Recent CfHAS Post-doc Dr. Naomi Griffin reflects upon her involvement in the Pathways to Veganism Project

I recently completed a 4 month contract as a Post-Doctoral Researcher supporting the ‘Pathways to Veganism’ project with Professor Claire Parkinson and Dr Richard Twine. I joined the project at a particularly interesting time as the ethics had just been approved for the fieldwork so we could get started immediately. I started by disseminating a survey (the 1st phase of fieldwork) which aimed to gather attitudes and perceptions of non-vegans towards vegans and veganism. This was followed by the team putting together an interim report for the Vegan Society, as external funders for the project. This report gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in recent literature on veganism, attitudes towards veg*nism, theories and concepts around animal consumption, and human/animal relations more generally, an opportunity that I am very grateful for. Once the report was submitted we could focus on the 2nd phase of data collection (interviews).

For the interviews I went to people’s homes and spoke to them about their food purchasing habits, attitudes, opinions, preferences, and how they understand and perceive vegans and veganism. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about starting this phase as I’ve had many difficult conversations about my own veganism with non-vegans in the past, so the thought of approaching such discussions in a professional context was a little daunting. However, I loved it. I found people were very talkative and the interviews generated really interesting data. Participants knew they would be committing around an hour of their time to a discussion about veganism, and this meant there was a willingness to engage in in-depth discussions about veganism. I am curious as to the extent to which the research setting and topic impacted on what individuals said/wished to say, (a bit early to say at the moment). Overall, I had some fascinating conversations and many of the participants thanked me for my time and for how interesting the conversations were. Some engaging conversations around methodology will come out of this project I’m sure, as the first project of this focus, as well as the data itself, and I very much look forward to being part of the project, albeit from a distance, as it progresses.

Working at Edge Hill University was an absolute pleasure, my team and others I worked with, briefly or with more regular contact, were so welcoming, helpful and supportive. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work for such an incredible centre which aligns with my personal ethics and experience so well.’

Dr. Naomi Griffin, November 2018.