Energy Communication Toolkit
This toolkit has been developed as part of the Communicating Material Cultures of Energy (C-MCE) project, based in the Science Museum, London and Birkbeck College, University of London, conducted between 2018 and 2019.
What we call energy communication – i.e., communicative activities related to energy – is not only what energy firms’ small number of communication officers do; it is an activity that involves a broad range of communication experts and non-experts. We find energy communicators in many different sectors and organisations. Local energy campaigners communicate energy issues to convey their messages to the public, as do curators of science museums, academic researchers, educators, artists, policymakers and energy-conscious citizens.
Despite the broadening of the energy communication field, few extant studies have shed light on the inherent challenges associated with the act of communicating energy issues. Foregrounding such challenges would be of interest to those who are involved directly in energy communication, as well as those who want to understand how energy-related knowledge is communicated in society. As an initial examination of this topic, this toolkit primarily takes stock of insights derived from contemporary communication practices, but it is also informed by recent research from the field of communication studies and the social science of energy. As much as this toolkit contributes to the understanding of what it means to communicate energy, it is first and foremost intended to help energy communicators reflect on how they communicate energy.
This toolkit introduces some theoretical concepts and insights to readers, but our main concern is to encourage users to experiment, play with, modify and act upon the ideas and templates provided in ways that inform their practice of energy communication. Designed in this way, the toolkit bridges the gap between ideas and practice, between textbook-style instructions and the trial and error of learning by doing. The tools provided in each chapter act as templates to help communicators anticipate challenges prior to implementing an energy-communication project. Equally, these tools can be used to identify issues during or after a project in order to improve future communication. Another envisaged use of the toolkit is to increase readers’ understanding of energy communication as a distinctive field and to appreciate the value of approaching this communication challenge as a dynamic and participatory process.