I’ve had a new paper, written with my colleagues Jason Chilvers and Tom Hargreaves, published in the journal Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. The paper is entitled ‘Mapping participation: A systematic analysis of diverse public participation in the UK energy system‘ and is one of the major papers from our work on the remaking energy participation project as part of phase 3 of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
I have a book review out in the Journal of Responsible Innovation of Brice Laurent’s ‘Democratic Experiments: problematizing nanotechnology and democracy in Europe and the United States‘, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2017, pp. 261.
It’s a fantastic book which rewards close reading, with lots of useful insights into the governance of emerging technologies and the object of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Laurent proposes the very useful concept of ‘critical constitutionalism’, which I summarised the review as “the need to conduct analysis in the midst of processes of problematization of technologies and democracy – rather than waiting until everything is settled and stabilised”. This is a disposition I will definitely be taking forward in future work.
The full review is available here, and I can also provide a pre-print version to anyone who is interested in reading it.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about digital participation and digital democracy lately, and hope to be able to do more writing on this topic and get some projects off the ground in 2019. I’m also hoping to connect with others with similar interests – thus this call for papers for the RGS annual conference in London this summer (28th-30th August). I’m also thrilled that the Digital Geographies Research Group of the RGS-IBG has agreed to sponsor this session at this year’s conference!
I’m thrilled to be part of a new paper, with my colleagues Jason Chilvers and Tom Hargreaves, which is just out in Energy Research and Social Science. The paper is entitled ‘Ecologies of participation in socio-technical change: The case of energy system transitions’ and is the first academic paper to come out of our UKERC-funded project ‘Remaking Energy Participation‘. It reports on the results of the systematic mapping of energy participation in the UK 2010-2015 which I carried out. In particular it highlights the broader patterns or ‘ecologies’ of participation which we found by doing this mapping, and draws conclusions about the big picture of energy participation in emerging UK energy transitions. We argue that this shows that certain forms of participation – particularly opinion surveys and behaviour change – are valued over others – for example, protests or arts projects. There are also many unacknowledged connections between different examples of participation, for example in the models of engagement used, the topics covered/ or excluded, or the participants involved. The paper demonstrates that by trying to take account of this broader ecology of participation we can produce better evidence for energy transitions, and might view and intervene in examples of energy participation quite differently.
A plain-English briefing paper reporting on the results of this mapping work is available here.
At the end of September I had a new paper published in the journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, based on my PhD research on organisational learning in the UK Government’s public dialogue body Sciencewise. I was particularly proud to see this little labour of love come out as it tries to give people an insight into my ethnographic work in an around Sciencewise’s public dialogue exercises on science policy. This is, as far as I am aware, the first extended ethnography of an organisation of participation which has been carried out. I also got to play around a bit with theories of space and learning, which I think was productive.
The paper is available to read open access here.
I’m starting to get excited for the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference in two weeks’ time. In particular I’m looking forward to some full and frank discussions about the challenges of decolonising the discipline of Geography, and to some really exciting looking keynotes – including Pat Noxolo and Juanita Sundberg. I’m also looking forward to taking part in a panel session with some of my academic heroes to remember the late great Professor Sally Eden and to discuss her recently published book Environmental Publics.
The main event of the conference for me is the panel session I’m organising on ‘Decolonising geographies of democracy and participation’ which is an area I am currently getting really interested in. I wrote some more about the rationale and scope for the panel in a previous post, but now the programme is up I can also share with you the excellent line-up of papers and authors I have been able to assemble. You can read the full panel rationale and abstracts in the programme here.
- Decolonising the collective: towards new visions of representation – Doerthe Rosenow (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
- The challenges of the ‘post-liberal’ turn in the Plurinational State of Bolivia – Anna Laing (University of Sussex, UK)
- Towards decentred and emergent governance for ‘community resilience’: The view from post-war Sri Lanka – Martin Mulligan (RMIT University, Australia)
- The right to the knowledge: urban movements and decolonisation of the spatial planning process – Tomasz Sowada (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland)
- Migrant women and participatory social research: decolonising geographies of participation – Tracey Reynolds (University of Greenwich, UK)(presenter); Umut Erel (Open University, UK); Eren Kaptani (Open University, UK); Maggie O’Neill (University of York, UK)
If this is a topic you are interested in and/or something which intersects with your work, please do come along to the panel on Wednesday 30th August, 14.40-15.20 in the Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Lecture Theatre G34. I’m keen to get some broader conversations going on this, so there will be opportunities for you to make your voice heard on this important topic.
I’ve got a busy summer ahead of me including running a field course to Southern Spain, writing material for a new module which starts in the Autumn semester, trying to finish a few papers which really just need to be submitted already, and also the small matter of getting married at the end of August.
I have always struggled to be productive during academic summers – I much prefer the regular meetings and short-term deadlines of term time – and I have a particularly large amount that I want to achieve this summer, on top of taking on new responsibilities as part of my lectureship. I’ve come up with a few resolutions which I hope are going to help me have a happy and productive summer, which I thought I would share here in the hope that this will make me more likely to follow them. There might also be something in here which will be of use to others, so feel free to use them or to share your own tips.
In summer 2017 I will…
- Check my emails once per day, deal with them, and then close my inbox
- Spend 60 mins writing on my current project each morning before emails or social media
- Try to focus on one main thing per week
- Do yoga or go for a walk every day
- Prioritise getting enough sleep
- Read every day & update my ‘to-read’ folder on Mendeley