At today’s University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation and Engagement Awards ceremony, LEAP, co-directed by Professor Susan Jebb from Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, was announced an overall winner for two major public engagement initiatives: Meat Your Persona and Meat the Future.
LEAP (Livestock, Environment and People) is supported by the Wellcome Trust’s Our Planet Our Health Programme and is an inter-disciplinary project, which investigates the impacts of producing and consuming meat and dairy on health and the environment and generates evidence and tools for decision-makers to help meet societal goals.
In 2021, LEAP launched two major public engagement projects, Meat Your Persona and Meat the Future, to open up conversations about meat production and consumption with the public.
I’m delighted we’ve received this Vice-Chancellor Award. The LEAP programme has been an extraordinary inter-disciplinary collaboration across the university and through these public engagement events we’ve been able to connect with the public in ways which have shaped our research programme and, I hope, given research findings back to people to shape their own thinking. I want to thank all the LEAP research team, Lucy Yates who led the public engagement theme, colleagues at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History who created the Meat the Future exhibition and the team at Liminal Space who designed the Meat Your Persona installation.
- Professor Susan Jebb, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and LEAP Director
Meat Your Persona empowered the public with accessible, research-based information and tools about the health and environmental impacts of meat consumption.
Working with The Liminal Space, a creative design agency, the LEAP team built a touring installation in a bright yellow horsebox to take LEAP research to six cities (Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle, Blackpool, Redcar, Glasgow). This included a quiz, take-away cards containing key facts to fit with your ‘meat persona’, and plant-based recipe cards. This stimulated visitors to discuss food and planetary health with LEAP researchers and locally-recruited staff, to gain insight into the findings and ultimately to make better-informed choices about their diets.
Independent evaluation showed the touring installation reached over 100,000 people, and three-quarters said they would talk to others about the experience. The team compiled what they learnt about the barriers to meat reduction into a briefing for policy-makers.
Meat the Future: A partnership to feed minds and bodies, in collaboration with Oxford University Museum of Natural History, presented LEAP’s research in a thought-provoking exhibition about the societal challenges – and choices – we face about the production and consumption of meat. Data was presented in a visually-stimulating way, and visitors explored the environmental and health impacts of their own diets through digital interactives. Between May 2021 and May 2022, it attracted more than 250,000 visitors, alongside a diverse programme of events engaging families, students and local communities, which involved 35 researchers and reached over 4,800 people. A new Eat the Future café at the Museum provided a largely vegetarian menu, implementing LEAP research by adopting innovative ‘ecolabels’.
The LEAP project is co-directed by Professor Charles Godfray (Hope Professor and Director of the Oxford Martin School and Future of Food Programme) and Professor Susan Jebb (Professor of Diet and Population Health, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences) with Lucy Yates as public engagement lead. Amanda Gore, Director at The Liminal Space, collaborated on Meat Your Persona with our researchers, while Janet Stott, Deputy Director at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, collaborated with LEAP on Meat the Future.