Creative, Culture, Manchester

Call For Submissions: the FOOD issue

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aAh! – your arts and culture magazine

Hello world, listen up again: our lovely, liberal generation is also unfocused and vague. We think we know everything – which we kind of do – but mostly we don’t. This magazine hopes to present the opportunity for readers and writers to interrogate their own ideas about the world we’ve fallen into. Each issue will interrogate one important contemporary notion through our regular features, opinion pieces, spotlights, interviews, previews, art, poetry, flash fiction, photography and music.

This issue: FOOD.

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” – Guy Fieri

“The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: even the simplest food is a gift.” – Laurie Colwin

Here’s some food for thought. In our technological age, food continues to keep us human. We can contact anyone around the globe within seconds, but can’t last three weeks without it. Our minds set us apart, but can’t function unless they’re fed. Food infects everything. We can’t seem to express ourselves without it. Our work is our bread and butter; payday equates to bringing home the bacon. We keep our fingers in a lot of pies, cry over spilt milk, bite off more than we can chew, put all of our eggs in one basket, take things with a pinch of salt.

The word ‘food’ derives from the Old English ‘fōda’, which developed into ‘fodder’ – for all our advancements, we remain integrally animal. Food is our history. It was Shakespeare who first said ‘he hath eaten me out of house and home.’ Foods define cultures – as English as fish and chips, as American as apple pie, as Canadian as maple syrup. Multiculturalism is measured in food – in restaurants, supermarkets, takeaway preferences. Food defines who we are.

Food brings us together – in our increasingly busy lives, sometimes the only time we sit down with those we love is to eat. Cooking together and eating together have fostered closeness since the dawn in humanity. Yet food is changing. We have become more conscious of the costs of our diets to animals, workers and the environment, but foodbanks are on the rise. We are now more culturally diverse than ever before, yet Brexit has seen a resurgence in preferences for “authentic” British produce. If we are what we eat, then who are we now?

We are looking for features, previews, interviews, creative prose, poetry, artwork and photography that offers a critical, insightful and creative slant on the word FOOD. We are looking for inventive and thought-provoking perspectives in the hope to create a magazine that opens conversations and breaks convention.

We are open to all submissions related to the theme, but here are a few ideas to think about:

  • Art – from still life paintings to Michelin star presentation, how do food and art overlap? What role has food played in literature, theatre, cinema, television? In our consumption culture, has eating itself become an art?
  • Affordability – we are more aware than ever of how our food choices affect animals, workers, the environment and our own health, but is eating ethically and healthily affordable for all? Do you have any tips for eating well on limited time and money?
  • Community – in our age of austerity and inequality, how can we show care through food? Do foodbanks, food-sharing apps and community kitchens make us more human, or is our humanity fading in our complaisance towards their necessity?
  • Culture – what do our eating habits tell us about our culture? Are our diets progressive or exploitative? Can they ever be appropriative? Which cultures have most impacted our diets, and why? And what will change with Brexit?
  • History – how have our diets changed over time? What have been the most influential factors in those changes? Can you think of any meals or foods that have defined moments in history? Could or would you live on a diet from the past?
  • Entertainment – with the diversification of TV channels and invention of streaming sites, our entertainment options have expanded, and many of them involve food, often in combination with challenges or dating. What does this say about us?
  • Ethics – with growing concerns of the costs of food production to animals, workers and the environment, the rise of veganism and packaging free food is on the rise, and in our information culture, how long can ignorance remain an excuse?
  • Language – how do companies sell us food? Do terms like “organic” and “free range” really mean what they think we mean? When is the language used to describe food gendered, racialised, sexualised, elitist?

Have an idea? Email us at to discuss.

Deadline: Please submit a draft headline, estimated word count and two sentences describing your proposed piece by Friday 12 August, 2019.

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