A ‘Labour of Love’: The politics and pleasures of niche food production, A seminar with Dr Michelle Phillipov

For the Food Values Research Group’s April seminar, we are pleased to welcome Dr Michelle Phillipov.

A ‘Labour of Love’: The politics and pleasures of niche food production

Dr Michelle Phillipov, School of Humanities, University of Adelaide

Popular food media encourages us to “connect” with the sources—and producers—of our food in order to resist the alienation and unsustainability of conventional, industrial food systems. This is giving niche producers an expanded customer base for ‘ethical’ and artisan products. However, these media portrayals of small-scale farming may conceal more than they reveal about the realities of contemporary food production. Using a cookbook by Australian chef Kylie Kwong as a case study, this paper explores how niche production is often portrayed in the media as a ‘labour of love’ done for pleasure, rather than as ‘work’. This has significant implications for how we understand and value production practices, as such portrayals can weaken consumers’ knowledge of food systems, inadvertently amplifying the distance between producers and consumers. The implications of this for the media and communications strategies of small producers need to be more carefully considered.


Michelle Phillipov is a lecturer in the Department of Media at the University of Adelaide. Her work explores media’s role in shaping contemporary food politics. She is the author or editor of four books: Alternative Food Politics: From the Margins to the Mainstream (with Katherine Kirkwood, forthcoming on Routledge); Media and Food Industries: The New Politics of Food (Palgrave, 2017); Fats: A Global History (Reaktion, 2016); and Death Metal and Music Criticism: Analysis at the Limits (Lexington, 2012).

When: Tuesday 10th of April, 12-1 PM

Where: Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide (click here for campus map)

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