The activities of the FairSpeak Group to this day can be roughly divided into two main phases.
It all started with a major research and development project under the Danish Council for Strategic Research (DSF) entitled Spin or Fair Speak: When Food Products Start Talking. It was followed up in three sister projects focusing on the incorporation of fairness checkpoints in the collaboration between design agencies and manufacturers/retailers, the use of eye-tracking technology to record consumer responses to packaging designs and the dissemination of the resultant insights among the immediate actors on the food market. Read more about these projects here.
The period 2007-2016 was mainly spent on taking these projects to a fruitful conclusion and impact.
In parallel with and, in particular, in the time after the intense project-driven phase, the group members have been engaged in a number of other cross-cutting initiatives, testing, and dissemination activities with fellow researchers and, inter alia, with the Danish Consumer Council TÆNK, Coop Denmark, Danish Ports, Danish Technological Institute and an alliance of organic food producers.
The focus areas include new ways of communicating taste and eating experiences through packaging and in-store communication design and optimizing the visual and communicative potential of signpost-labelling labelling schemes.
Currently, the group is conducting a series of surveys and pilot tests in collaboration with Varefakta. It is furthermore engaged in preparatory work for the SayFish initiative which aims at inspiring the Danes to eat more of the quality fish landed in Danish ports, not least by putting their delicious taste into more nuanced words.
In October 2022, the book Misleading Marketing Communication: Assessing the Impact of Potentially Deceptive Food Labelling on Consumer Behaviour was published with Palgravet. The book presents four experimental studies aimed at assessing whether and to what degree the formal conception of potential misleadingness according to EU law can be translated into measurable terms. It also elaborates on the overarching rationale behind the studies and contextualizes the results from a broader theoretical and societal perspective.
FairSpeak has furthermore provided the thematic and empirical context and offered supervision for substantial number of student-driven projects: (Master theses, Bachelor theses, others). This includes three ongoing Master thesis projects in 2023.
Although the group’s efforts have so far focused mainly on communication about (and on) consumer products, in particular food, the area of interest also covers goal-driven multimodal communication in other contexts.
For example, two group members presently participate in the EU-funded innovation project INCULTUM, which supports the development of sustainable cultural tourism in 10 peripheral areas in Europe. Here, fair communication is one of the key factors, both when it comes to the areas' own identity formation and the presentation to potential tourists.
Another current focus area is fair visualization of complex data and knowledge in light of the growing arsenal of digital and other tools developed for the purpose – be it term in research, marketing, or the promotion of political agendas. A couple of group members stand behind the development and running of a course on the subject under the HA-MAK programme at CBS; Read more here.