Category Archives: urban & regional development

What’s Cooking, January 2021

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

To start off 2021, be sure to have a look at our latest research blog out: a profile of Caroline Westwood’s research on agricultural shows. Caroline gives us an overview of her research journey and insights into how the pandemic has impacted on the world of agricultural shows, which are a fundamental part of local, regional and national food systems. Thanks very much to Caroline!

If you’d be interested in sharing your research profile, or writing a blog on your research, please let me know; we’re always keen to feature new authors, including PhD students.

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS activities, including recent publications from Anna Stalmirska (on food tourism) and Caroline Westwood (on agricultural shows), and a findings report from Jennifer Smith Maguire (on wine farmworker heritage);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements, and the usual call for content for the January 2021 edition of What’s Cooking.

Finally: a reminder of the upcoming dates of our monthly virtual research roundtables. These meetings are an informal chance to check in, share updates, trade suggestions, ask questions and bounce ideas around. No prep needed—just a chance to meet up and talk CHEFS for an hour:

  • Wednesday 13 January, 2-3pm
  • Wednesday 10 February, 3-4pm
  • Wednesday 17 March, 4-5pm

Zoom links and meeting passwords have been sent out via the CHEFS JISC list. Not joined the JISC list yet? See information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage. In the meantime, please email me directly ( if you’d like me to forward a meeting invite.

Happy reading!

Cheers, Jen


Recent CHEFS Activities

Anna Stalmirska has had her first article accepted and published in Tourism Geographies. In the article, Cultural globalisation and food in urban destination marketing, cultural globalisation is discussed as the theoretical perspective that proves helpful in explaining the application of food in destination marketing. Taking the city of York, England, as a case study, it is shown how cultural homogenisation, heterogenisation and glocalisation influence both the cultural landscape of York, as well as in how food (global, local and glocal) is presented and marketed to visitors.

Caroline Westwood has had her second article accepted and published in Event Management, co-authored with Greg Langridge-Thomas and Philip Crowther. In the article, The Royal Welsh Show: The Nation’s True Cauldron, agricultural shows are discussed within the concept of the value of these events. They offer a variety of networks and platforms for ‘rural actors’ to connect both through planned and less planned interactions and linkages within the event. These events almost act as a canopy of connections which exist far beyond the annual 4-day event, engaging people and organisations alike, consequently, co-creating network value.

Jennifer Smith Maguire completed ‘South African Wine Farm Worker Heritage Stories and the Potential for Ethical Value Generation,’ the findings report of a pilot study funded by Sheffield Hallam’s Developing International Research Funding Opportunities (DIRFO) Scheme and the UK & Ireland Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Seed Funding, carried out in collaboration with Ms Nikita-Marie Bridgeman as part of her MSc dissertation research for her degree in Food Consumer Marketing and Product Development, Sheffield Business School, and South African partners, Mr Charles Erasmus (from South Africa’s Wine Industry Value Chain Roundtable), and Ms Sharron Marco-Thyse (from the Centre for Rural Legal Studies, Stellenbosch South Africa). The pilot study focuses on the potential for South African wine farmworkers to take on a more active role as co-creators of winery brand value, and for wine farmworkers’ heritage stories to generate ethical value in a major export market (the UK). A review of research on how ethical value generation and value claims are articulated in the premium wine market highlighted the shortcomings of certifications as devices for product differentiation. In contrast, research underscores the power of evidence-led, credible, authentic provenance stories for achieving competitive advantage for premium wineries. Provenance stories are understood as outcomes of co-creation processes involving multiple actors all along the value chain, yet farmworkers remain a largely absent and unacknowledged group of stakeholders—both as subjects of provenance stories and as storytellers. The report shares findings from a five-phased qualitative, interpretivist research design, which explored the ways in which heritage, place and provenance shape South African wines’ presence in the marketplace, and the experiences, perceptions and evaluations of a network of stakeholders—farmworkers, producers, consumers, intermediaries—involved in the realization of brand value for South African wines.


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Online seminar: Bright Minds – Food Security
Thursday 21 January 2021, 12:00 – 13:00, on Zoom

Introduced by Professor Duncan Cameron, co-director of our Institute for Sustainable Food. Seminar by Mary Eliza, PhD student: ‘Hacking the soil microbiome’. Register here.

Hello everyone, I am Mary Eliza! I work with bacteria which live in the nodules of legume plants (peas, beans). These bacteria provide nitrogen (an element essential for plant growth and development) to plants in an accessible form. However, these bacteria face competition to colonise the soil and the nodules.

I want to investigate a potential solution to this challenge by looking inside bacteria. Sometimes, the nitrogen fixing bacteria naturally harbour viruses inside them which confer advantages or benefits to the bacteria. I am interested in looking at the benefits that these symbiotic viruses have on the survival of host bacteria when in competition with other bacterial populations. Do the viruses increase the competitiveness of their hosts?

Can they be used to increase the effective nitrogen providing bacterial populations in soil and the nodules of plants? If yes, can these virus carrying bacterial hosts be used as biofertilisers in the agriculture industry?


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking

The next edition of What’s Cooking will be March 2021. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by Wednesday 24 February.

Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.

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CHEFS profile: Researching Agricultural Shows – Caroline Westwood

In 2011 I joined the world of academia and started teaching on event management degrees. I am currently a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. My research is building into a PhD by publication which will focus on agricultural shows, the role and function with the farming community and the wider public. As a farmer’s daughter I am intensely passionate about agriculture and am keen to combine my work with my passion and support agricultural societies in learning much more about their attendees and exhibitors to enable improved outcomes. Prior to teaching I worked within the events industry for over 10 years, designing and delivering business events for various clients.

Penistone Agricultural Show scene

(CC BY 2.0)

Research focus – where I started from

Increasingly agricultural shows are experiencing diverse audiences, which comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Challenges surrounding COVID-19 are also impacting these events and will shape their design for some time to come. All show organisers will need to consider how their events must adapt; social distancing will be a key consideration. Whilst show organisers need to preserve the traditional elements of their shows, such as farming and livestock, it is also vital in such a competitive event environment for show organisers to have a deep understanding of the motivations and expectations of their stakeholders (in particular their attendees) that extends far beyond straightforward demographical information.

Agricultural shows as a research setting

Since 2015 I have been collecting data at various shows. This has led to publications that have examined attendee motivations and  experiences at agricultural shows, and have conceptualised agricultural shows as platforms for knowledge exchange. My most recent research, a book chapter (in print Summer 2021) focuses on ‘families of choice’ (a chosen family, not blood family) within livestock breeding and showing, highlighting the key role agricultural shows play within the ‘breeder’ families. I have also contributed content to industry publications, including a recent article in Farmers Guardian.

2020 research on livestock communities

I was able to interview seven members of the farming community earlier in the year (July 2020) all directly linked to livestock showing and breeding. These conversations were a great insight into how they value the connections made as a result of attending agricultural shows; these values were from varying perspectives of social, educational and networking opportunities. Many recall growing up showing livestock whether this be a pedigree herd or flock reaching back many generations of their family or some joining a ‘wider livestock family’ based on their love of animals and wanting to be part of showing community. What was clearly evident was their passion for the showing circuit and the sense of ‘loss’ of these opportunities to connect through the cancellation of the shows during 2020 due to the pandemic. This loss was felt both on a business level as shows were cited by several as their ‘shop window’ for interested buyers, and also on a social level, many seeing their holidays and social life diminish through the cancellation of events up and down the country. As most farming families will acknowledge, holidays that don’t have a ‘farming focus’ are few and far between; so, the show circuit, ‘beers in the stockman’s tents’ and attending stockman’s dinners up and down the country have sorely been missed by many this year. Several of those I spoke to have concerns over the future of agricultural shows and at the time of interviewing we were only partially through the worst of the pandemic. With many of those talking fondly of ‘growing up with a halter in hand,’ there is a fear that future generations may not fully experience the excitement and pride of leading their stock around a ring and equally the sense of achievement and gratitude when coming away with a winning rosette.

The future of shows

The worry is some shows may lose their livestock roots when difficult decisions over the commercial viability of the shows comes under scrutiny. This would undoubtedly impact the composition of the shows, the traditions, heritage, and the multifaceted nature of these complex and unique events. The 2021 show season currently hangs in the balance, with the rescheduling of some 2020 events skipping 2021 entirely, others now being moved from 2021 to 2022, and some planned to reduce just to livestock classes with spectators. Such a sparse event calendar poses a serious threat to traders, who rely on ten or more shows and doing their best trade with those with over 70,000 attendees. The implications of the pandemic extend well beyond the actual physical show and should not be under-estimated, as the events provide value to attendees, exhibitors, the local community, and the farming community at large. Let’s hope the traditions and heritage can be maintained and there aren’t too many permanent losses of shows from the show season calendar. However, realistically, these events will have to operate in an evolving environment, with the landscape of agricultural shows fundamentally changed forever.

My aim is for my research to inform what really happens in agricultural shows and for my findings to be usefully applied in agricultural shows.  I welcome collaborations with shows and show organisers, to ensure future research is as real and useful as it can be.

Caroline Westwood is a Senior Lecturer in the Events Subject Group of Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University. (



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What’s Cooking, June 2020

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

In this June 2020 edition, we have updates on recent CHEFS activities, including:

  • research on nutrition in care homes (Lucie Nield), family business dynamics in the catering sector (Rich Telling and Philip Goulding), and agricultural shows as a value creation platform (Caroline Westwood and Phil Crowther);
  • a summary of BMRC colleagues’ work with regional brewers, from Jillian Newton;
  • a call for expressions of interest to get involved with ShefFood, from James Ellerby;
  • a series of webinars aimed at helping the region’s hospitality industry in the context of CV19, organised by James Ellerby and Hospitality colleagues;
  • a call for expressions of interest to explore future collaborative links with La Trobe University for research on socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink, from Jennifer Smith Maguire.

Plus, the usual call for content for the September 2020 edition of What’s Cooking.

Cheers, Jen


Recent CHEFS Activities

Lucie Nield is part of a group of colleagues from SHU, UoS & NHS and Social Care partners who have successfully progressed to a Round 2 submission for an NIHR Research for Social Care bid looking at the effect of good nutrition in residential care homes. The bid is a joint venture using qualitative and quantitative methodologies and process evaluation with the aim of co-designing an intervention. If successful in the next round, work will commence in January 2021 where we will be working closely with our health and social care colleagues.

Richard Telling and Philip Goulding’s article ‘Retaining the adolescent workforce in family businesses’ has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Family Business Management. The article explored the linkage between adolescent work, parent-child relationships and offspring career choice outcomes in a family business context. Findings were derived from 15 semi-structured interviews with members of five Italian families operating catering businesses in Yorkshire (UK). The findings were two-fold: first, that the ‘familiarity’ of the family business impacts on offspring decision making, on one hand providing a safety net and base from which the next generation can explore their career options, and a trapping device which can impede their exit on the other; and second, that negative experiences of adolescent work often have a detrimental impact on parent-child relationships and when this happens ‘escaping’ the family business assumes priority for offspring. The paper contributes to our understanding of the stay/go decision faced by next generation family members and suggests that parent-child relationships are instrumental in understanding this and previous stages of the socialisation process of embedding in the family business.

Phil Crowther and Caroline Westwood (along with Greg Langridge-Thomas from Powys Council) had their article ‘The Royal Welsh Show – the nations true cauldron’ accepted for publication in the Event Management journal.  Using the show as a single case study to really examine the catalytic role events have in the context of networks and knowledge economy and in this case, the impact the show has throughout Wales and beyond.  The show (as many UK agricultural shows), dates back to the early 1900’s, recognised as hugely influential on the development of rural areas, their role is high worth, contributing to significantly improving, husbandry techniques, stock quality and enabling the country to meet the needs for increased food production.  This extensive case study included 43 interviews and 1322 questions in addition to archival research.  Through this research a framework was derived entitled ‘Taxonomy of Platforms’ which demonstrates events such as the Royal Welsh Show are value creation platforms, offering a significant role in cultivating networks, across key industries (food, farming, agricultural innovations) both stakeholder and attendee focused.  Future research which Caroline is undertaking focuses on how these shows are also a stage for ‘families of choice’ to convene, share best practices, educate themselves and socialise.  This next stage of the research will consider partly the value of agricultural shows but also how individuals perceive the events in terms of space and place and the connection they have with certain events within the agricultural events calendar.

From Jillian Newton: Hello to all you fellow CHEFS from the Biomolecular Sciences Research arm, just to let you know what we’ve been up to during lockdown and the sheer madness of remote working. As many of you will know we have over the past 6 years been developing links with local microbrewers, running workshops and meetings helping to understand and develop this research area within the BMRC. Early on in 2020 in the heady days of pre-lockdown myself,  (Dr Jillian Newton), Dr Susan Campbell, Dr Daniel Allwood and Dr Tim Nichol set up a brewing research group, which included Tim’s master student  and my a final year project student. These two students have been working within the BMRC and the NCEFE looking at the beer brewing process and its effect on yeast. Since lockdown, however, we have kept ourselves productive in a written capacity. In the joyous haze of lockdown we have somehow put together:

  • A capital equipment grant for kit to complement our established pilot microbrewery plant at NCEFE, to allow SHU researchers and local brewers access to scientific data about brewing processes and the beers they produce. This would contribute extensively to our engagement with local brewers.
  • An application to the Brewers Research and Education Fund which is funded by the very aptly named ‘Worshipful Company of Brewers’ to help create a central hub for the communication of knowledge transfer, bespoke research, teaching and good practice between the craft ale community and researchers.
  • And finally, we have also applied for a GTA PhD studentship, working with Triple Point brewery, looking at one of the ‘Holy Grails’ of brewing: the scientific basis behind yeast flocculation.

All told a very productive brewing related few weeks.

James Ellerby sits on the steering group of ShefFood, a local cross-sector food partnership. James would like to hear from anyone in CHEFS who would be interested in getting involved with the partnership. A few recent ShefFood updates on the local food system include:

  • Food Works has moved their focus to meal deliveries, serving about 3500 meals to date.
  • Food Banks: the need for food has increased 20%. The increase in food prices is having a big impact (e.g. S2 Food Bank currently spends £2000/week to supplement donations).
  • City Farm Federation/Heeley City Farm: the main focus for local growers has been maximising food production, supporting the increased demand for food cooperatives such as Regather. With the loss of farm visits, school tours etc., city farms are needing to consider longer term solutions. There appears to be a need for improved digital infrastructure, e.g. online resources for virtual tours etc.
  • Regather food cooperative: a current success story in this crisis. Household subscriptions for their veg box scheme went from 320 to 650/week in just five days. They have accelerated their own farm development to supplement this and the loss of their events business.
  • Moor Market fruit and veg traders have had some great examples of pivoting businesses and moving to home delivery.
  • Sustainable Food Cities have rebranded as Sustainable Food Places. Some great case studies of other food partnerships/cities and their reaction to the crisis. See:

Please let James know ( if anyone is interested in getting involved in/supporting any of the above issues. If anyone is currently working on anything that may be of use to the partnership/local food businesses please do let him know.

James Ellerby and colleagues from the Hospitality Business Management group in Sheffield Business School have organised a webinar series, ‘Covid-19 Support Resources for Hospitality,’ delivered through the ScaleUp 360 programme. The team have developed a series of completely free online resources, available to businesses within the Sheffield City Region. The resources will be delivered as a series of online webinars and will included a blend of taught content, panel discussions and live Q&As. The initial list of topics currently includes:

  • 04/06 – Lessons from the past: restaurant recovery in a global recession
  • 11/06 – The future of service in hospitality
  • 17/06 – Hospitality revenue management for the Covid-19 recovery
  • 25/06 – Innovation: re-think, re-visit, reinvent – Developing resilient hospitality business models 02/07 – Food supply chain challenges and solutions
  • 09/07 – Food and business ethics: making the ‘right’ decisions for the future

Details of each event will be available here. For any further information about the hospitality webinars please contact James Ellerby (

Please note: in order to participate, businesses must register (free) with the ScaleUp 360 programme via an expression of interest form, and a short registration meeting via a phone call with a business growth coach at ScaleUp 360. Registered businesses are then eligible to an additional range of fully funded enterprise and entrepreneurial skills development opportunities, including Business Workshops; Mentoring; Incubation Support and Networking; Design and Prototyping; 1:1 Business Advice. ScaleUp 360 is part-financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and is run in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, and East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer Smith Maguire, in collaboration with Jennifer Frost and Warwick Frost of La Trobe University (LTU), was awarded a 2020 SHU-LTU Collaborative Research Seed Grant. The bid had three objectives: (1) to progress our collaborative research on cultural institutions and wellbeing (initiated through a 2019 LTU-SHU Collaborative Research Seed Grant); (2) to scope a cross-cultural comparative project on wine tourism and the social marketing of terroir; and (3) to develop a cross-university food/drink/culture research network, by promoting CHEFS and SBS expertise to LTU colleagues, and identifying potential areas for collaborative research. The funding was to allow Jen to travel to La Trobe for an intense week of writing, research scoping and networking in June 2020. The global pandemic has put the trip temporarily on hold, but objective 3 is nevertheless underway! To that end: this is a call for expressions of interest from SHU-based CHEFS colleagues who want to develop links with LTU colleagues, with a focus on future collaborative research on the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink. Please submit your information through this google form. As part of the SHU-LTU global partnership, there have already been two rounds (2019, 2020) of collaborative research seed grants, and there is currently a call for joint PhD proposals. The google form is intended to help with proactively building a CHEFS/SHU-LTU research network, to enhance the likelihood of success in bidding for these (and other, external) funds, and developing productive, collegial partnerships. Please get in touch with Jen if you have any questions (


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking

The next edition of What’s Cooking will be September 2020. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by Thursday 27 August.


Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.


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The Sparkling Symposium, 28 November 2019

photo of symposium programme

Photo credit: Judith Boyle

Many thanks to all who could join us yesterday at Sheffield Hallam University for the Sparkling Symposium, hosted by the CHEFS research cluster and sponsored by Sheffield Business School, Department of Service Sector Management.

The event brought together academics and industry professionals, including wine makers, winery owners, wine retailers and wine writers, to discuss present and future directions of champagne and sparkling wine, with a focus on the British context.

The afternoon began with comments from co-organisers Professor Jennifer Smith Maguire and Dr John Dunning, welcoming 48 participants from across the UK and beyond. The Symposium marked the external launch of the CHEFS (Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society) research cluster, and signalled the group’s commitment to fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between academics and practitioners with regard to the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink. What could be a better first topic of discussion than sparkling wine?

John Dunning and Jennifer Smith Maguire open the symposium

Photo credit: James Ellerby

Professor Marion Demossier delivered the first keynote: ‘Critical Reflexions on Terroir,’ in which she explored the questions of ‘What do people do with the notion of terroir?’ and ‘What does terroir do to wine?’ Drawing on 30 years of fieldwork in Burgundy and recent work in New Zealand and the UK, Marion outlined the powerful instruments and strategies that have linked place, taste and quality, and highlighted some of their potential disadvantages, including the homogenization of local cultures and environments, and the loss of authentic connections between people and place.

Marion Demossier delivering keynote Marion Demossier delivering keynote

Rebecca Gibb MW delivered the second keynote: ‘Uncorking the sparkling wine world,’ exploring some of the socio-political struggles and technological advances that underpinned the historical development of champagne. She then provided a critical analysis of the relative successes and failures of other sparkling wines. Drawing comparisons between champagne, cava, prosecco and New Zealand sparkling, Rebecca concluded by outlining some of the key factors for champagne’s enduring market success.

Rebecca Gibb delivering keynote Rebecca Gibb delivering keynote

Following a lively question and answer session, and a break for tea, coffee and cake, the Symposium resumed with Jennifer Smith Maguire outlining ‘A changing market context’ for champagne and sparkling wine in the British context. Jennifer discussed four factors that help to understand the increasingly diverse UK sparkling wine market, highlighting changing attitudes of consumers, producers and market gatekeepers such as wine journalists with regard to luxury brands, hierarchies of cultural legitimacy, desires for the hand-crafted and authentic, and a sense of taste for place and novelty.

Jennifer Smith Maguire delivering presentation

Photo credit: Helenka Brown

Participants were then treated to an entertaining and educational tasting of four champagnes, led by Rebecca and John. A highly scientific poll of participants revealed a wide spread of favourites, with each wine receiving votes for best in show: à chacun son gout!

4 tasting glasses

Photo credit: Emma Martin

John Dunning and Rebecca Gibb leading the tasting

The final major portion of the Symposium was devoted to a panel discussion of the present and future of sparkling wine. The panel included Marion Demossier, Rebecca Gibb, Mr John Mitchell and Dr Gregory Dunn. John, the owner and director of Sheffield’s Mitchells Wines, shared his insights as to the changing tastes of British consumers over his 50 years in the wine and spirits trade as a retailer and wholesaler. Greg reflected on the industry from the perspective of his research, role as the Head of Plumpton College’s Wine Division and experience as the Programme Manager for Plumpton’s MSc Viticulture & Oenology. Greg skilfully chaired the session to ensure ample contributions from the audience of both comments and questions. The panel ended with a final challenge to the panellists, asking for their recommendations as to how best to attract under-30 consumers to English sparkling wine.

Panel discussion (Greg Dunn, Rebecca Gibb, John Mitchell, Marion Demossier) James Ellerby pouring for the reception

After a stimulating afternoon of presentations and discussion—and many rounds of thanks to all involved—the Symposium concluded with a wine and canapé reception. Judging by the volume of conversations in the room, there was plenty of appetite for further discussion.

Thanks once again to all who took part. Until next time!


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