The DEMAND Conference


A tired co-chairing dragon called ‘Stange’ or ‘Cheering’. Photo by @DrCecilyMaller.

Last week we held the #DEMAND2016 conference.

With Janine Morley and Elizabeth Shove (Lancaster) and Louise Reardon and Greg Marsden (Leeds) we organised and ran two linked workshops on Conceptualising Change in the Dynamics of Demand and Steering Energy Demand.

We had invited presentations from Nicola Labanca (JRC, ISPRA, Italy), Tim Schwanen (CIED / Oxford University), Jim Watson (UKERC / Imperial College) and Jan Peter Voss (Techinal University, Berlin) as well as a number of contributions from a wide range of participants and a packed room on every day. The linked workshop on ‘change and steering’ included discussions sessions where participants worked through questions and concepts raised by the presentations and the position papers on change and steering that we had written in advance. I gave a presentation raising the question of whether working with concepts of practice already delimited ways of conceptualising change.

Examples of the questions that we wrestled with over the three days included:

  • Does understanding energy demand as an outcome of practice challenge or defy linear causal/directional, singular, evolutionary and progressive accounts of changes in energy use?
  • How does the idea that energy demand is an outcome of practice influence the kinds of questions we ask about change?
  •  Given the complexities of interactions that enable steering, how or in what way is it possible to identify opportunities to shape energy practices?
  •  When we study non-energy or implicit interventions or influences what space exists for raising or changing the terms of the debate in that process?

Want to know the answers? – Watch this space!

Other highlights from the conference included: the launch of a new blog in a session on ‘Practice Theory Methodologies‘ organised by Hilmar Scahaffer and Allison Hui (that is likely be a invaluabel resource for those doing empirical research on practices), an epic game of floorball and a fantastic anthropological summary at the end  of the conference given by DEMAND visitor Mikkel Bille.

It was a fantastic week and a great end to a run of conferences and presentations over Easter. For now it’s back to the hospitals, and back to fieldwork.



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