This research briefing paper was prepared in collaboration with the Institutional Rhythms and Energy Demand Working Group and presented to the Northern England Sustainability and Health Network. It provides ideas and suggests potential opportunities for energy and mobility demand management in the NHS.
The paper examines two examples of ordinary working arrangements that hold in place particular patterns of demand for energy and travel: the first is the discharge process and the second patient transport.
It describes the sequences and synchronisations of the ordinary working activities involved that result in energy-intensive pinch points in ways of working and the boundaries of responsibility that hold them in place. Potential opportunities are identified in reconfigurations that are already taking place in hospitals, that might be adapted and adjusted, to shape patterns and profiles of demand for energy and travel and reduce associated carbon emissions.
My article titled ‘Institutional Rhythms: Combining Practice Theory and Rhythmanalysis to Conceptualise Processes of Institutionalisation’ is out now and is Open Access in Time and Society.
This article examines various ways that practice theorists have drawn on theories of time and about temporal rhythms to describe how practices are organised in everyday life. It does so to argue that Lefebvre’s work on rhythmanalysis provides important ideas for understanding how practices become temporally connected and societal rhythms become institutionalised.
With Greg Marsden and Elizabeth Shove, we submitted a response from DEMAND to a Government Consultation on the Industrial Strategy Green Paper.
The consultation was for views on the approach to building a modern industrial strategy that addresses long-term challenges to the UK economy.
We responded to two specific questions:
Q27 What are the most important steps the Government should take to limit energy costs over the long-term?
Q34 Do you agree the principles set out above are the right ones? If not what is missing?
In response, we say that the industrial strategy pays considerable attention to energy systems and infrastructures – but none at all to a symmetrical discussion of demand. We go on to elaborate on how that missing topic might be included, drawing on ideas and research from the DEMAND centre.
Durham Cathedral from the River Wear on the way back to the train station.
Last week, I gave a talk to the Anthropology of Health Research Group at Durham University on theories of practice and public health.
The beginning of the talk was based on our article in Critical Public Health, tracing some ideas from The Dynamics of Social Practice (2012) and using the example of smoking. Then I extended some of these arguments to talk about the temporal organisation and material arrangements that have underpinned changing ways of eating in the UK over the last 50 years. The slides from my talk are here.
A great lunch with students in the Physical Activity Lab. Photo from Ben Kasstan @kasstanb
It was great to meet the community of PhD students in the Physical Activity Lab, to find out about all their interesting, and to discuss the significance of shifting research in health towards social practices.
On the 7th February 2017, we held the second working group meeting for the Institutional Rhythms project. This time the working group met at Airedale General Hospital and began to develop outputs based on conceptual contributions taken from the project and two practical case examples presented by working group members.
Jo Davy and Frank Swinton presenting Rapid Improvement work on discharge at Airedale Hospital.
Alexis Keech, Head of Environmental Sustainability for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, presented on some of the issues resulting from increasing demand for patient transport and on how the service was responding to these increasing pressures. Jo Davy, Head of Quality Improvement at Airedale, presented on work at Airedale to improve patient discharge and flow.
The working group used concepts developed in the first meeting about temporal sequences, cycles, and institutional rhythms to work through potential new opportunities for shifting temporal arrangements to manage and steer demand for hospital services and patient transport.
Working group members enjoying floorball on a narrow and obstacle filled pitch. But at least it wasn’t forty degrees this time!
As aways there was, of course, time for a (slightly unorthodox) game of floorball!
The third and final meeting of the working group will take place in Leeds on the 23rd May where the group will work on developing further example cases and strategies for disseminating outputs from the project across the NHS.
Click here for more information on the Institutional Rhythms and Energy Demand Working Group process and outputs.
Panel at TASA. #thatleantho
The Australian Sociological Association’s Annual Conference was held in Melbourne this year, just as I was there visiting Beyond Behaviour Change and the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT. So it was great timing to join the Environment and Society stream. I presented some more of the work from the Institutional Rhythms project and joined in a short question panel on practice theory and sustainability.
The title of my talk was ‘Fixity and Flexibility in Hospital Discharge: Temporal Rhythms and How to Entrain Them‘.
The lens of practice theory. Designed and produced by Sarah Royston.
It was great to see lots of new projects presented in the Environment and Society stream that were taking a practice theory approach to investigating interesting empirical cases. There was some more discussion before and after the session about ‘using’ the ‘lens’ of practice theory. See Elizabeth Shove’s contribution in a collection of Responses to the PBES Thinking Notes for more on this.
A new special issue in Health and Place on Exercise and Environment and edited by Russell Hitchings and Alan Latham will be published shortly. I have an article in this issue which is available online now here. (An open access version of the accepted manuscript is available here.)
The article is based on empirical work that I conducted while doing my doctoral research, which was, in part, on the establishment and maintenance of habits and routines.