Bhavna Middha’s research interests span urban spaces, food, sustainable consumption, digital methods and social practice theories. As a part of RMIT Sustainable Urban Precincts Project (SUPP) and Work Life Ecologies, Phd Candidate Bhavna Middha is investigating the eating spaces at inner urban universities and their interrelationship with students’ eating practices and their implication on sustainable consumption.
Using ethnographic and digital methods, her study uses the formal and informal spaces of food consumption and provisioning in and around RMIT’s city campus as key focal points. Bhavna’s earlier research for her master’s thesis has explored household cooking practices in India. Her undergraduate degree is in Architecture and she has a masters in Environmental and Urban Planning from RMIT, Melbourne.
Here Bhavna describes, in brief, her innovative research method:
I have used, ‘Selfoodie’(posting food selfies) is a research method, to follow the students’ eating practices on and off campus and as a way of exploring the changing spatio-temporal characteristics of eating practices. In my project research participants provided literal snapshots of their eating practices, on a private Facebook page, as they moved through their day and shuttled between home, university and on and off campus eating spaces.
This has generated new ways of understanding and knowledge generation about the real time and spatio-temporally mobile aspects of students’ eating practices, including how they themselves understand their eating practices, and relatedly their use of campus spaces. I propose that not only does this research method help reimagine eating spaces on campus, but also that spaces produced by these digital-offline interactions are sites for intervention in the university as pathways for sustainable outcomes.