Cultural Engagements in Nutrition, Arts and Sciences (CENAS)
Tamara Underiner, Stephani Etheridge Woodson, Robert Karimi, and Seline Szkupinski Quiroga
Borrowing the Spanish word for “dinner,” CENAS is a transdisciplinary working group of scholars and artists developing, implementing and evaluating innovative approaches to healthy eating at the individual and community level, with arts practices at its center. Since 2012, CENAS has been involved with training, workshops, curriculum development, and research into the following questions: (1) Can the arts in general, and theatre-making in particular, empower individuals and communities to take charge of their health? (2) How does theatre-making relate to individual attitudinal and behavioral change? (3) What role does culture play in health? (4) Are the arts more effective in the long term than more traditional educational practices? Our research with young people and community health workers suggests that cooking together, combined with theatre-making activities, is linked positively to “I can do this” attitudes. We believe making theatre, more than merely watching it, is the key. We link the various components involved in making theatre together to factors identified by health scientists as necessary for attitudinal and behavioral change to occur. A growing body of research suggests the importance of culturally informed interventions in health promotion, yet most definitions of “culture” are pretty narrow. We are working to develop a more robust and nuanced accounting for cultural background as health asset, initially through embodied storytelling practices and theatre-making drawn from participants’ experiences of home cooking.
Sites and Institutions
|Performance in the Borderlands Project, Arizona State University|
|Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University|
|Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University|
Performance, Education, Nutrition, Latinx, Publicart
Performance Art, Nutrition, Health, Border Studies, Theater And Performance Studies, Cultural Studies
This project is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts ART WORKS grant (#15-3800-7016), as well as support from the Performance in the Borderlands project and the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University.