Recipes for Resilience: Engaging Caribbean Youth in Climate Action and Afrodescendant Food Heritage through Story Mapping and Song

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences


RfR aims to inspire Caribbean youth to revalue Afrodescendant food heritage as a pathway to climate adaptation and resilience. Together with our partners, the CYEN, and invited Caribbean and British Caribbean youth, we will collect, map, and sing about stories of Afrodescendant food heritage, past and present, and the climatic threats that undermine community resilience. We will do so through three virtual workshops (W1-3), co-created with our partners and with researchers in climate science, ethnobotany, Caribbean studies, geography, and critical development from the Universities of the West Indies and Edinburgh.


W1: Our Past: We will use sensory methods to trigger episodic memories of feeling, tasting, and smelling locally-produced foods, which participants will bring with them to W1. We will explore where these foods come from, the long-term marginalisation of Afrodescendant (and Indigenous) food heritage and agri-food practices, and implications for agrobiodiversity and climate change. This workshop will develop participants' understanding of food and climate heritage research and sensory methods. It will be accompanied by an information pack for conducting sensory oral history interviews with elders; stories from the interviews will be added to a Caribbean story map (with consent) and inspire songs co-created in W3.

W2: Right Here, Right Now: W2 will develop participants' understandings of climate adaptation, resilience and justice research. Using online board games and playful learning, participants will trace Caribbean foods back to their source. We will reflect on our food behaviours and their carbon/ecological footprints by identifying ingredients produced on plantations located on the global story map, e.g. palm oil, , with age-appropriate insights from scholarly work on the 'plantationocene'. Through role play we will explore present-day scenarios such as the challenges and resilience strategies of cassava farmers in the region, as well as future scenarios for a food secure, climate resilient, and climate just future. Participants will be assigned a home activity to identify their favourite stories on the maps.

W3: Our Future: We will capture the hearts and minds of young people and their vision for a more resilient future through the co-creation of calypso, soca, reggae, rap and spoken word songs. The songwriting process will be inspired by stories selected from the maps, facilitated by the Song Academy and recorded into a podcast. W3 and post-workshop production will result in one supergroup song (all participants) and three individual songs selected in a competition at the end of W3. Antiguan calypso band, Burning Flames, will be commissioned to write an additional calypso 'jingle' that utilises selected stories from the map.

Closing Ceremony: Celebrate Our Story: This will be a celebration of Afrodescendant food heritage, youth voice and key climate action messages, which will begin and end with the finalised songs. Here young participants will have the opportunity to share their journey from past, current, and future climate action through food heritage with policymakers, farmers, and publics across the Caribbean and globally. We will explore how youth perspectives can be used to identify climate actions, gaps in climate risk understandings, and pathways for future resilience building. We will close with a hashtag competition that continues the momentum of the project through social media.
The workshops will utilise materials already developed for the PI's Sugaropolis project and advance research related to her Living Histories of Sugar project, particularly the use of performance and co-creation to engender inclusive spaces for knowledge exchange. Project outputs (story map, songs, podcast) will further the PI's research into plantation legacies and alternative futures in the Caribbean, and enhance ongoing and future collaborations between the PI, Co-Is and Advisory Board.


10 25 50