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.
Food 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
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.
Matt Watson contributed to a panel at a research conference in Sheffield on 13th September, drawing together diverse perspectives on the chaotic and contested notion of urban integration. The panel was organised by Simon Marvin, Director of the Urban Institute, and pulled together researchers from across the Faculty of Social Sciences at Sheffield. Matt’s contribution critically engaged the ways ‘nexus’ fits into and is appropriated to imaginaries of urban integration.
A roundtable conference in the French town of Autun, organised by Olivier Coutard and Jochen Monstadt, was a great opportunity to push new thinking on urban infrastructures in relation to the nexus in cities. Matt Watson’s paper, co-authored with Elizabeth Shove, developed from work in the DEMAND centre to engage with the urban nexus agenda. The paper sets out and seeks to work through the concept of ‘infrastructuration’ as a means of approaching the recursive relations between infrastructures of resource provision, and the everyday practices that constitute the demand for those resources.
We are now looking for a postdoctoral researcher to join us on this exciting project. Full details of the post are available here, with application closing date of August 24th.