About the project

Reshaping the Domestic Nexus is a project bringing together academics from leading research groups with policy partners in BEIS, DEFRA, FSA and Waterwise. The researchers are from research groups which have been at the forefront of new ways of understanding how householders’ routine activities end up demanding resources, including of energy, food and water. This project’s purpose is to make that understanding useful for informing actual policy processes with our policy partners.

The research is being led by Matt Watson at the University of Sheffield, with Mike Foden, David Evans, and Liz Sharp, also at the University of Sheffield, and Ali Browne at the University of Manchester.

The project is funded by the ESRC Nexus Network 

You can find out more about the project here.

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Talking FOGs with Pennine Water Group

PWG_Logo_NBEarly in the project we worked with our partner organisations to identify four specific issues, through which we can explore the new light that nexus thinking, together with a focus on everyday kitchen practices, can shed on ongoing policy challenges. One such issue, identified in collaboration with Waterwise, is the widespread disposal of fats, oils and grease (FOG) via kitchen sinks, leading to severe blockages in drains and sewers.
On 16th March two of the project team, Liz Sharp and Mike Foden, presented initial findings from our work on FOG to some of the water engineers in the University of Sheffield’s Pennine Water Group, as part of their regular seminar series. Our aim was to test out our ideas and get some feedback from a more technically minded audience.

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Sustainability in turbulent times, Westminster conference

Just over the Thames from Parliament, the project was featured at Sustainability in Turbulent Times. This major event, attended by around 350 and featuring a range of high profile speakers, was the culmination of the work of the ESRC funded Nexus Network. In a wide ranging programme, we covered issues around the challenges and opportunities of pursuing change towards sustainability in light of contemporary political and economic changes and what they represent. Continue reading

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project prominent in nexus network report

reportThe project Reshaping the Domestic Nexus was featured prominently in the Sustainability in Turbulent Times report which accompanied the conference of the same name, the culmination of the ESRC Nexus Network programme. The report can be found here.

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The evidence-policy gap | seminar contribution | London

The challenges of getting evidence and ideas from research into policy was the focus of a workshop at the Friends Meeting House in London today. Matt Watson presented on some of the basis of the Reshaping the Domestic Nexus project as a contribution to a rich afternoon’s discussion, which went well beyond the usual prescriptions of how to engage policy audiences. The Evidence-Policy Gap was the final event in a series of 9 funded by the ESRC on Behaviour Change, and organised by Fiona Spotswood from the University of West England.

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Practice theory and social change

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How can practice theory be used to effect social change? That was an underlying question for the New Practices for New Publics workshop today, with a focus on how far practice theory can usefully inform processes of policy making and governing to effect positive social change. Appropriately, the project team was well represented there, with Matt Watson and David Evans providing two of the talks, along with Margit Keller (Turku). Others at the workshop wrote down questions at the end of each presentation, which provided the basis for a panel discussion, with Margit, David and Matt fielding some testing questions. In the interest and debate in the potential for practice theory to inform policy processes, the workshop demonstrated the salience of the ambitions of this project.

The workshop was the fourth in an ESRC funded series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.

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Project plenary at the Local Nexus Network conference, Oxford University

img_20161207_215819135Food of course presents us with a tangle of problems, that come down to the challenge of getting people sufficiently fed on a finite planet. Re-scaling food systems so production, manufacturing and consumption happens through more local relations is sure to be a field for useful change. But it’s a complex field, as demonstrated at the Localising Food Systems conference at Oxford University today, organised by the Local Nexus Network.

Matt Watson was there to deliver a plenary talk from the Reshaping the Domestic Nexus project, and representing the Nexus Network. Continue reading

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New member of the team

We are delighted to welcome Dr Mike Foden to the project team today. Mike will be working full time on the project through to its completion next autumn. He joins us from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam and brings an excellent combination of topical expertise around sustainable consumption, energy and waste, with extensive experience of policy engagement.

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