At Cordwainers Grow
we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to engage creatively in the natural world that surrounds them. Our projects are focused on connecting communities with nature and the environment to develop values that promote respect for both people and planet.
Nearly half of 11 year-olds in Hackney are obese or overweight and junk food is, of course, part of the problem. We all know that we shouldn’t eat junk but we still eat junk so how do we resist? Our scheme, Not What You Get, doesn’t tell children how to eat healthily. Instead we look at how powerful advertising is in persuading children to make unhealthy choices – through branding, packaging, product placement, games, cartoon characters and so on. Our idea is that if children could recognise and question how they are targeted, the strategies food companies use to get them to buy and eat their food and how they don’t tell them the whole truth, they might just make different decisions. To be honest, we wanted them to be a bit indignant about how they are used by the food industry and once we showed them how advertising can be misleading they said they felt ‘betrayed’ by ‘false’ advertising and want to make changes – for advertising to be more honest. We’re not saying everyone is going to stop eating crisps or chocolate, but that if they can recognise the subtleties and subterfuge of advertising strategies they will be better equipped to decide what to eat.
What You See is NOT What You Get is an exhibition that came from work made by children in Hackney responding to the ways the advertising industry targets them and persuades them to eat food that is bad for them. It is on at A-Side/B-Side Gallery in Mare St 22-28/3/18. We’ll be running a poster campaign in the borough in May.
We have developed lesson plans and teaching materials if you would like us to run a class or classes in your school or youth club. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
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