UWTSD anthropologists have teamed up with People’s Collection Wales and researchers in the Universities of Leicester, Exeter and Surrey on a new AHRC-funded research project: Consuming Authenticities: Time, Place and the Past in the Construction of “Authentic” Foods and Drinks.

AHRC logo

Project Leader (Welsh Cider):  Dr Emma-Jayne Abbots,

Research Assistant:  Elaine Forde emf@llgc.org.uk

‌The project is funded under the AHRC theme Care for the Future and, as such, will critically examine the concepts that connect pasts, presents and futures, such as heritage, tradition and culture. UWTSD’s role in the project is to lead on one research strand, entitled Assembling Welsh Cider, and work with the People’s Collection to deliver a series of roadshows, a collaborators’ workshop and a recipe book, which will showcase the research project and bringing the multiple case studies together.

Consuming Authenticities employs a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and cross-period approach to investigate how food and drinks come to be represented as authentic cultural products. The study concentrates on foods and drinks, everyday things that can take on special significance due to their connection to certain traditions, origins, places, or histories. The project focuses on pulque (an alcoholic drink from Central Mexico), acarajé (a street snack from Brazil), flaounes (celebration Easter pies from Cyprus) and Welsh craft cider. The project aims to gather the perspectives and experiences of those with a personal connection to, or general interest in, these products, such as food writers, cooks, producers, retailers, and consumers. The researchers are inviting these groups and individuals to contribute impressions about the authenticities of each food/drink. These will inform the project’s outputs, one of which is a popular recipe-style book that discusses the making of ideas about the authenticity of pulque, acarajé, flaounes and Welsh craft cider.

The Assembling Welsh Cider case study explores how Welsh craft cider is constructed as cultural heritage and rooted in the past and place, while concomitantly adapting to and adopting new technologies, production practices and external influences. In particular, researchers seek to understand how Welsh cider producers negotiate such potential tensions as they work to produce and represent their ciders as ‘authentic’ and Welsh. One of the aims of Assembling Welsh Cider is therefore to encourage reflection on the flow of goods and knowledge throughout Wales, and how these flows link Wales to other places.

Consuming Authenticities is supported by the People’s Collection Wales, a digital archive and repository for Welsh cultural life. This dynamic bilingual website is full of fascinating photographs, sound and video recordings, documents and stories about the history and heritage of Wales and its people.

The People's Collection Wales program is a Government funded initiative managed by CyMAL and led by a federated delivery partnership consisting of the three National heritage bodies:-

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

The National Library of Wales

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

A series of Community Heritage Roadshows in conjunction with People’s Collection Wales will support the Assembling Welsh Cider strand.People's Collection Wales Community Engagement staff will attend the events to facilitate the digitising of important material gathered as part of the project; individuals or groups with any interest in the project are encouraged to bring along photographs, documents, stories and other sources about cider in Wales, to have these digitised and uploaded to People’s Collection Wales . All are welcome to attend and share their memories, recollections and memorabilia of cider making (and drinking!) in Wales.

The next roadshow will be held at the Clytha Arms, Abergavenny on 28 April, 2015 from 10 a.m.

Are you interested in Welsh cider? Perhaps you, or someone you know, is involved in cider-making? If you want to learn more, get involved, or are interested in coming to a roadshow near you please contact Elaine Forde emf@llgc.org.uk 01570 424924.