Job Alert: Senior Research Associate – Flexibility in Energy Systems

FlexibilityWorkshopWe are currently inviting applications for a full time and 2-year, fixed-term Senior Research Associate position to work with Elizabeth Shove, Jacopo Torriti and me, on a project called ‘Flexibility: Past, Present, and Future’ based at Lancaster.

The aim of the project is to investigate changing forms of flexibility within different kind of and interconnected energy systems.  The research will involve working with historians and exploring methods of quantifying and representing relations between supply and demand, as they vary over time.

This project is part of the Flexibility theme in the The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

Candidates will need a Social Science PhD and an interest, or experience, in themes of time, consumption/technology studies and/or energy demand, as well as experience in interviewing and secondary data analysis.

For an informal discussion about this role, please contact Elizabeth Shove by e-mail.

To apply, follow this link to submit your CV and a supporting statement of how your past experience, and current and future research activities will contribute to this project.

Closing date for applications is Thursday 16 August and the planned interview date is Thursday 06 September 2018.


Videos: DEMAND: The Animated Series

We have published a series of five short animated films that represent some of the core ideas, insights, and proposals from the DEMAND centre’s five-year programme of research.

You can see all 5 episodes on the Youtube playlist below:

Episode 1: What is Energy Demand? And Why Does it Matter?

Episode2: Changing Energy Demand: Why Social Practices Matter

Episode 3: How Do Infrastructure Make Energy Demand?

Episode 4: Unpacking Peak Demand: Societal Rhythms of Energy and Travel

Episode 5: Using Non-Energy Policies to Reduce Energy Demand

All episodes were written by Janine Morley, Elizabeth Shove, and myself and animated by the talented Adam York Gregory.

News: Projects on Future Flexibility in Energy Demand Funded as Part of New UK Research Centre


Elizabeth Shove and I will be part of a new £19.5 million UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand (UKCRED) funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The new centre, led by Nick Eyre (Oxford), will bring together a world-leading and multi-disciplinary group of researchers to develop and deliver internationally leading research focusing on energy demand from a systemic, socio-technical perspective.


We will be working with Jacopo Torriti (Reading ) who is leading the theme on Flexibility. The theme includes six projects that examine aspects of spatial and temporal flexibility in energy systems and society. The aim is to develop new ways of conceptualising and measuring future flexibility in energy demand.

We will be running projects to help conceptualise flexibility as an outcome of emerging socio-temporal patterns that improve understanding how rhythms and practices might fit with future decarbonised and renewable energy systems, and trying to understand whether there might be ways of modifying socio-temporal rhythms to fit better with changing patterns of energy supply.

The UKCRED Centre involves more than 40 academics at 13 institutions across the UK including Oxford, Leeds, Reading, UCL, Loughborough, Manchester, Sussex, Surrey, LSE, Edinburgh, West of England, and York Universities.

See write up on Lancaster News here and from EPSRC here.

Fully Funded ESRC NWSSDTP CASE PhD Studentship





Situating Everyday First Aid: Social Practices and Settings of Incidents and Help

We have a call open for applications for a three year, fully funded, ESRC North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) CASE PhD studentship working in collaboration with the British Red Cross and beginning in October 2018.

Deadline for applications is 9th February 2018.

The project investigates the social organisation of first aid. The research will focus on the social and institutional settings within which first aid ‘incidents’ occur and how these settings influence the kinds of ‘responses’ and forms of help that follow.

The aim is to provide a better understanding of accidents, risks, and harms by positioning first aid incidents not as random events but as embedded in the spatial and temporal ordering of social practices and social life. Further understanding of the social organisation of help will put the Red Cross and others in a better position to promote first aid skills, to help save more lives, and reduce harm.


Dr Stanley Blue, Professor Elizabeth Shove (Department of Sociology, Lancaster University), and Penny Newell (Education Research, British Red Cross).

For details on eligibility and how to apply, click here.

For further information about the project, click here.

Call for Papers: EASST Panel on ‘Intersections and Meetings between Practice Theory and STS’

EASSTEASST is coming to Lancaster in July!

With Torik Holmes, Allison Hui, and Elizabeth Shove,  we are holding a panel on ‘Intersections and Meetings between Practice Theory and STS‘ which is part of the stream on ‘Confluence, Collaboration, and Intersections’.

Our panel will explore understandings and uses of the notion of practice within the field of Science and Technology Studies. Its purpose is to examine both confluences and challenges arising from working at the intersection of STS scholarship and social theories of practice.

The call for papers is now open, the deadline to propose a paper is the 14th February 2018, and the long abstract is below:

Theories of practice are increasingly widely invoked across a range of fields, including within Science and Technology Studies. There are, for example, references to user practices (e.g. Schot et al.), to energy saving practices (e.g. Gram-Hanssen), to practices of consumption (e.g. Wallenborn and Wilhite), and to the value of approaching empirical topics through the ‘lens’ of practice. Within STS, there are also traditions of studying situated practices (e.g. Lave and Wenger; Star) and communities of practice (e.g. Suchman, Wenger), as well as STS-inspired organisational studies of management as practice (e.g. Orlikowski). In addition to a shared interest in practices, STS and practice theories have further been brought into dialogue around issues of materiality, spatiality, and methodology.

The purpose of this panel is to interrogate these meetings, probe different interpretations of practice, and develop questions and concepts that lie at the intersection of these various traditions. Put simply, we invite papers that contribute to exploring two questions: What does STS scholarship contribute to the understanding and analysis of social practice? And, conversely, how do social theories of practice (in all their forms) add to, or challenge, debates within STS?

Papers might include conceptual contributions based either on empirical investigation or innovative combinations or conjunctions of ideas from across ‘practice theory’ broadly defined. Whatever the angle or the approach, we are looking for contributors to engage with challenging and collaborative intersections, successful and failed meetings and innovative integrations and combinations between practice theory and STS.


Publication: Demanding Energy

Demanding EnergyI have a chapter published in  a new book edited by Allison Hui, Rosie Day, and Gordon Walker. Demanding Energy: Space, Time and Change collects research from within and beyond the DEMAND Centre on the dynamics of energy demand and presents this range of contributions and case studies to examine different social processes and dynamics, aspects and issues related to the topic of energy demand.

You can email me for an accepted manuscript (pre-copy-edited version) of my chapter: ‘Reducing demand for energy in hospitals: Opportunities for and limits to temporal coordination’.

My chapter describes some of the ways that demand for energy is made in hospitals, developing an account of energy demand as the outcome of the organisation of the connected working practices that constitute the regular provision of healthcare. It draws on interview data taken from an ethnographic study of institutional rhythms and the organisation of working practices in hospitals to describe how changes in the material arrangements, professional boundaries, and temporalities that underpin hospital life affect the fixity and flexibility of connections between practices in ways that matter for the potential for large institutions to achieve demand side response and to be able to foster the design of new and less resource-intensive ways of working.

This collection has a website with chapter abstracts, author biographies, reviews, and a teaser animation. And you can find open access versions of the introduction and conclusion here.