By amandacouch, May 1 2019 04:17PM

I have been invited to present at the University of Exeter, Making SPAce: Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology student post-graduate research conference, 16 - 17 May 2019. I will be doing a workshop which will introduce and explore my new project, ‘Becoming with Wheat (and Other More-Than-Human Others)’ 2018-ongoing, where wheat, images, seeds, fields, plants, sheaves, husks, flour, dough, and baked goods, the (potential and hoped for) corn or grain spirits as well as additional more-than-human others, such as weeds, soil and its microorganisms, yeast, powdery mildew, the human gut microbiota, and windmills, for example, are my subjects as well as my co-performers and co-authors.

Drawing on the emerging arena of multispecies ethnography, where notions of our relational and entangled relationships with non-human others is unfolding the grip of anthropocentrism, I refer to Donna Haraway’s notion of ‘companions species’. Wheat has been our companion species since our ancestors in the Near East domesticated grass-derived crops the oldest cereals, about 10-12,000 years ago. Anna Tsing calls it a ‘love affair […] one of the great romances of human history [where] people transferred their affection from multi-species landscapes to shower intimacy upon one or two particular crops’ (Tsing, 2012: 145).

At the intimate romantic dinner or on the kitchen table around the world, wheat is often present. And ‘whether we know how to eat well or not’, Haraway reminds us, ‘human and nonhuman animals are companion species, messmates at table, eating together’ (Haraway, 2008: 301). In ‘Becoming with Wheat…’, I propose that we extend to and embrace the more-than-human vegetal of wheat, especially since companioning is bound up in the root of the word ‘companion’, from the Latin, cum panis, meaning, ‘with bread’ (Haraway, 2016: 11).

Through a variety of activities in the project, some of which I will share during the workshop, I hope to cultivate and model a more connected, sensitive way of being in the world with plants, gardens, food and the gut. With the wheat plant, its histories, biology, materiality and relationships as a catalyst, I hope to collapse the boundaries between us, humans and wheat, to explore the thresholds between land, food, and the body, and particularly the digestive system, and make more visible, permeable and entangled our relationship.

The aims of the conference is to be a platform to ask, what does SPA mean? Can we become a fully interdisciplinary department or an aggregate of disciplines learning to converse? What kinds of critical, dialogic spaces can we create and support within the department? Making SPAce aims to both provoke and inform these practical yet conceptual questions.

By amandacouch, Apr 12 2019 08:51AM

My short journal article, 'Our Palace of Intestines: An Art Project-in-Progress' is now published in the second part of Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures, special issue, 'Food, Feminism and Fermentation' (Volume 9, Number 2, 2018), guest edited by Maya Hey and Alexandra Ketchum.

The piece unpicks the final part of a workshop, 'Extispicy in the Everyday: An Exploration of Human-Environment Binaries through the Gut', delivered at the 9th Society of Artistic Research conference, “Artistic Research Eats Itself” at the University of Plymouth, England, in April, 2018.

My contribution as well as the journal is free to read online, follow the link,

By amandacouch, Dec 21 2018 12:58PM

I will be performing Books as Bodies performance-lecture at the Wellcome Library on Thursday 24 January, part of the Wellcome Library Insights, a series of events which offer the opportunity to explore a theme or topic, whilst showcasing the Wellcome Library’s collection.

Books as Bodies will explore birthing girdles, reading as rumination, livers as tablets, flap anatomy, folds as metaphors of digestion, and palimpsests and skin.

Tickets are free but limited, and will go on release on Friday 4 January at 11am. For more information go to this link.

By amandacouch, Dec 21 2018 12:44PM

A short journal article, 'Extispicy in the Everyday: An Art Project-in-Progress' has been published in Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures' special issue on 'Food, Feminism and Fermentation', guest edited by Maya Hey and Alexandra Ketchum.

My contribution as well as the journal is free to read online, follow the link,

Part Two of the Special Issue will be out sometime in 2019, where I will have a sister article on Our Palace of Intestines.

By amandacouch, Dec 1 2018 05:04PM

I am taking part in the LADA Festive Fair with artist group, on Sunday 9 December 12-6pm at the Live Art Development Agency, The Garrett Centre, 117A Mansford St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6LX.

Our artist group includes work by Sheila Ghelani, Karen Christopher, Ania Bas, Clare Qualmann, Maddy Hodge, Amy Sharrocks, Cathy Naden, Rachel Gomme and Rebecca French.

Other stalls are run by artists, activists and social action groups from across East London hosted by Live Art Development Agency. Free entry.

Fir further information:

By amandacouch, Oct 26 2018 10:26AM

The proceedings for the 9th Society for Artistic Research SAR International Conference on Artistic Research, at the University of Plymouth, April 11-13, 2018 is out now, containing my paper, 'Extispicy in the Everyday: An Exploration of Human-Environment Binaries Through the Gut'.

The essay is a document of the workshop delivered at the in Plymouth which explored the conference theme, 'Regeneration: Artistic Research as a Process of Becoming' and particularly, as Donna Haraway (2016) would say, ‘a becoming with’. Drawing on the ancient practice of extispicy, divination using the entrails workshop participants enacted, experienced, and materially investigated theories of interconnectedness, which problematize thresholds between bodies, environment, and food to re-conceptualise these seemingly boundaried entities.

The proceedings can be downloaded from the Research Catalogue,

The editors are Geoff Cox, Hannah Drayson, Azadeh Fatehrad, Allister Gall, Laura Hopes, Anya Lewin, Andrew Prior.

More information about the workshop and images can be found at this link:

By amandacouch, Oct 26 2018 09:15AM

I have a contribution in TASTE (Law and the Senses), 2018, edited by Andrea Pavoni, Danilo Mandic, and Caterina Nirta, published by the University of Westminster Press, London, which is out now. My piece is called, 'The Taste of Tongues', pp. 245-56.

You can buy a paperback copy from all good booksellers, and also download free under the Creative Commons license, at

Taste usually occupies the bottom of the sensorial hierarchy, as the quintessentially hedonistic sense, too close to the animal, the elemental and the corporeal, and for this reason disciplined and moralised. At the same time, taste is indissolubly tied to knowledge. To taste is to discriminate, emit judgement, enter an unstable domain of synaesthetic normativity where the certainty of metaphysical categories begins to crumble. This second title in the ‘Law and the Senses’ series explores law using taste as a conceptual and ontological category able to unsettle legal certainties, and a promising tool whereby to investigate the materiality of law’s relation to the world. For what else is law’s reduction of the world into legal categories, if not law’s ingesting the world by tasting it, and emitting moral and legal judgements accordingly? Through various topics including coffee, wine, craft cider and Japanese knotweed, this volume explores the normativities that shape the way taste is felt and categorised, within and beyond subjective, phenomenological and human dimensions. The result is an original interdisciplinary volume – complete with seven speculative ‘recipes’ – dedicated to a rarely explored intersection, with contributions from artists, legal academics, philosophers, anthropologists and sociologists.

By amandacouch, Sep 3 2018 01:53PM

In this seminar at the Museum of English Rural Life, Reading, on Tuesday 16 October, 12 - 1 pm, two artists discuss and enact their practice in relation to materiality, seasonality, craft and performance.

Catherine Morland will talk about the journey her practice has taken since visiting the prehistoric landscapes and badlands of Turkana, Northern Kenya, and the pastoralist nomads who currently live there. Amanda Couch will explore and enact rituals which mark the autumn season, engaging vegetation deities, harvest amulets, and the history of the harvest festival, drawing on the MERL collection of straw work and corn dollies.

Catherine Morland is an artist and children’s workshop leader. Drawn to prehistory, her practice explores reconnecting with materiality in ways common to the ancient and the contemporary.

Amanda Couch is an artist and senior lecturer in Fine Art at UCA Farnham. She is interested in theories of interconnectedness and feminism.

Together they are working on a project with three other artists which explores themes relevant to the MERL collection.

The talk is free, but booking is recommended. to book and for more information go to,

Part of the MERL Seminars: Land and Folk. Land and folk have often been portrayed romantically. They routinely play a part in stories of nationhood and identity.

Our understandings of them are deeply rooted in the past yet still brought regularly to the fore in contemporary explorations of the countryside. This series of talks and discussions offers different perspectives on our complex relationships with people and place.

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