We are delighted to announce that our new touring exhibition entitled ‘Behind Closed Doors’ has launched this week in Cardiff.
The exhibition will be travelling the country to Bristol, Chester and Carlisle – with other dates to be announced – before ending in the House of Commons on World Food Day, 16th October 2018. In each location, there will be an opening event to which End Hunger UK campaign supporters are invited. Simply select the event you would like to attend here.
‘Behind Closed Doors’ aims to raise awareness of the nature, scale, causes and experiences of food insecurity in Britain today. The name reflects the fact that household food insecurity is often an unseen form of poverty – with people perhaps feeling as if they need to try and deal with the problem behind the closed door of their home.
To break down some of the possible stigma and shame attached to living in food poverty, the exhibition gives a platform to people who experience this, as we believe they are best placed to talk about their situation. The portraits of people living in food poverty aim to convey something of the range, but also the dignity, of these people. These are taken from a broader project called Stories of Us, developed by photographer Ursula Kelly.
The portraits are interspersed with images of ‘dishes’ which portray the meals people living with household food insecurity have described eating. These are deliberately styled to resonate, but also jar, with the glossy pictures of perfect plates of food that fill our magazines and cook books.
Finally, the exhibition features a series of text panels that combine a selection of facts and figures that we feel convey something of its causes and scale of household food insecurity, alongside people’s own accounts of having nothing to eat. For example, one contribution from London reads:
“I have lost a lot of weight. My survival tactic is hot water, lemon and sugar because it … stops the hunger pangs … When I get paid I can eat for the first two weeks … When I’m out of money, I go to my neighbour”
Many people living in household food insecurity can feel very alone in trying to cope with their situation. But just how many people can’t afford to eat, or worry about how they will afford their next meal? No one really knows because the UK government doesn’t collect statistics on household food insecurity in the UK. The best data we have to go on is from the Trussell Trust who record the number of three-day emergency food parcels distributed from their foodbanks. But we know this number is just the tip of the iceberg – not everyone who is hungry uses a foodbank. They might get food from friends and family, choose to heat their home instead of eating, or rely on low-cost supermarket deals.
Everyone who attends the exhibition will be asked to sign a postcard addressed to their MP – asking them to support our call for a measure of household food insecurity across the UK. The first step to addressing the root causes of household food poverty is to know the true scale of the problem. If we measure it we can mend it.
If you are unable to attend the exhibition but still want to take action you can email your MP here.