The fourth Energy and Society Conference brought together researchers interested in the social dimensions of energy, to exchange insightful ideas and create opportunities for collaboration.
This time the conference theme was Energy transitions in a divided world. The theme reflected recent developments around the world that have been linked to a decline in social and spatial cohesion and cooperation: the onward march of individualism, privatisation and deregulation associated with neoliberal principles, and the rise of nationalism within and beyond Europe. The Brexit vote in the UK and the Trump presidency in the US are just two manifestations of these processes. But what are the impacts of these wider social transformations for future energy systems?
Art and Energy were delighted to be invited to deliver two workshops for 20 participants to explore what an aesthetic dimension might mean for communities, and we enjoyed the perspectives from researchers in a multitude of countries, all of who have given us their input and made suggestions for what it might mean for the future.
Some were surprised by the quantity of projects that artists are pioneering around ths world, and some just couldn’t believe they’d worked in the energy space for some long without considering art!
“I was surprised by how easy and creative it is to work with solar panels and what huge benefits this creative process is to better understand the role of energy in society” participant, UK
“The sheer existence of the idea of using solar as an art material for art was surprising. Even more so, the fact that I could be my own designer of a panel!” participant, Germany
“I would love to see solar tiles used as a wall covering for houses either with traditional or modern patterns” participant, Portugal