21 September 2016 | by ubhshi001 | Category: Events

Material Practices of Energy Consumption

On 15 Sep 2016, the MCE project co-organised, with the Sceince Museum London, a one-day workshop ‘Material Practices of Energy Consumption: Use and Abuse of Energy in the Past’. The workshop brought together experts and curators from the museum sector with academics working on material culture and consumption to facilitate greater awareness of research and methodologies. At the workshop, curators and academics presented different approaches to the material culture of energy, discussed methodological challenges and considered future questions of research.

Seventeen people attended the workshop, and eleven papers were presented, followed by lively discussions. The outcome of the workshop will appear as a journal article or in a different format, in the near future.



Aims and Methods of the Workshop

  • “Getting to grips with energy: fuel, materiality and daily life”: Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck College, “Material Cultures of Energy”)


Cooling, Heating and Lighting: Materiality, Norms and Practices

  • “Refrigerating India”: Harold Wilhite (University of Oslo)
  • “Getting into the (refrigerator) habit: consuming cold in the 20th century home”: Helen Peavitt (Science Museum)
  • “Resources, infrastructures and appliances: investigating the materials of practice”: Elizabeth Shove (Lancaster University, DEMAND)
  • “Light as material/lighting as practice”: Jo Entwistle (Kings College, London) and Don Slater (LSE)


Meanings, Representations and Education

  • ‘“As snug as a bug in a rug”: Post-war housing, homes and coal fires’: Lynda Nead (Birkbeck College)
  • “Controlling Demand: The Role of the Electrical Development Association, 1919-47”: Paul Coleman (Leeds University)


Telling Stories – Communicating Transitions

  • “ ‘Don’t Touch this’”: Sabine Oetzel (Museum für Strom und Leben, Recklinghausen, Germany)
  • “Curatorial challenges in the early 21st century”: Ruth Garde (Wellcome)


Material Knowledge of PowerOpinion, Price, Display

  • “ ‘Chernobyl couldn’t happen here’: Exceptional reactors and exceptional public opinion”: Stuart Butler (Science Museum)
  • “Developing a material culture of energy economics in French households: the Tempo tariff”: Catherine Grandclement (EDF, France)
  • “Three museum objects: three methodological challenges”: Alice Cliff (Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester)

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