Intersecting Energy Cultures Working Group

17-18th November 2022:

Join Intersecting Energy Cultures working group members and selected members of our International Advisory Board for the opening roundtable on Intersecting Energy Cultures, Participatory Research, and Just Transitions. Register here!


Working Group Members and Projects

An Alternative Greenhouse Farming Energy Culture

For this workshop-based project, I will work with farmers from Leibei, a village in Northwest China, to present a design and history workshop plan. Participants of all ages and professions will be welcomed, but we target the main participants as the farmers and policymakers in the village. The workshop will be organized by co-designing a smaller-scale greenhouse. Borrowing Bruno Latour’s sociological thought experiment, we treat the greenhouse as a laboratory to seek alternative energy production and consumption in rural China.

Yandong Li is a PhD student at the University of Washington’s department of cinema and media studies and the graduate program in science, technology, and society studies. He works on the intersections of technology, design, environment, and media theory.

Conesville employees

Calling Hours

As part of a large interdisciplinary study at The Ohio State University examining the transition away from coal in Ohio, we are developing a theatre performance, tentatively titled Calling Hours, in Coshocton County, Ohio a community impacted by the closure of surface and subsurface coal mining and more recently the closure of one of the country’s largest coal-fired power plants. Created in collaboration with local artists and individuals with personal histories in the coal industry, Calling Hours is intended to be a theatrical memorial, an opportunity for public grieving, sharing, and reflection.

Tom Dugdale is a theatre director and writer whose work explores adaptation, nontraditional staging, multidisciplinary collaboration, and community engagement. He is an assistant professor at the Ohio State University Dept. of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts. 

Jeffrey Jacquet is an energy sociologist whose work has explored the community impacts from renewable and non renewable energy developments and the transition away from Coal. He is an associate professor at the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Anne Cornell is the Artistic Director and Community Studio Artist at Pomerene Center for the Arts, a small organization with a mission to promote community involvement in the arts in Coshocton, Ohio.

Image: Employees of the AEP-Conesville Coal Fired Power Plant. Date and Photographer Unknown. Courtesy of the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.

Exploring the Ethics of Communalism in Oil producing Communities of the Igbo-South East Nigeria and the Environmental Justice Implied

The aim of this work is to explore the emergent forms of community in oil producing companies in Igbo area of Nigeria and how or whether they reflect the ideals of Igbo communitarianism and the environmental justice implied. Obile community is located in Awarra Court Area in Imo State where the second largest gas plant is being constructed (Assa North Gas project). This project addresses the following question in relation to this region’s history: How has oil production affected the notion of community in oil producing areas of South Eastern Nigeria and what form of community has merged through oil production? I address this question by engaging the longstanding Igbo tradition of cooperative communalism which makes community development a collective venture and principle in Igbo culture.

Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi Ph.D, Professor of philosophy, University of Abuja, Visiting Scholar, University of South Africa (2005); Environmental Humanities Fellow, IASH, University of Edinburgh(2021); Fellow, RVP and CUA McLean Center Seminar, USA (2021), engages environmental issues through the African thought scheme amongst other researches. For more details visit http://www.cectraafrica.org.

Theresa Atutu is a PhD student in Environmental History. Currently, she is working on the AFREXTRACT comparative study project on the diversity of cultural and political responses to environmental change in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.

O.F. Uche is a native of Obile Community in the Oil producing area of Imo State of Nigeria. He is a public servant. He has been actively involved in the community projects in Obile and is passionate about how Obile community of Ohaji town can achieve environmental justice through community development.

Photograph of a landscape in Australia. A brown hill is partially shadowed against a blue sky with clouds.

Innovative Arts-based Pathways to Energy Justice with Australian First Nations

A key aim of our work program is to empower communities to drive climate solutions including local clean energy initiatives. For Aboriginal communities in Central Australia, energy insecurity and extreme heat are priority issues. Recent Australian Government policy designed to substantially increase the nations share of renewable energy will prolong energy inequities if new approaches are not adopted. The impending renewable energy transition will require genuine partnerships with communities to identify opportunities for engagement and maximise benefit. We will develop innovative arts-based approaches to highlight historical and contemporary energy injustices and construct equitable frameworks for meaningful participation in energy transitions.

Catherine Joyce is a PhD student researching policy and systems which enable equitable energy access and energy justice in off-grid and remote communities.

Vicki Saunders (Gunggari woman; research fellow, Jawun Research Centre, Central Queensland University) uses poetic and creative listening approaches to engage with the tensions of cross-cultural health research.  For more information, visit www.listeningtocountry.com

Veronica Matthews (Quandamooka, Lead CRE-STRIDE, University of Sydney) works on improving First Nations holistic health care systems (including social, cultural and environmental determinants) through quality improvement, systems-thinking and community-based participatory research.

an early 20th century recipe book cover showing a woman turning on a gas range to cook.

Intimate Energies in Domestic Spaces

Our project uses the lens of energy practices to re-explore guidebooks, recipe-books, novels, other texts, and the material culture of the home. By partnering international researchers with collections specialists and those working in educational outreach, we will identify and interpret texts and objects that can be used for co-produced/participatory workshops and exhibitions on the theme of past and future energy transitions in the home. The project aims to reinstate both the agency of women in negotiating historical energy transitions and the centrality of the household tasks (laundering, cooking, and home-making) to the energy economy.

Abigail Harrison Moore is Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds. She currently co-leads an international project on gender and the social histories of energy.

Katie Ritson is Research Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society in Munich with a German Research Council-funded project entitled “Offshore: Energy Cultures of the North Sea.”

Ruth Sandwell is Professor Emerita, University of Toronto and editor of the award-winning Powering Up Canada: A History of Power, Fuel and Energy from 1600 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016).

Leeds University Library’s Special Collections houses hundreds of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and art. It is committed to research and activities that enable community access to its collections.

Mapping Nuclear Histories of Wyoming Communities to Inform an Environmental Justice Approach for Advanced Nuclear Energy Facility Siting

As part of our Engaging Wyoming Communities in an Environmental Justice Approach for Advanced Nuclear Energy Facility Siting project funded by the United States Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program, we aim to pilot a digital humanities approach to spatialize and visualize the environmental justice implications of advanced nuclear energy facility siting centered around, and “radiating” outward from, the Naughton Power Plant/Natrium advanced nuclear energy demonstration project site in Kemmerer, Wyoming. This mapping effort will draw on the community-engaged and cultural data from the larger project to visually represent the histories and lived experiences of local coal plant and mine workers, residents, and nearby Native American and tribal communities that have historically experienced injustices related to the nuclear fuel cycle. We hope that this will also serve as a pilot for our broader work to map the “radiating” injustices as well as potentialities for justice in the context of advanced nuclear energy and waste facility siting.

Denia Djokić is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan’s Fastest Path to Zero Initiative. Her training in nuclear engineering, policy, and STS informs her current work that engages with environmental justice issues around advanced nuclear energy technology and radioactive waste management.

Rachael Budowle, Assistant Professor in Community Resilience and Sustainability at the University of Wyoming, is a cultural anthropologist whose scholarship sits at the intersection of environment and society. She focuses on various environmental justice topics using humanistic social science approaches, including community engagement around energy issues in Wyoming.

The project’s Community Advisory Board, currently under formation, will include local community leaders and representatives from community-based environmental organizations in Wyoming. It will support the project in ethical and equitable research processes, co-develop research strategies, and identify and coordinate community member participants for ethnographic and collaborative engagement processes.

Image: Circle of Life – Michele Irwin. Wyoming Voices Project. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSn3fLhR3Hw&list=PLLDkEadlZuPe2vvgmqVdY_GWMdo5CaD1S&index=6)

A black and white photograph of man-made structures with large wind turbines in the background.

No aire, no te vendas. Energy Sovereignty and Collective Creation in the Context of the
Eolic Parks in la Guajira

No aire, no te vendas. Energy Sovereignty and Collective Creation in the Context of the Eolic Parks in la Guajira, Colombia is a community-based research project focusing on La Guajira region in Colombia, a “sacrifice territory” for the production of wind energy, as a study case for emergent energy imaginaries based on eolic power. We explore these renewable energy cultures to develop a community-based project centered around wind energy cultures and its intersections with traditional forms of extractivism. The aim is to codesign installation and performative objects (kites) and register oral storytelling built around territory, energy and wind (one-minute film).

Azucena Castro has a Ph.D. in Hispanic literatures. She is currently a Swedish Research Council
Postdoc in Sustainability at Stockholm University and in Latin American Cultures at Stanford
University. Her research focuses on Latin American environmental humanities and cultural studies.

Juan David Reina-Rozo has a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering with Environmental and
Development Studies, and a Ph.D. in Community-based innovation ecosystems. His research is
dedicated to technology-society relationships and the social appropriation of technoscience.

Agustín Neko Epiyú (community partner) is a young indigenous Wayuu leader in the Ayarajosecat
community in La Guajira, Colombia. He is a translator, script writer and writer of Wayunaiki
language. He has directed the two indigenous short films Lapu (2021)and PULOIU (2021).

A shaggy dog on the shore of a large body of water. A bridge or pier leads into the water.

Oil & Water Don’t Mix (Michigan)

This project aspires to help shape the state of Michigan’s energy future by telling stories about the state’s energy past. Harnessing the grassroots energy and coalition building to shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, we hope to find ways to continue to make visible the uneven distribution and harms across populations of fossil fuel infrastructure. Our project will thus seek ways to tell stories about Michigan’s energy past and future that make visible the experiences, lifeways, values, and needs of communities harmed or left behind by energy production, distribution, and development in the region.

Jeffrey Insko is Professor of English at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan where he teaches courses in nineteenth-century American Literature and culture and the Energy and Environmental Humanities.

Oil & Water Don’t Mix is a collaborative community organization that has led the effort to protect the Great Lakes and indigenous treaty rights from the imminent dangers of a Line 5 oil spill.

a painting of colorful seaweed on top of a cave or tunnel.

Peat and Electricity in Ireland

This project aims to better understand the unlikely transformations that occurred as bog “wastelands” in the Irish midlands were converted into the industrial engine of Ireland’s modernisation during the 20th century. It aims to use this history to creatively intervene in plans that are currently underway across the cutaway bogs and former peat industrial communities of the Midlands. These include state-led plans for hosting data centres, fulfilment centres and large-scale renewable energy infrastructures in private “energy parks,” as well as more bottom-up projects for public eco-parks, incorporating retrofitted railway networks and re-wetted bog habitats. These are different visions for the future, positioned in highly unequal ways within prevailing political and economic contexts.  

Patrick Bresnihan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Maynooth University.  His research looks at different but related concerns around water, land, and energy in Ireland and how these speak to broader questions of colonial and postcolonial development, environmental politics and the ‘green’ transition.

Patrick Brodie is a media scholar and Lecturer in the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin. His research looks broadly at the environmental implications of digital media infrastructures.

Laurence Fullam has a background in Adult & Community Education. An experienced researcher with a particular interest in the concept of legitimacy, he has worked in the area of local development, managing a number of EU funded projects from concept to implementation. He has a keen interest in local history and a particular interest in archival sources. He is a founding member of Creative Rathangan Meitheal.

Image: Monica de Bath, Túr Feamainne, 67x73cm, watercolour on paper.

the letters POE are spelled out with vines and leaves

Products of Our Environment

Products of Our Environment (POE) is a collaboration between free and incarcerated scholars and writers committed to social and environmental justice. As part of IEC, we are developing a curriculum for a participant-led, non-credit-bearing workshop on arts and the environment that will be run through the Lifers and Long-Termers Organization in New York State. We will explore ways in which an imprisoned population is especially vulnerable to energy production and its byproducts: extreme heat due to climate change; locating prisons near and on superfund sites; and insufficient plans for evacuation in case of nuclear and climate disaster. This project will ultimately result in the publication of a workbook for self-study in and beyond the prison.

Isabel Lane is a literary scholar, teacher, and abolitionist. Her work focuses on the intersections of literature and environmental harm—from nuclear weapons and waste to prisons and the environments they contain, border, and exist within. 

Jared Bozydaj is an incarcerated writer and group facilitator. He has spent his twenty-one years of incarceration building community and advocating for change within the carceral system. He is currently writing his senior thesis on Richard Wright and Fyodor Dostoevsky for Bard College.

Lifers and Long-Termers is an incarcerated-led community organization that offers self-help classes, peer-led groups, and community-building workshops for individuals serving a sentence of at least fifteen years.

St Fittick’s Park

Our project starts from the dispute around the proposed Energy Transition Zone [ETZ] in Torry, Aberdeen. The plan cites St Fittick’s park nature reserve and surrounding areas for the ETZ, located between the working-class neighbourhood of Torry and Aberdeen’s semi-industrial southern periphery.

The project will investigate the impact of successive and overlapping energy regimes in and around Torry. The intention is to create an undisciplined, more-than-human contact zone (Isaacs and Ortuba) (2019) where varied understandings of socio-ecological and energy futures can be explored. Our artist-led research programme will comprise artist commissions and public activities; workshops, camps and talks for example.

Rachel Grant is a freelance curator based in Aberdeen and operates through the platform Fertile Ground which uses an interdisciplinary, context specific approach and primarily focuses on new commissions.

William Otchere-Darko is a lecturer in urban planning at Newcastle University. His research focuses on urban and resource geographies, particularly spatial and institutional transformations surrounding energy projects and infrastructures.

Gisa Weszkalnys is an associate professor in anthropology at LSE. Her research examines future making as a political, material, and affective practice, specifically in the context of energy developments.


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Seed funding for this working group has been provided by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.