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SOAS Food Studies Centre

Alumni Profiles

Abigail Seiler

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in Washington, DC and completed a Master's degree in Communication at the University of Maryland, where she focused on rhetoric, social change, and food movements. She currently works for the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy group that challenges harmful food production technologies and promotes sustainable alternatives through litigation and policy work.

Alessandro d'Ansembourg

(completed BA Anthropology of Food course 2005) works as Senior Consultant at Zago in New York City. He mainly advises non-profits, foundations, and international organizations on strategic planning, communication campaigns, and branding- and identity-related issues. He frequently collaborates with several grass roots food and agriculture movements and organizations like Slow Food USA and The Greenhorns. In September 2011, he began working with a large US philanthropy on sustainable fisheries programs with a focus on Asia. Alessandro also sits on the Board of Advisors of the Associazione Monte Alto, a community-focused natural conservation association in Nigoline, Italy, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Maddalena Foundation, a retreat for writers and botanists near Florence, Italy.

Anne-Sophie Noten

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) wrote her dissertation on Western attitudes towards sugar, sweetness and health. She now works as an International Product Management Trainee at Alpro, an international plant-based food company headquartered in Belgium. Anne-Sophie collaborates with strategic marketing to develop business plans and concepts for new product developments and product improvements (e.g. sugar reduction). Anne-Sophie is interested in the complex interrelationship between food and health.

Catherine McPherson

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) works as a Program Assistant at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an independent policy research institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Academy conducts interdisciplinary studies and programs to address contemporary social challenges and her work focuses on promoting the incorporation of social sciences into science and technology policy. To further build upon her Master’s dissertation on the craft beer movement in London and her experience working in the craft beer industry in Washington DC, she is also exploring the regional craft beer scene.

Chi-Hoon Kim

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) began her Ph.D. in Anthropology of Food at Indiana University in the Autumn of 2010. She is continuing her research on airline meals and is working as a researcher for the Korea Broadcasting Station’s food documentary series. Her regional focus is South Korea and she is also interested in analyzing Korean government policies regarding tourism and agriculture.

Constanze von Hartmann

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) lives currently in Munich, Germany. She works as freelance filmmaker and video-journalist with a focus on food related topics. Besides her work for online-magazines and TV channels, Constanze produces high-quality image-films for food producers. In 2012 she started the  Food & Film project, a video-platform for Europe's most outstanding food producers.  

David Pistrang

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in San Francisco and works as the Community and Content Manager at CHOW.com. His research and professional interests include food tourism, Chinese cuisine (especially dumplings), education, and cross-cultural experiential learning. He would be very happy to meet other graduates of the program if they come to San Francisco, and would make sure they eat well.

Diya Sharma

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) after completing the course worked for Riverford Organic, a cooperative of farmers in Devon that produces fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy which is then packaged as standard and customized boxes. She now works with a non-profit collective called Ethical Tea Partnership, a membership-based organization of 24 large and medium tea packing companies set up to improve working standards in the tea industry through monitoring, evaluation and fair trade practices. She is based in Mumbai and travels frequently to Assam, Darjeeling and the south of India where the tea is grown. Diya’s interests lie in fair and ethical trade, working on shortening food chains and working with small and marginal food producers.

Doreen Joy Barber

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in London, working with food and alcohol, particularly beer, in a variety of capacities. She works for the Five Points Brewing Company, a new Hackney brewing company dedicated to creating stunning examples of craft beer. In addition to occasional writing for festivals such as Appetite, she also periodically updates two blogs, Tasty Fever and AbandonedinLondon.com, and is on Twitter at @londondear.

Eleonoora Kirk

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works as a foreign rights literary agent for Holland & Scandinavia. She continues her personal interest in food by editing her great-great-grandmother's best-selling cookery book for a modern audience and collaborates with designers and innovators on food-related projects. She recently gave a short talk on artisan food to branding and R&D managers from a variety of large F&B multinationals, independent designers and food industry entrepreneurs.  She also periodically updates her food blog.

Elizabeth Bennett

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) lives in Washington D.C. working for the National Governors Association.  She is interested in issues related to childhood obesity and has been involved with the growing food justice movement in D.C. by serving on the Mayor's Sustainable Food Working Group and volunteering with D.C. Central Kitchen.

Eloise Dey

(MA Anthropology of Food 2008) is part of Sustain’s Capital Growth project, a campaign aimed to convert 2012 spaces in London into food growing areas that benefit the community, a goal which has been met and surpassed. In addition, she worked with Tristram Stuart and the Feeding 5000 team to coordinate an event to raise awareness about the issues of food waste. Following on from the success of Feeding 5K, Eloise became one of the founding members of A Taste of Freedom and is currently working on an educational event to raise awareness and tackle the issues of surplus food. This combination of experience working in London provides a well-rounded understanding of food sustainability in urban contexts.

Emma Piper

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) lives in Indonesia and works as the Gender and Livelihoods Manager with a local NGO.  She works closely with a group of women in a rural farming community to support their economic development, health, nutrition and empowerment.  Professionally, she helps create kitchen gardens and supports farmers to convert to organic practices and she uses her spare time to discover and cook the dishes of South East Asia. She would be happy to hear from any graduates travelling to Indonesia and will point them in the direction of a good meal.

Emma Sears

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) lives in Sonoma, California and works for a small winery called Scribe. At Scribe, Emma assists the winemaking team, runs the staff education program and is working to set up a farmer’s market stand with the excess produce grown on the Scribe farm. In her spare time, Emma enjoys sampling all of the culinary goodies the Bay Area has to offer.

Faith Fennelly

(MA Anthropology of Development 2008, completed Anthropology of Food module) lives in Connecticut where she works at Newman’s Own Foundation. Faith supports the Foundation’s strategic grant-making process, including their Nutrition initiative which funds fresh food access and nutrition education programs for under-served communities in the United States. Before joining Newman’s Own Foundation, Faith worked at Save the Children where she managed a portfolio of nutrition, health and education grants for country offices in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Federico de Musso

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) continued his education in Italy and further explored his Master’s research on freeganism and ‘food resistance.’ Combining food studies and his interest in film making, photography and sound, Federico is involved with a variety of film projects, including a documentary on Farmers Markets and Ethical Purchasing Groups in Northern Italy and the St. Anthony’s Festival in Boston's North End. He also collaborates with a local, online newspaper.

Giacomo Pelizza

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) cultivated a growing interest in beer while working at a London pub and returned to Italy to work at Birrificio Italiano, the first craft microbrewery in the Lombardy region. Giacomo is responsible for PR and communications including managing mailing lists, twitter, doing brewery tours, as well as monitoring the brewery’s presence at fairs, assisting with marketing exhibits and organizing events. He also works as a consultant for a beverage distribution company looking to diversify strategies to increase the market of high-quality, craft beer.

Harrison Leaf

(completed BA Anthropology of Food module 2007) started three companies since completing his first degree at SOAS in Social Anthropology and Development Economics, including access:wind, and is now pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Science at Yale University. His current work furthers interests he developed during his time at SOAS while undertaking a project to build a 250 square meter edible roof garden on the fourth floor of a creative agency in central London, including a bee-hive, vegetable and mushroom production, and event space and artist exhibitions.

Holly Creighton-Hird

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) is the Sustainability Coordinator for The Environment Council (TEC), the UK's leading charity on engaging people for sustainable development. She works on a variety of projects, but her main focus is TEC's behavior change initiative with Asda. Outside TEC, Holly works on a research project and engagement program with the food waste campaign This is Rubbish. Holly is also involved in Grow Heathrow, a radical food growing and housing project in one of the Heathrow villages.

Jessica Chu

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) is doing doctoral research in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS under the supervision of Johan Pottier and Harry West. Jessica’s project explores rising interest in 'land grabs' and seeks to situate debates about this phenomenon within the anthropology of development, with a focus on implications for food security. In addition to 'land grabs' she has been researching other related issues including current trends in food security policy, agricultural development, and food prices.

Katherine Harrison

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works as a wine specialist for Waitrose and is pursuing advanced certification through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. In the past, she also interned at The Food Chain, a nutrition charity that provides meals to people living with HIV in London and on a mixed farm in Herts that seeks to bring together food, animals and people, and prides itself on diversity and high animal welfare standards.

Kathleen (Kate) Greavette

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in Toronto, Canada and works with York Region Food Network, a non-profit organization that operates programs, raises awareness and promotes policy changes for increased access to affordable and nutritious food produced within a sustainable food system. Kate coordinates the development and initial implementation of a York Region Food Charter, a guiding document for the development of coordinated food related policies and programs in York Region. Continuing with her interests in agricultural production, Kate also works part-time at a small-scale vegetable farm in the Greater Toronto Area.

Katrina Kollegaeva

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) lives in London and works for the Soil Association developing the Food for Life Catering Mark, an accreditation scheme for catering businesses interested in promoting healthy, ethical food. She runs Russian Revels pop-up dinners across London, which feature playful food combined with a story rooted in Russia and Soviet Union theatre. Katrina wrote her dissertation on the social and cultural role of Ukrainian salo (cured pork fat) and has written for various publications including Gastronomica, Olive and Easyjet and continues to blog on The Gastronomical Me.

Laura Colebrook

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) worked for a number of organic and community food projects in the UK before she began her PhD as a President's Scholar at Cardiff University in 2013. She is researching the role of community in food governance in Bristol using cultural and interpretive approaches.

Lauren Blake

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) is conducting doctoral research at the British Library and University of Sheffield, studying food activism through oral histories. Her areas of focus include food activists, activist organizations, activist activity, identity, food policy, food politics, recent history, social change, and qualitative social research. She also continues to explore work emerging out of her MA dissertation on malnutrition and development in Guatemala.

Lucia Trlicova

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) began her PhD in 2010 at the Institute of Social Anthropology at Comenius University. in Bratislava, Slovakia. Her fieldwork in 2012 was conducted in Sarajevo where she studied the food consumption practices of the diplomatic community with a focus on elitism, distinction, nationalism, superiority and cultural imperialism. As a part of her PhD, she teaches a  course on the "Anthropology of Food and Eating", which is the first of its kind in Slovakia. She also assisted on the courses "Introduction to Economic Anthropology" and "Ethnicity and Nationalism". 

Madlen Maehlis

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is a research assistant and museum educator at the GRASSI Museum of Ethnography, Leipzig, Germany. Her work builds upon her studies in Asian and African Studies, Chinese Studies and the Anthropology of Food. Her research for her Master’s focused on the history and politics of Muslim foods in China and her doctoral research examines pre- and post-Shoah Jewish training farms in Germany. Her fields of interest include food and identity, food security, alternative modes of food production and culinary activism.

Mariagiulia Mariani

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) spent years collaborating with Slow Food, managing projects related to food and taste education and the defense of biodiversity, before completing her MA in Anthropology of Food. She loves everything related to food, from field to fork, including food activism. After spending time in Oakland collaborating with Food First she returned to London to find and create other food related projects. With a group of friends and sustainable food supporters, she is setting up a permaculture farm and education center in the Ecuadorian Andean region.

Monica Madey

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) worked as an intern of food studies at the British Library during her course.  She is primarily interested in food and identity in its various forms.  Her dissertation focused on deconstructing narratives of culinary tourism in modern ethnic cookbooks. Monica now works as an archivist at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  She hopes to develop the food-related collections at the center.  She is currently involved in jump-starting a non-profit organization to support agroecology and sustainable food networks in central Arkansas.

Olissa Francisco

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works as an account executive for a small PR company called Holly Hansen Public Relations which markets and represents international niche food and wine companies and products. She also volunteers for food justice organizations in the Bay Area (Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley) and is interested in food justice/access, GMOs, alternative food networks, local food economies, and urban growing.

Paul Chalmers

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) is conducting doctoral research on 'Spaces of sustainable trade? Street food in Latin America' at the School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University. His research group has the overarching theme of 'sustainable city-regions'—aiming to explore ways in which cities might develop new ways forward in food governance. His fieldwork focuses on La Paz, Bolivia. Within the University, he is also a member of the new Sustainable Places Research Institute. He spends free time working on farms and community gardens and also runs a group in Cardiff that engages in a minor way with underutilized abundance by cooperatively brewing wild and urban fruit.  

Rachel Adams

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) works as a manager and buyer at The Spanish Table, a specialty wine, food, and cookware store based in Seattle. Her job entails sourcing products, developing relationships with vendors, supervising daily functioning of the store, and working with social media and email marketing to promote the store and its products. In addition to maintaining a blog and newsletter, Rachel is currently writing a cookbook for the store which will focus on recipes inspired by the food of Spain and will be published later this year.

Rebecca Chesney

MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is the Communications and Community Manager at the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research consultancy based in Palo Alto, California. She has worked with food in a variety of capacities, including as a Research Assistant with the University College Dublin Institute of Food and Health, a cheesemonger in Dublin, and a winery associate in Texas. Before exploring the world of food anthropology, Rebecca earned her certified public accountant license and studied the financial management capacity of developing countries with the World Bank. She also enjoys photography, and one of her pieces was selected for the 2012 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year exhibit in London.

Seamus Murphy

(completed the Anthropology of Food course as an elective in 2010) is pursuing a PhD at SOAS, examining fisheries development in Malawi and, in particular, its impact on the food security of the lake-shore villages of Lake Chilwa.

Signe Johansen

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) works as a freelance food writer and cookery instructor specializing in Scandinavian food. Her first cookbook, 'Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking' (Saltyard Books), was published in 2011, and her second cookbook, 'Secrets of Scandinavian Baking', in 2012.

Sushila Moles

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works at River Cottage HQ in Devon where she is the Bespoke Events Manager. In this role, she coordinates a range of events including large parties, weddings and fairs, which allows her to engage with a variety of food-related issues. She also owns and helps run a landshare in which she and her partner raise and sell billy goat meat (which would be a wasted by-product of the dairy industry) to restaurants in London.

Zoe Goodman

(completed BA Anthropology of Food module 2007) worked at a trade and human rights NGO (3D Three) in Geneva for two years, where her research focused on the effects of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on seeds, small farmers, rural livelihoods, and biodiversity. She was also involved in work on land grabbing. After completing her MA at SOAS with a dissertation on how East African Asians in the UK use food to construct their identities, she began her PhD in Anthropology at SOAS in the autumn of 2012.

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