IES Seminar Series - Dr Laura Watts


Hudson Beare Building, Lecture Theatre 2


Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 13:00 to 14:00

Presenter: Dr Laura Watts

Affliation: School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh

Title: Energy Future Islands as Living Labs



The energy future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed – nor is it replicated everywhere the same. The energy future is located and multiple; it shifts from place to place, depending on local infrastructure histories, social relations, and environment. The places where the energy future can be found often lie at the peripheral edge, where the environmental resource is more intense. Here, energy is more visible and its infrastructures more precarious.

This presentation will present a case study from the ‘energy edge’ and a world-leading living laboratory for energy futures. Drawing on a ten years ethnography, it will discuss how this edge place and its people have made their energy transition, and what might be learned from both their success and challenges. The case study is the Orkney islands, off the northeast coast of Scotland, where they generate on annual average over 140% of their own renewable energy.


Laura Watts is an ethnographer of futures and a Senior Lecturer in Energy & Society, in the School of GeoSciences. She was previously an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen. Her research as a Science & Technology Studies scholar is concerned with the effect of 'edge' landscapes on how the future is imagined and made, and methods for making futures. She has collaborated with the telecoms industry, the public  transport sector, and for the past decade she has been working with energy futures in the Orkney islands.

Further Information

Energy Future Islands as Living Labs
Energy Future Islands as Living Labs

Event Contact Name: 

IES Seminar Team

Event Contact Email: