About Us

What is a madeleine short?

A “madeleine short” is a 2 to 5 minute film that explores an individual’s “Proustian madeleine”, or memory food, and thus opens a window into the time and place linked to that food, as well as the people, practices, objects, ingredients, emotions, sensory experiences and so forth associated with it.  As such these stories reveal our unique individual histories, celebrate our cultural differences and also explore our shared human experience of what it is to love, to struggle, to heal, to belong, to be excluded…. 

How this project came to be

…. (or The History of our Collaboration or The Story of this Project) 

In the spring of 2017, Beth Grannis made the first “madeleine short” film, entitled XXX (+ link to film) as her final project for Christy Shields’ AUP graduate course entitled Food, Culture and Communication. The following summer, Christy invited Beth, along with classmate Sam McKeown and French taste educator Claire Perrot (who worked with her on the course’s Comté cheese study trip), to accompany her to the first Creative Tastebuds Conference in Aarhus, Denmark (insert link).  Beth presented her film, Sam presented his class project, Placebuds (link), while Christy and Claire presented their sensory analysis and ethnography collaboration with Comté cheese. The response to their work and the vibe of the conference was so upbeat and supportive that everyone returned home looking for new ways to create and work together.


From left to right: Sam McKeown (AUP MAGC student), Christy Shields, Claire Perrot (Comté cheese, taste educator) and Beth Grannis, traveled together to the first Creative Tastebuds Conference held at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.  Through a series of tastings, Christy and Claire presented their Comté cheese practicum collaboration, which they organised together for a decade within the frame of Christy’s graduate course Food Culture and Communication.  Beth and Sam presented their final projects for the Food, Culture and Communication course:  Sam presented his blog site entitled Placebuds, and Beth presented her film, now featured on this site:“This Place Doesn’t Exist Anymore”: Food and Memory Among Syrian Refugees.

Just a few short months later in September 2017, Beth and Christy found just such an opportunity.  Thanks to three energetic language teachers, they began working with a multilingual sixth grade class at Maurice Ravel junior high in Paris’ twentieth arrondissement.  Over the course of the next several months, Christy and Beth brought film and anthropology together in a series of collaborative workshops aimed at producing a class film and helping the students work together to reflect upon the linguistic and cultural barriers challenging the group. Christy and Beth also integrated a team of AUP undergraduate and graduate students who taught alongside them in the classroom.  The class’s final film, Food without Borders, along with a brief “Making Of” film were presented to the Maurice Ravel community, followed by a celebratory potluck dinner, in February 2018.  Some of the individual films from that site can be found on this website, and the entire Food without Borders project can be consulted here.


Picture of cake? Of teachers – don’t we have one of teachers and us at the Scene Theleme restaurant?


In the spring of 2018, Christy and Beth adapted the project to one of Christy’s undergraduate classes entitled The Anthropology of Food.  Approximately ten hours of class time were spent on anthropology and filmmaking and then students were asked to find an interviewee and produce a Madeleine Short of their own.  We feature one of the student films from this project on this site:  Food is Love, produced(?) by Elizabeth McGeehee (spelling?) in cooperation with her classmate Jonté Bonchard.


Do we have a picture of Jonté and Elisabeth?  Could we get one?


Christy and Beth have presented these projects and/or screened madeleine shorts at academic conferences and in a variety of secondary school, university and civic settings. (see list below). In addition, Beth’ s MA capstone thesis (link) and Christy’s SAFN blog article (link) are both dedicated to Food without Borders project with Ravel school.


Why a “Madeleine Shorts” website?


Christy and Beth began work on this website during the covid-19 pandemic of 2020. First quarantined and now retained in different parts of the world, Beth and Christy seek to continue their work through this on-line platform (website?), by extending an invitation to others to make a madeleine short of their own or develop madeleine short projects for their students.  They have created a resource page to help in such endeavors and are happy to intervene in your classrooms (digitally these days of course).  They hope to make this growing collection of madeleine shorts from around the world available to a wider audience.


If Beth and Christy feel compelled to continue their collaboration during the pandemic it is because they have witnessed time and again how the collaborative process of making such films, as well as the food films themselves, can help to bring people together and encourage exchange, empathy and understanding ; Through madeleine food stories, we are also share and build our identities, share what it is to be a global actors.  They are a way of anchoring ourselves in the past, but also building upon to look towards the future.  They help us transition, they bring us closer to others In other words, amking and sharing madeleine stories is way to be an active, creative, reflective agent, of change, of connection 



Presentations : (should we a separate tab for presentations and publications ?)

Christy Shields, Anne Luneau (English teacher at Ravel school) and Caroline Schneider (English teacher at Ravel school).  “Food without Borders/Nourriture sans Frontières”, Key note address for orientation week (for English and Food Studies students) at the University of Bordeaux-Agen, September 30, 2019.

Christy Shields and Beth Grannis.  “Food without Borders : A Civic Media and Participatory Ethnographic Film Project” at the First Annual Food and Communications Conference, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, September 6-7, 2018.

Chisty Shields, Beth Grannis, Mateo Gallindo (AUP undergraduate) and Maria Sarimentio (AUP undergraduate).  Presentation and screening of the « Food without Borders » project, AUP-Teaching and Learning Center, Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

Christy Shields Beth Grannis, and AUP student-mentors Lauren Green, Mateo Galindo, Max Johnson and Thomas Lopez, AUP screening of the film« Food without Borders », Thursday March 29, 2018.

Christy Shields, Beth Grannis, Anne Luneau (English teacher) and the 6th grade class from Ravel school.  Presentation of the film “Food without Borders” at the “Premier Festival des Arts de la Scène et du Goût » at the Scène et Table de Theleme, organized in partnership with the French Ministry of Education, March 20th, 2018.

Christy Shields, Beth Grannis, AUP student mentor team, Ravel teachers and 6th grade students.  Presentation and celebration of the films “The Making of” and “Food without Borders” to the Ravel junior high community (administrators, teachers and families). February 9, 2018

Christy Shields,  Claire Perrot (taste educator, Comté cheese), Beth Grannis  and Sam McKeown (MAGC student). “Ethnography and Taste Education in Cooperation with Comté Cheese:  A Cross-Cultural and Collaborative Approach to Food Pedagogy and Taste Learning.”  Creative Tastebuds (A “Taste for Life” Collaboration), Aarhus, Denmark, 4-5, 2017.