Food for Thought

The text food, the number 4 in green font in an apple outline, the text thought
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 10:29am
Larissa Ho

This year the Office of the Vice-Principal Research is continuing “Food For Thought,” a thematic program conceived by Psychology Professor Alison Fleming while she was serving as the Acting Vice Principal, Research in the 2008-09 academic term. The event was created to provide faculty the opportunity to meet and discuss their research, and possibly find avenues of partnership and collaboration.

Photo of Alison Fleming“When I met with every department to learn about what they do I realized that there were researchers within different departments, in the Humanities and the Social, Physical and Life Sciences, whose research overlapped, but who did not know about one another,” says Fleming. “By creating the Food for Thought concept, we hoped to encourage the exchange of ideas in a relaxed setting, by bringing together like-minded folk from different disciplines, who could share their different approaches to a common theme.” Past themes have included research in language and linguistics, food-related studies, and issues of genetics.

The first Food for Thought of the 2010-11 term, entitled “Asian Persuasion,” was held last October. The gathering included a light lunch for faculty at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus to become familiar with each other's research, and possibly to foster interdisciplinary projects. Since these kinds of cross-disciplinary collaborations have become more prevalent in research it is important to provide a forum for researchers to discuss their projects and perhaps discover some commonalities. The “Asian Persuasion” session brought together faculty members from Anthropology, Management, Philosophy and Political Science.

The second Food For Thought of the term was held in November, and the theme was “Wired in Research,” focusing on the part that new media plays in research and the dissemination of its results using such outlets as documentaries, websites and social networking. Professor Lindsay Schoenbohm from the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences presented a film she co-produced with Archer Film and Television and her collaborator, Dr. Barbara Carrapa, from the University of Wyoming. The film, which was mainly shot on the UTM campus, was a fast-paced, dynamic and well executed documentary that helped to explain and showcase their work in tectonics and landscape evolution. The attendees also benefitted from the expertise of Sarosh Jamal, Geographic Computing and IT Specialist in the Department of Geography, and his recommendations for resources.

There are two more Food for Thought events scheduled for this term, the next one will focus on Religion and Rituals and will be held on Thursday, March 3. For further information or to RSVP, please contact Carla DeMarco, Communications & Grants Manager in the Office of the Vice Principal, Research, at 905-828-5343 or