Regular visitors to the Urban Energy site will have noticed we have been very quiet lately, and this is because the EVALUATE team has had an exceedingly busy summer. In September alone, members of the team organised two sessions and participated in four other sessions at the Royal Geographical Society’s Annual Conference, gave an invited talk to the European Economic and Social Committee, participated in the European Urban and Regional Studies conference, and hosted a pan-European symposium for 40 delegates.
At the start of the month (30th August – 2nd September) the whole team attended the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in London. We organised two sessions on the theme of ‘Beyond the triad: exploring the drivers of domestic energy deprivation’, which were chaired by Saska Petrova and Stefan Bouzarovski respectively. The first session featured four presentations, including a presentation by CURE’s own Cait Robinson, and a talk about the EVALUATE project, and was closed by Juliette Burroughs from National Energy Action acting as discussant. The subsequent session also contained four presentations, followed by closing discussant statements from Catherine Butler and Russell Hitchings. Across both sessions we heard about studies ongoing across the world, including New Zealand, Kenya, and the Balkans, and went some way towards highlighting the commonalities present in these studies.
On the following day, Neil Simcock was co-author on a presentation entitled ‘Values and assumptions in bioenergy debates: A politics of knowledge analysis of ‘waste’ and marginality within UK agricultural systems’. On the final day, Harriet Thomson was a panelist in a session looking at ‘Breaking through Barriers and Ties that Bind: Nexus Thinking in Transboundary Climate Change Mitigation Research’. In the afternoon during the first session on ‘Governance innovations for the urban nexus’, our collaborators at the University of Bergen spoke about ‘Nexus governance and pathways to transformation: Finding geography’s place’, while Saska Petrova and Ali Browne talked about ‘Bottom-up transformations of water and energy governance in post-socialist Asia and Europe’. Stefan Bouzarovski was discussant for the second part of the Governance innovations session.
Two weeks later, Harriet Thomson was in Brussels to give an invited talk to the European Economic and Social Committee’s Permanent Study Group on the European Energy Community. The session held on 14th September looked at the economics of the Energy Union, and Harriet’s presentation focussed on energy poverty and its relationship to the Energy Union strategy. Subsequently the whole EVALUTE team headed south to the beautiful city of Chania in Crete, where the 10th European Urban and Regional Studies Conference was held (14th – 17th September). At this event, Stefan Bouzarovski chaired a session entitled ‘Mobility, diverse cities and migration II’, Harriet Thomson and Stefan Bouzarovski gave a talk on ‘Quantifying energy poverty and affordability in Europe: an exploration of data and indicators’, and Neil Simcock and Saska Petrova presented on ‘Pathways to energy vulnerability: new insights from a qualitative study in Central and Eastern Europe’.
After a short beach break, we hosted 40 early career researchers (ECRs) in Manchester on 20th September for ‘Advances in fuel poverty research and practice: a pan-European early career researcher symposium’. This event, organized in conjunction with a pan-European steering committee and funded by Eaga Charitable Trust and the EVALUATE project, sought to provide a supportive physical and virtual forum for ECRs from all disciplines to:
- Share emergent research on or related to domestic energy deprivation;
- Consider the development of an integrated and innovative conceptual framework for the research and amelioration of fuel poverty;
- Develop national and international collaborations with public policy officials and civil society;
- Further strengthen the existing multidisciplinary network of researchers from across Europe;
- Foster a new generation of scholars and practitioners in this field.
The symposium featured 25 short presentations by ECRs and guest talks from Professor Stefan Bouzarovski and Professor Benjamin Sovacool (click to view presentations). Attendees also participated in lively group discussions on the current barriers to researching fuel poverty, and the unanswered questions in fuel poverty research.
Afterwards, we took attendees to Manchester’s world famous ‘Curry Mile’ for further socialising!
The symposium was held in partnership with National Energy Action (NEA), one of the UK’s leading fuel poverty charities. As part of this arrangement, 11 ECRs attended NEA’s annual conference (21st to 23rd September) and had the opportunity to meet Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of NEA and member of the UK government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, and to display poster presentations of their research.