Staff Web page: Dave Beck
Research Supervisor: Dr Hefin Gwilym and Dr Eifiona T. Lane
Beck, D. (2016). ‘Why does the Growth of food banks matter’? The Conversation. 2016, [Online}. Available: https://theconversation.com/why-does-the-growth-of-food-banks-matter-58000
Beck, D.; Lane, E.T.; Harris, I; Gwilym, H., (2016). Mapping the growth of the Welsh Food Bank Landscape 1998-2015 https://apps.bangor.ac.uk/research/outputs/manager/view/36047
Conferences attended/presented at:
2013 - ‘Food Justice’. International food poverty conference Reading University
2013 - Ph.D. Research conference Cardiff University
2014 - Research conference Bangor University School of Social Sciences
2015 - Ph.D. Research conference Bangor University School of Geography
2015 - Gredyd Cynhwysol (Universal Credit) conference Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Bangor University
2015 - Welsh Government Tackling Poverty/Tackling Food Poverty Strategy
2014/2015 – All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom
2016 - Local Stakeholders’ Conference: Mapping Food Poverty. Bangor University
BA (Hons) Environmental Planning and Management (Bangor University)
MA Social Research and Social Policy (Bangor University)
Details of any teaching at Bangor University:
I currently teach on Understanding Society (SXU 1003) for the School of Social Sciences at Bangor University, and provide updates on my research with various other classes in and across departments (Poverty and Social Exclusion SXP 1020, MA Social Work).
I am also a lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at Trinity Foundation College (Bangor).
In addition to teaching I am also the coordinator for the Love Bangor Community Partnership for the Students’ Union.
Information about your academic department:
The School of Social Sciences at Bangor has just celebrated its 50th anniversary and was initially associated with understanding the rapid and far-reaching changes to social institutions of the 1960s, and to address the need for qualified practitioners in the expanding social services. Today, the school has over 40 teaching, research and administrative staff and is home to over 400 undergraduate, 50 taught postgraduate and 20 research students.
More importantly, the School remains involved with the local community and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees through the medium of Welsh and is actively engaged with working in partnership with local authorities in North Wales.
Title of your research and a short abstract:
‘The Changing Face of Food Poverty’
My research is mapping the growth of the emergency food assistance sector throughout Wales whereby I am exploring the experience and understanding of food poverty through food bank use. The research has focussed on three different case study areas of Wales explaining the experience of food poverty in both rural and urban settings.
Qualitative data analysis has involved the use of a multi-method approach with the various groups involved in food banks (service users, coordinators, volunteers and local referral organisations) through semi structured interviews, biographical narrative interviews and focus groups. This has been combined with a quantitative analysis of growing numbers of referrals to food banks in Wales and used to explain the growth of the sector and how this can be mapped using Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
What skills have you gained from doing a PhD?
The in-depth knowledge that the PhD offers is driven through the attention to detail that you become involved in. The ability to develop an analytical approach to understanding of either current trends or the rising of new phenomenon I have found has been pertinent to my research, especially as I’m working with qualitative data. It is important to understand however that this qualitative data has come from the real experiences of vulnerable people, and therefore the ability to work with various different groups of people across all sectors of society has been one of the key skills that I have developed.
How do you think your research could contribute to the community/external partners?
My research is focussed on the growth of food banks across Wales. Food banks are run by community groups that have recognised that there has become a growing demand for food in response to a crisis. Therefore, the impact of this research aims to provide a clarity and a true picture of the food bank landscape of Wales. I have been involved in providing expert evidence to both the Welsh Government and the National Government, plus other stakeholders on the food bank sector in Wales. This has been evidenced, as my research demonstrates, how food banks have grown under successive governments. The first food bank in Wales established in 1998, the growth of food banks has seen an increase from a total of 16 food banks under the Labour Governments, expanding to 157 under the Conservative Government.
Why did you chose to study at Bangor University?
Studying at Bangor University was my first choice as an Undergraduate in an environmental focussed degree as it offers such an amazing diversity right on the doorstep. Bangor is surrounded by the vast expanse of the Snowdonia National Park and the open rural landscape and mixed economy which this offers. It is then adjoined to the Island of Ynys Môn (Anglesey) allowing you to explore its intricate heritage within the Welsh language landscape. For both my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, this heritage and landscape of food became the driving force behind my research, and I have been involved in looking at the food systems of Wales for almost 10 years.
Do you have any advice for students considering a PhD at Bangor University?
There are many research avenues associated with the School of Social Sciences, either looking at the complexities linked with social life, how we can conceptualise and further our understandings of ‘our lives’. In my case, I was interested to look at the links which exist between geography and the social determinants of everyday life, and the influence/outcomes of food and poverty. But other research paths exist, such as through Crime and Criminal Justice, health and social care, Communities and cultures, and Welfare and Wellbeing. Getting to know and interact with both the students and the staff is great, and the school is very good with engaging students into and within the academic and social processes of university – no matter what level of study.