Opinion Papers

Material objects, performance art or events often inspire animated thought and discussion about a wide range of topics. In this series, various UBVO Fellows, Associates and students are presented with a ‘tool to think’ and an obesity-related topic, and are invited to contribute a short opinion paper linking the two. These papers are indended for a general readership.

Comments based on any of the papers, or suggestions for future object / topic pairings, are warmly welcomed, and can be emailed to oxfordobesity[at]gmail.com.

'The Woman from Dambaza.' Artist unknown.

‘The Woman from Dambaza.’ Artist unknown.

The First Thousand Days of LifeObesity and Global Health Policy in South Africa

Michelle Pentecost (ISCA,  University of Oxford, and  First Thousand Days Research Group, University of Cape Town) reflects on travelling images and travelling technologies in the context of contemporary nutrition policy in South Africa.  Download paper

Photo Credit: Artist Mark Menjivar (reprinted with permission)

Mark Menjivar, Refrigerators “Bar Tender” | San Antonio, TX | 1-person Household | Goes to sleep at 8 AM and wakes up at 4 pm daily 2007; Credits: Camera and Editing: Mark Menjivar



The Fridge: A Window into the Soul


Isabel Beshar reflects on what the insides of fridges might say about us. She explores the work of artist Mark Menjivar, who photographed the insides of fridges all over the United States. Download paper.

Untitled (The Party)

Sarah Coggrave and Bronwyn Platten, Untitled (The Party) 2011 image from filmed performance. Camera and Editing: Insa Langhorst. Stills: Huw Wahl © The Artists

Cream Meetings


Curious about the multisensorial encounters of those affected by eating disorders, Bronwyn Platten and Megan Warin discuss the film, Untitled (The Party) (2011) by artists Sarah Coggrave and Bronwyn Platten. Download paper.


museum of water 1

Artist Amy Sharrocks’ Museum of Water contains a collection of over 200 publicly donated samples of water in individually-chosen bottles, and the stories and poems that accompany them.


“Breath.” The collection also includes saliva and urine – a reminder that water is a main constituent of the human. Images courtesy of the artist.

Ecologies of water, fluid boundaries and obesity studies


Professor Stanley Ulijaszek engages with artist Amy Sharrocks’ Museum of Water to think about leaks and boundaries in fluids and fields of knowledge.  Download paper



David Hockney x Yves Saint-Laurent
iPad/iPhone art exhibition
Image source: Firestein 2010.

There’s an (branded) app for that!
Branded mobile apps and food marketing


Associate Professor Teresa Davis describes an encounter she has on a train   with a parent who placates her small child with an iPhone game. It draws her   into thinking about mobile apps and games, which are today almost unregulated   forms of social marketing.Download paper


The album cover features art by Oxford-based artist Jenny Saville, whose daring paintings are known for the mountains of flesh they reveal and for their strong feminist undertones. Her view of the female body is in stark contrast to images of thin women in the mass media to which Eli refers in her paper.

‘4st 7lbs’: Eating disorders, between horror and survival


Dr Karin Eli draws inspiration from the Manic Street Preachers’ song ’4st   7lbs’, from the album ‘The Holy Bible’, to talk about eating disorders, and   the experience of anorexia.Download paper


“The Perfect Storm” for Fatty Liver Disease in Hispanics: The Role of Diet, Genes, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Global Trade Policies

Professor Michael Goran’s paper is inspired by the tongue-in-cheek   documentary “KING CORN: You are What You Eat”, a commentary on today’s fast   food nation and the ubiquity of corn in today’s diet in the United States.Download paper

More information about King Corn,   as well as a short trailer, can be found on the film’s official website.


Image © the artists
Photo: Stephen White
Courtesy White Cube

Obesity in the Pacific Islands


Inspired by Jake and Dinos Chapmans’ sculpture, DPhil student Amy McLennan   writes about obesity in the Pacific Islands. Download paper


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