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Academics enjoying Art and Energy at International Conference this September

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 societyparticipant, 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 patternsparticipant, Portugal

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PEC Pals at Pretty Useful workshop in August 2018

“Art and Energy’s approach to engaging people in the future of energy is fresh and interactive. The solar workshop allowed us to get our hands on materials and be creative, making new technology less intimidating.

There was definitely excitement in the room and the ideas and collaborations look set to continue long after the event, which is vital for Plymouth Energy Community and the residents who support our work.”  

Clare Mains, Plymouth Energy Community

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Art and Energy – A new start

Solar Cell Photo by Matt Austin
Solar Cell Photo by Matt Austin

We will be open:

Monday - Saturday 10am - 3pm

& Thursday 10am - 7pm

Visit us at 6 Paris Street, Exeter from 14-19 May

We’d like to invite you to help us launch our new venture: Art and Energy.

Art and Energy have a vision to transform the look of solar panels through art, in order to brighten up our city, celebrate our diverse culture and inspire people to consider renewable energy. At the moment solar panels are inky, uniform, clone-like and utilitarian.

Art and Energy are working with a team of partners and experts to create custom solar panels that can incorporate artistic design. This is a totally new and exciting concept.

We are holding a week long event in Princesshay, Exeter on 14 – 19 May

We hope you’ll come along to:

  • See how solar PV tech can be used differently
  • Share your ideas for solar artworks
  • Get creative with some materials
  • See examples of art and energy from around the world and vote for your favourite
  • Help us decide what sort of art and energy project to develop in Exeter

Examples of what could happen include arts based carports and electrical plug-in places, public sculpture that could charge up gadgets, place based art on roofs, self-lighting arts based cycle paths.

We are being supported by Exeter City Futures, who are working towards Exeter being more sustainable, liveable and inclusive city. We are on their start up 15 week programme called Exeter Velocities setting up this social enterprise.

We are working with Exeter School of Art students, Exeter University researchers, businesses and Community Energy groups to develop and illustrate some of these ideas.