Project: Smart(er) Energy Justice

Smart(er) Energy Justice: Embedding equality into smart technology use and design

Deadline Monday 06 June – now closed

Project description: 
In UK policy smart meters are positioned as a solution to the energy challenge, supporting increasing individual accessibility, security of supply and reducing carbon emissions. Despite the nation-wide rollout of smart meters since 2016, use of smart meters remains limited and concerns for potential injustices in smart meter futures have been raised.

This project seeks to prioritise the voices of end users of smart meters by supporting them to think about their interactions with the energy infrastructure and what the future of smart meters may look like. Participants will then be invited to discuss what they consider to be potential issues of fairness or injustice.

Data collection will take place in the form of group workshops, where participants will tell a story about their meters, before taking part in a mapping exercise and then discussing issues of justice. The workshop borrows ideas from a research design paradigm but is novel in its application to the social sciences and so the project lead is about to embark on pilot workshops which will take place at the University of Brighton.

The aim of the pilot workshops is to gain better understanding of what sort of data will be generated by the group and how best to analyse it. The pilot will also help with logistical planning for the main study, such as timings and how best to structure the activities.

I, Kelly, am a first-generation university student from a low income family. My father did not pass the 11 plus and my mother is from South East Asia, only studying to GCSE level equivalent. As such I had no experience of either further or higher education at home, and this was the same across my wider family. As an undergraduate it never occurred to me that I could do a masters, let alone a PhD. I would be happy to show that it is a possibility for someone with a similar background.

Tasks and activities to be undertaken by the UG/PGT student:

  • Assist with organising and arranging logistics of workshop
  • Working with lead researcher to develop observation framework
  • Observing and making notes during workshop
  • Potential for assisting with transcription and basic analysis.

Experience and knowledge required/desired:

  • Strong organisational skills
  • Ability to communicate clearly with a range of audiences
  • Interest in qualitative and/or participatory research methods

Skills, knowledge, experience to be gained:

  • Gaining knowledge of participatory mapping methods
  • Experience of collecting observational data in a workshop setting
  • Collaborative working with lead researcher

Project lead: Kelly Prime,

School: Humanities and Social Science