrams as I preferred the organic shapes and it enabled me to include a wide variety of plant based foods.

I love to use colour and pattern in my work and added the daisy for the cow as an afterthought. I like to feel it communicates a serious and important message with humour".

Digital connectivity and technology - Techno Magic Carpet - Ali Bird

"This theme challenged me, and I began by exploring the different ways digitality and connectivity is represented. I came up with the idea of a mandala design as a vehicle which could contain the different elements and link them together visually. I included a plant form based on wheat, as the St Alban's focus group I visited have bread donated by Rose’s Bakery, and they also talked a lot about their childhoods and the reliance on basic foodstuffs. The digital world can seem alien to older generations, and this image reminds me of a spaceship. The background is a representation of a computer screen

with binary code, combined with mechanical and organic elements.

From a distance I think it resembles a Persian rug".

Bryony Portsmouth SFHEA, Engagement Manager at National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering said " It's so great to have some decoration in the space, especially decoration that describes what we're doing back here and depicting our research. Great to see it explained creatively!"

With thanks to everyone involved in this project.


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