Public Plate

Public Plate was a process and performance based piece exploring strategies for public engagement with sustainability. It was presented to scientists and artists at a residential in April 2014 as part of Nil by Mouth; an art/science research based residency.

Participants were seated at a table laid out as a restaurant and orders were taken from the menu. The artists (Coleman and Hodges) served each ‘artwork dish’ as an interactive presentation and participants were asked to ‘review’ the dishes in terms of their potential for public engagement and collaboration.

Nil By Mouth consisted of 4 artists working with 4 different food producing communities and with scientists from the Hutton and Rowett Institutes, Aberdeen, to develop artworks that explore new ways of engaging audiences with issues of food, farming and sustainability. Nil by Mouth concluded with a presentation at the Scottish Parliament in November 2014.
A Creative Scotland / Creative Futures project.


An experiment testing the idea of Fire Cakes – one of the items on the menu.

Weight for weight, jam doughnuts have the same calorific (energy) value as seasoned firewood. We used this fact to test if we could use them as fuel to cook a healthy meal. The ingredients for the meal were locally sourced as possible.  We wished to show the distance between the two ends of the food spectrum, from the processing, energy use and food miles embedded in the doughnuts to the absence of these components in a locally sourced meal.

Photo essay:

Categories: 2014, Art/Science, Food, Interactive, Participatory, Performance, Process, Research, Strategy

Jo Hodges

Jo Hodges is a multidisciplinary public artist based in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
Jo has a background in Human Ecology, community development and social justice.

Her work investigates ecological and socio-cultural systems, processes and relationships, and explores new strategies for working in public. Her practice takes many forms; temporary and permanent works, site specific installations and socially engaged projects and processes. She is often led by context, where the outcome is determined as a result of process.

She is interested in research, experimentation and collaboration at the intersection of environment, culture and technology and exploring the role of art in social change. She is joint Director-Curator of Sanctuary Lab, a public art laboratory in the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park.