Events by SIEF Working Group on Food Research


SIEF 24th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Museum of Ethnography, Budapest, Hungary, 18-20/09/2024

Conference Theme: Living Eating Habits, Revitalized Foodways and the Concepts of Tradition and Food Heritage

Kemecsi Lajos, Director General, Museum of Ethnography, Budapest
Balogh Balázs, Director General, Research Centre for  the Humanities, Director of the Institute of Ethnology
Kisbán Eszter Professor Emerita, University of Pécs
Patricia Lysaght, SIEF Food Research Group
Håkan Jönsson, SIEF Food Research Group
Báti Anikó, Senior Research Fellow, Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of Ethnology, as a contact person (

Food as Heritage

In their ‘Introduction: Food and Foodways as Cultural Heritage’ in Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage (2014, 2016), Michael A. Di Giovine and Ronda L. Brulotte remark in terms of food heritage, that food … “binds people together, not only through space but time as well, as individuals collectively remember past experiences with certain meals and imagine their ancestors having similar experiences. When this occurs, food is transformed into heritage … tangible and intangible goods that a society inherits from the past (héritage), preserves in the present, and passes on to the future… These are mediators, linking members of society together through space and time, serving as referential touchstones for a group’s self-identification … and representing the group to outsiders… Already affective in nature, food therefore takes on even greater emotional weight when designated as “heritage.” This heritage can be small in scale, demarcating a particular group or community; it can likewise be large in scale, attempting to solidify nationalistic ideologies or multicultural ideals that purport to unify, homogenize, or celebrate cultural diversity. In all of these cases, it is clear that heritage imparts particular value claims on people, their histories, social structures, and traditions. It is also able to contain and embody the memories of people and places, across space and time…” (Brulotte, Ronda L., Di Giovine, Michael A., [eds.], Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2016, 1-2; Ashgate, 2014).

Conference Submissions

Against this discursive background of food heritage implications, the conference focuses on meals and on the ways in which food and foodways are used to create ‘identity claims’ of cultural heritage at local, regional, national and international levels. Submission for the conference may include, but are not limited to the following topics.

Important aspects/questions (examined, to a certain extent with particular regional emphasis in Edible Identities) are:

  • the use of food to mark insiders and outsiders within ethnic groups
  • how the meanings of the same food can change within a particular society;
  • the “invention” of traditions for the purposes of the economic and social revitalization of communities;
  • the designating, classifying, and the valorisation of food and foodways as cultural heritage in the process of the heritagization and heritage-making and its role in local development strategies and heritage tourism;
  • how food traditions and food heritages were used as sources of knowledge for survival during recent and past challenges and emergencies, such as war threats, Covid-19 lockdown, and so on. (For example, mothers in many parts of Europe and the USA renewed home bread-baking habits during Covid-19 times.)
  • how to define food heritage and traditions;
  • how food is used (or neglected) in institutions and organisations working with other forms of cultural heritage (e.g, museums, arts, architecture);
  • gender and food heritage
  • the role of experts, ethnologists and anthropologists in recognizing, protecting and using food heritage
  • what does ethnic (food), local (food) and traditional (food) mean in a comparative perspective?
  • who is the owner of heritage?
  • what are the risks and ethical aspects and implications of marketization?

Guidelines for Paper Proposals

The conference programme consists of plenary keynote lectures, and thematic sessions. If you are interested in presenting a paper at the conference, please submit an abstract before 01/31/2024.

The conference language is English. Presenters of accepted papers are expected to speak for 20 minutes and this will be followed by a discussion.

Application should include:

  • title of paper
  • abstract (max. 500 words)
  • biographical information (short CV max. 5 lines)
  • contact information (email, telephone and postal address)

Applications should be sent by the deadline of 01/31/2024.

Please submit your abstract by e-mail to: bati.aniko(at)

Notifications of acceptance of conference submissions: Authors will be notified regarding the acceptance of their submission by 01/03/2024.

Registration fee and payment: Information on fee and registration procedures and accommodation during the conference will follow.

Conference book: An edited book of conference papers is expected to be published.

Venue: Hungary, Budapest, Museum of Ethnography. (

Papers and presentation deadline: 15/09/2024


SIEF 23nd International Ethnological Food Research Conference:
Food, people and the city. Comparative perspectives
MAS Museum, Antwerp, Belgium
September 21-23, 2022 (postponed because of corona crisis)

Book of Abstracts

SIEF 22nd International Ethnological Food Research Conference
Tradition and nutritional science in the modern food chain
26 - 29 September 2018
Kalamata, Greece
3rd circular update available now:
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22nd food research conference

Coin SIEFAmerica farm school


Prof. Antonia Matalas, School of Health and Education,
Harokopio Univesity, Athens
Prof. Philippos Papadopoulos, American Farm School, Thessaloniki

Conference Theme

People are influenced by a variety of factors when they choose their food: culinary traditions, socialisation, peer influence and quality. Food quality is closely linked to people’s perceptions of what constitutes “good” and “bad” food. In the past, the quality of food was determined by culinary traditions and cultural norms, while in modern times, technological progress has narrowed the way people view food and, at the same time, has posed new complex questions about what is good to eat and what is not. Thus, health and nutritional information constitutes an important element whenever people engage with food. The conference aimed to discuss how health concerns converge with, or, on the contrary, diverge from, the traditional “gastronomic” view, in various facets of the food chain.

Organisers invited papers covering any topic related to the convergence with, or the divergence from, gastronomy and health sciences, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Promotion of local and ethnic cuisines: tradition versus health.
  • Healthy eating and the appropriation of cucina povera by the upper classes. 
  • Process versus form in traditional foods: can an industrially-made traditional item be considered authentic?
  • Social and historical aspects of professionally-endorsed dietary advice.
  • Healthy eating models and the ways in which these are perceived by various actors: e.g. what are the connotations of the Mediterranean diet according to health professionals as opposed to those attributed to it by the professionals in the food service?
  • Shifts in food evaluation across time, cultures, age groups etc.: e.g. discuss changes observed in the status of a particular food item, from being viewed as a good / healthy food to being regarded as a bad / unhealthy one.
  • Does the presence of nutritional information affect food enjoyment?
  • Are the media (e.g. TV cooking shows with an emphasis on nutritional facts and novelty) destroying or facilitating mother's traditional nourishing role?

SIEF 21st International Ethnological Food Research Conference
Places of Food Production. Origin, Identity, Imagination
31 August to 2 September 2016, Heidelberg (Germany) organized by Prof Dr. Silke Bartsch (PH Karlsruhe - University of Education Karlsruhe)

The SIEF 21st International Ethnologicial Food Research Conference in Heidelberg took place from 31 August to 2 September 2016. The aim of the conference was to analyse the interaction between food, self conceptions and region. Therefore, the conference took a close look at places of food production. The Conference theme was divided into three thematic streams: Food and Region, Hidden/Visible Food and Imagination about Food, Alienation and the Handling of Food.

Final Programme PDF