BigPicnic Third Partner Meeting

  • Country

  • Topic

    Public Engagement
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The Third BigPicnic Partner Meeting took place from 22nd to 24th November, 2017 in Belgium. This time Botanic Garden Meise hosted, and they did a fantastic job! As well as a jam-packed agenda that allowed Partners to share what they have been doing and what they will do next, there was a fabulous programme of evening events to help everyone wind down.

BigPicnic brings together the public, scientists, policy-makers and industry to help tackle the global challenge of food security. Botanic gardens, with help from other Partners, will co-create a range of exhibitions and participatory events with people from all walks of life, to generate dialogue and build greater understanding of food security. Our collaborative approach aims to give a voice to adults and young people, communicating their views to policy-makers, sharing ideas, encouraging debate on the future of our food and achieving Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).


The project is now at the half-way mark, this meeting didn’t involve any training sessions. It was instead a chance to share our stories and progress. We kicked off by looking at what we have all learnt from an organisational and individual perspective. Partners then had the opportunity to share what they have achieved through a session that looked at outputs so far. Questions discussed included: Where have you taken your travelling exhibition? Which hard-to-reach audiences are you working with? And, what do your take-home activities, to complement your exhibition, look like? The next phase of the project is to look at how we can use BigPicnic findings and influence Responsible Research and Innovation in the area of food security, so there was a lot of discussion about data analysis and the development of case studies that can be used by other organisations.

The Management Board meeting that preceded the main meeting also provided the perfect opportunity for the first BigPicnic International Consolidation Group (ICG) meeting. The ICG will contribute to BigPicnic by offering expertise to help analyse the data gathered and advise on how this sits within current policies and other projects. This will help develop the final recommendations for ethical, sustainable and achievable research and innovation solutions, as well as helping to snowball the project and its outputs.

The meeting was attended by Karen Fabri from the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation, Claudia Neubauer from Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer, Gisèle Yasmeen from the Institute of Asian Research at University of British Columbia, and Arshiya Noorani from the Plant Production and Protection Division of FAO. Most attended via Skype but, fortunately, Gisèle Yasmeen was able to join us in person and stay for the Partner Meeting during which she gave a presentation about how BigPicnic sits within the wider food security context.

The ICG meeting provided the opportunity for members to meet as well as bringing to light some important opportunities for the organisations involved to work together. As well as a lot of hard work, there was also plenty of time to have fun. Botanic Garden Meise did not disappoint when it came to evening entertainment. As well as Belgian beer in the newly refurbished glasshouse and a Belgian feast, we were offered an African meal. The dinner was prepared by people of African heritage that the garden have been working with to develop their exhibition. It was a great success and culminated in some wonderful traditional dance.

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