With almost a third of the British population reducing the amount of meat they eat, Study London caught up with Hanan Alkouh to talk about meat substitutes. Shortlisted for the Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Award, Hanan’s Sea-meat Seaweed project explores the possibility of a world without meat.
Originally from Kuwait, Hanan studied for an undergraduate degree in the US before coming to London to experience a new approach to her education. Hanan said: “I chose to study in London because of the type of programmes that are offered. There are a lot more innovative, progressive and non-conventional courses in London that are not found elsewhere. I had the opportunity to do my undergraduate degree in the US and I wanted to experience a different approach to education, one that is more flexible and self-driven.”
Commenting on the appeal of her course, Hanan said: “With my background in architecture, where I studied for five years and worked in the industry for six years, the Material Futures course at UAL’s Central Saint Martins offered the type of flexibility I wanted to make a fluid career shift. London is a great city that is completely immersed in design innovation, where inspiration, manufacture and networking are unavoidable.”
Hanan’s project considers the potential of Dulse – a seaweed that tastes of pork – and how this could replace meat. Hanan explains: “I read an article about Dulse seaweed that tasted like bacon and I was curious to see how the general public would react to it being a substitute for meat. Meat substitution isn’t a new concept; there are alternatives that are being developed, such as vegan or vegetarian substitutes or lab grown meat. However what these alternatives fail to confront is that there are certain religious, cultural and social conventions that are deeply embedded in our interaction with meat, which would be lost if animals were no longer a source of protein in the future.”
Commenting on the advantage of studying in London, Hanan said: “London is so diverse that it caters for everyone. You will always find someone who is interested in your work and believes in your vision. That alone is inspiring and encouraging for you to continue creating. In three words, I would describe London as: innovative, multi-faceted and avant-garde.”
“London education has taught me how to identify new trends and be ahead of them. It has also taught me to be more confident and comfortable with my work and vision. I have learnt to constantly re-invent and create challenges for myself by studying and analysing current problems in order to identify design opportunities,” she added. Hanan studied MA Material Futures at University of the Arts (UAL’s) Central Saint Martins.