On My Plate

In partnership with the Doing Porridge project at University of Surrey

A Koestler Arts exhibition by women in the criminal justice system

21 January – 5 March 2023
South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell

Koestler Arts partnered with the University of Surrey to showcase an art exhibition all about food in women’s prisons and other settings at South Hill Park in Berkshire. This arts centre is home to two theatres, a cinema, artist studios and gallery spaces, set within sprawling parkland.

Surrey’s Department of Sociology carried out a large research project in 2022/2023 called ‘Doing Porridge: Understanding women’s experiences of food in prison’. Their work explored food practices in prison, as well as the social and cultural meanings of food for individuals, through interviews, observations, focus groups and art workshops in several UK women’s prisons.

This creative, culinary exhibition about food inside and outside the criminal justice system combined art made in the research project’s creative workshops and pieces entered into the 2022 Koestler Awards. Together, the artworks reveal the many memories and meanings that food can hold – joyful, tantalizing, nostalgic, complicated…


Listen to the Doing Porridge Podcast: Project Art Exhibition episode, recorded at the On My Plate private view, and hear reactions from exhibition visitors and supporters to the work on display.

Listen here

Doing Porridge Research Findings

This short 3 minute animation was produced by Nifty Fox Creative for the Doing Porridge project, highlighting the findings of their research. It features vignettes from three women (Billie, Jasminder and Louise), who show how food interlinks with women’s identity, culture and sense of self in secure settings.