Food for Thought

Bath Spa lecturer features on Dutch TV show focused on food and philosophy

Friday, 26 April, 2019

Sarah Flavel

Dr Sarah Flavel, Senior Lecturer in BA Religions, Philosophies and Ethics at Bath Spa University, is appearing as a featured philosopher on Food for Thought, an upcoming television series in the Netherlands.

The show, which aims to introduce key ideas in non-Western philosophy to a public audience, features seven young adults spending time together in a remote location in France. Together with Dr Flavel and six additional philosophers, they nourish their body and mind with inspiring cuisine from all over the world, and with key “ingredients” from global philosophical traditions. These traditions vary from Chinese Daoism to Islam, and from Indian and Japanese Buddhism to African Ubuntu philosophy.

Dr Flavel's episode, ‘The Art of Not Stiring’, focuses on ideas from the Chinese Daoist philosophical tradition and explores the relevance of Daoism for life in the contemporary world.

Talking about her involvement in the show, Dr Flavel said: “It was an honour to work on this project with Viewpoint Productions and our Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA) partner, University College Utrecht in the Netherlands. The filming location in rural France was truly breathtaking.

“I feel very strongly that Chinese philosophy is interesting. Not only as an area of academic study, but also outside the classroom, as a gateway to thinking more carefully about what we value and how we live our lives, as individuals and members of wider society.

“In Daoist philosophy, the really interesting ideas are those that call into question some of our most closely held beliefs and emotions, for example, the idea that we need to establish control over our own lives. Daoist thought challenges us to rethink whether trying to control our lives, and indeed to control the world around us, is really a practical strategy, if it ever works, or if it does work, whether it is really a method that gets us to where we want to be.

“Reflective thinking is especially valuable to young people, emerging into a fast paced and complex world with no obvious set of instructions for how to navigate that journey, no ready-made list of what they should prioritise in life. The TV series has been designed with this idea in mind. It aims to showcase the value of introducing ideas from culturally diverse philosophical traditions in order to learn how to live in the contemporary world. It was a pleasure to participate and to offer insights from the Daoist tradition.”

As a result of taking part in the TV show, all of the twenty-something young adults have discovered diverse ways of thinking. These fresh insights will be shared with viewers in the Netherlands when the show begins airing on 26 May.

Interested in studying BA Religions, Philosophies and Ethics?

This Religions, Philosophies and Ethics course at Bath Spa University is recognised for drawing together different disciplines and traditions of thought. You will gain insights into fundamentally different ways of seeing and explaining the world, reflecting on your own beliefs, values and assumptions. Visit the course page to find out more.

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