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Comparing cases: Insights into energy practices and community from Cardiff City

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  • I’m going to begin with a very brief introduction to the project the work I’m showing today is actually from, then I’ll move into much more detail on the case site area which forms the crux of my talk, this will include context, observations and insights as well as some data, then I’ll offer some very tentative conclusions.
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    • 1. Comparing cases: Insights into energy practices and community from Cardiff City Dr Karen Parkhill Cardiff University, UK Prof. Karen Henwood Dr Catherine Butler Dr Fiona Shirani Prof. Nick PidgeonPaper presented at: CLUES Conference: Energy in the Locality.8th May, London http://www.ucl.ac.uk/clues/CLUES_Conference
    • 2. Overview• Project background• Methodology• Futurespace – context• The role of Futurespace as a community group• Conclusions
    • 3. Energy Biographies ResearchObjectives1. Develop understanding of energy use by investigating and comparing peoples different „energy biographies‟ across a range of social settings2. Examine how existing demand reduction interventions interact with peoples personal biographies and histories.3. Develop improved understanding of how different community types can support reductions in energy consumption …We will also be exploring the usefulness of innovative (narrative, longitudinal and visual) research methods for helping people reflect on the ways they use energy
    • 4. MethodsAlso I am volunteering with Futurespace Ely and Caerau & have been since it began • Follow up • These involve interviews 5 interviews and Phase 2a: AND 10 months informal Narrative with a selected meetings with Interviews sample from case site each case site. representatives December 2011- April 2012 Participants are and a wider being asked to range of • 30 initial engage in a stakeholders to narrative range of other provide detailed interviews in multi modal contextual each case site methods (e.g. information. area(n=90) photographs) Phase 1: Scoping Stakeholder Phase 2b: Extended Interviews Biographies & Multimodal MethodJuly 2011-December 2011 May 2012-February 2013
    • 5. Case Site Locations (but focus on Futurespace)Peterston and ElyCaerau, Cardiff Royal Free Hospital, LondonTir Y Gafel Eco-village,Pembrokeshire
    • 6. Ely & Caerau• Population~ for years but we got used tolived init[street]we werein the we were cold 24,000 Like Ive got loads of friends and when we it but was freezing cold,• Social stigma calor gas, its not nice really. I have other friends morning with one who are on electric meter and I think Oh is it going to be ...? they• In top 10%pencil cases for school but will the electric go? and being need new Welsh multiple- deprivation indexto make ahaving to sit in clumps type of thing. So I in that situation and everyone then you dont want cup of tea and all that to watch telly and ▫ Education &my first concern because I dont suppose you see that. I think that was skills ▫ Income the futurecan global warming and what will happen to the cant see environment but I of see someone who is like freezing in their ▫ Housing, healthwhat that feels like. I know what it feels like to be house and I know & cold and not have money for heating and have access to heating. So employment why that was my priority cos I know what that feels like I suppose thats ▫ (Fuel) poverty istold this is going to happen but I cant actually see whereas I am being endemic it. - Kelly
    • 7. • Active for ~ year• Supported by Ely & Caerau Communities 1st• „ACE‟ development trust: Action in Caerau and Ely• Volunteers ▫ Timebanking (http://www.elycaerau.c om/Welcome.html)• No resources
    • 8. The vision“Futurespace Ely and Caerau is a groupset up by a core group of enthusiasticvolunteers who are passionate about Futurespace has a key elementbringing communities together andpromoting sustainablein that wehas of a „community‟ living; is aresupported by“common needs and identified the local CommunitiesFirst team a sense helping us to carry goals, who are of the commonourgood, shared lives, culture aims to vision forward. Futurespace and views of the world, andgenerate a sustainable future in Wales byworking with communities in Ely and collective action” (Silk, 1999: 6).Caerau. There are two key goals - toreduce the use of natural resources andto address the issue of fuel poverty inthe local area.”
    • 9. Constructs of community (not an exhaustivelist!)• Communities can form or be: ▫ Geographical ▫ Interests ▫ Localised social systems binding social groups and institutions A brand community is a specialized, non-geographically ▫bound community, based on a structured set of social …of practice (shared learning) ▫relationships among admirers of a brand. It is specialized …of social action ▫because“co-presenceis a branded good or service. Like other Virtual at its center and absence” (Clark, 2007) communities, it is marked by a shared consciousness, rituals• They have or aim to: sense of moral responsibility. Each of and traditions, and a Common goals… - internal cohesiveness and identity ▫ these qualities is, however, situated within a commercial and Empower ▫ mass-mediated ethos, and has its own particular expression. Build resilience ▫ (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001: 412). But what does this mean for a ▫ community group like Futurespace? Increase capacity• But perhaps they also need: ▫ External identity: A Brand (trust worthy, dependable, real etc...)
    • 10. Community Identity & Futurespace• Futurespace has much of what is on the last slide including particularly those listed under the aims (e.g. common goals, empowerment, building capacity). I‟m going to contend that to be a successful community group, or more accurately to have continued success, you need to be able to speak to all of the things on the previous slide, particularly the need to develop a brand, which comes with it‟s own pitfalls as we‟ll see. I‟m going to use the successes and less successful ventures of Futurespace to think about this a bit more. But before I do, let me be clear, I am not in anyway judging this group , I hope through this exploration I will make apparent some of the challenges they face and what mechanisms are needed to assist their work.
    • 11. Interventions of Futurespace their Alongside dealing with• disappointment the group have taken Home energy surveys• Traininga lobbying role (perhaps unknown to on volunteers• Grant funding community of Ely and Caerau) the wider• Community Solar PV scheme response to the – they submitted a ▫ Homeowners free energy DECC consultation on FiT revisions, have ▫ Community 25 yrs reliable contacted and/or met MPs and Welsh investment Government Ministers. Social enterprises Plus they have ▫ Aim 1000 ->500 EoI continued to develop the home energy ▫ 100 leases signed surveys, training and thinking about• But then… for providing support to Ely their role and Caerau.
    • 12. The group, due to a lack ofresources and the quicklychanging policy landscape,struggled to keep thecommunity informed of the fastdevelopments. They had to relyon help to disseminate fromCommunities First Ely andCaerau, which despite it givingfantastic support, has its ownresource pressures. They triedto use the local communitypaper: Ely Grapevine – but noteveryone receives it (or indeedreads it). Therefore some ofthose who were interested inthe solar PV project did notknow why there was a delay.This has possibly led to somenegative perceptions ofFuturespace.
    • 13. The importance of external identitywork • Before the FiT issues, Futurespace was perhaps seen as a „business‟ Whenthan voluntary organisation: “Alright Futurespace would rather the PV scheme stalled, sympathy for the Futurespacethe tariffsmaythenfelt, butin business project to obviously get group but be if you‟re clear the you want was not necessarily „owned‟ by community members – make money don‟t you” it is championed by “they” or “them” not “us” or “we”, • until this FiT issues, trying to build upfuture uncertainty: Before the participant talks about trust can be very difficult: “Mind a lot of people were a bit taken aback with it because there‟s an old saying: you don‟t get anything for nothing and because it “But I know they were devastated you know because a was free…it was hard to convince them that…it was ok; people get they did such a lot of work and it‟s a that heartbreaking bit suspicious about things for nothing and bit was quite sort of really for them. I felt really sorry for them but eye opening” they’ve had lots of meetings and we’re just holding on now, waiting to see what‟s going to happen”
    • 14. Concluding Thoughts…• Community groups, communities and policy stakeholders work on different time-scales ▫ Community groups are increasingly acting as “intermediaries” for national/international policy goals – they need support to be able to engage in such a fast changing policy landscape effectively.• Community groups need internal cohesiveness e.g. “common goals” and “shared lives”• But also need a robust “brand” or external identity• Both internal and external identities are ongoing “projects”
    • 15. Acknowledgements: FuturespaceGroup, ESRC.Dr Karen Parhillparkhillk@cardiff.ac.ukTwitter: DrKAParkhillwww.energybiographies.org

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