Gathering around stories: Interdisciplinary experiments in support of energy system transitions

Joe Smith*, Robert Butler, Rosie J. Day, Axel H. Goodbody, David H. Llewellyn, Mel Rohse, Bradon T. Smith, Renata A. Tyszczuk, Julia Udall, Nicola M. Whyte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the creative uses of stories and storytelling to engage groups and individuals with consideration of changes in energy systems across time and place. It summarises three story-based experiments that responded to the theme of ‘energy utopias’. These are drawn from the three core strands of a much wider body of work undertaken within the Stories of Change project. This took stories as a central motif and organising device to refresh public and political conversations about energy and decarbonisation. Our hypothesis was that stories could offer a popular and engaging route into thinking about the past and present of humanity's lives with energy and a lively way of imagining possible futures. We also wanted to test the degree to which stories could offer a shared intellectual space that might support both interdisciplinary and co-productive working for a core team that includes social science, humanities, media, computing and design researchers as well as creative and community partners. The paper considers some of the practical, methodological and theoretical considerations and reflects on the strengths and limitations of stories as both motif and technique in supporting action on climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-294
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • Climate change
  • Co-production
  • Energy
  • Stories


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