The Stories of Change project aims to help to support lively public and political conversations about energy by looking in a fresh way at its past, present and future.
The project draws on history, literature, social and policy research and the arts to encourage a more imaginative approach to current and future energy choices. The project is shaped around the cross-party commitments to decarbonisation that sit at the heart of the UK Government’s Climate Change Act of 2008, and has been further energised by the UN Paris Agreement of 2015. Research has shown that many people feel disengaged, disempowered or actively hostile to the changes to the UK’s energy system required to meet the targets embedded in the Act. At the same time it shows wide acceptance that actions will be required to reduce demand and cope with future environmental hazards. However new developments and measures to manage or reduce demand can generate dispute. Our project seeks to make space to work through areas of concern and explore elements of a collective vision.
We are working with stories because they offer a popular and engaging route into thinking about the past and present and imagining possible futures, and also because stories, narratives and narration are concepts that everybody can gather around. History, digital storytelling, fictional narratives, and scenarios of the future all communicate different ideas about the consequences of change for everyday life, and explain different perspectives and attitudes towards change.
Who We Are
Stories of Change is being led by Prof. Joe Smith of The Open University’s Geography Department. The project is organised around three mini research projects, or "stories" and one cross-cutting project "Energetic" that supports these.
- Prof. Joe Smith leads Story 1 "Demanding Times"
- Dr. Renata Tyszczuk of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture leads Story 2 "Future Works"
- Karen Lewis and Hamish Fyfe of University of South Wales lead Story 3 "Life Cycles"
The team also includes:
- Robert Butler (The Open University)
- Dr. Rosie Day (University of Birmingham, geography)
- Prof. Axel Goodbody (University of Bath, literature)
- Dr. David Llewellyn (University of South Wales)
- Dr. Mel Rohse (University of Birmingham)
- Dr. Bradon Smith (University of Bath/The Open University, literature)
- Dr. Julia Udall (University of Sheffield, architecture)
- Dr. Nicola Whyte (University of Exeter, history)
- Prof. Zdenek Zdrahal and team (Open University Knowledge Media Institute)
- and our core-team arts organisation partners Peter Gingold (Tipping Point) and Yvette Vaughan-Jones (Visiting Arts)
Partners and Acknowledgments
The project has been built with the support of a very wide range of partners. Our thanks are also due to many collaborators, participants and friends. See the full list of project partners and acknowledgments.
Prof. Joe Smith
Tel: 01908 654613