Budapest, Hungary

Cultures and Geographies of Energy Transitions

online course
when 7 June 2021 - 17 June 2021
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 350

This course brings together people with their own local stories of the struggles and success of people and communities transitioning towards a sustainable energy system. Participants in this course will learn the skills to tell stories and multi-media narratives around energy transitions. The instructors will assist participates in using research methods to identify core transition themes and present these through a multi-media lens, such as articles, podcasts, and stories.

The research scaffolding focuses on four cultural dimensions of an energy shift: a) every day of communities formed around specific energy generations; b) meanings of work, employment, and the corporate cultures related to particular energy generations; c) symbols of distinct energy generations in institutionalized long-lasting political ideologies; and d) notions and arguments regarding justice in energy policies. Those cultural dimensions help to develop sensitivity to complex relational spatiality of a specific energy generation project, to its actors and related policies.    

There are two stages in the course:

First, selected applicants begin to develop their case studies before coming to the course. After submitting a short description of a case study of a localized energy transition in the application package, selected participants take part in four preparatory webinars organized to guide their fieldwork. The starting point of the fieldwork is observation and primary interpretation of how a specific expected or current energy shift is faced by urban actors (in governance, civil society, business, the cultural sector, etc.) and how urban actors respond. How are the specific meanings of energy generation instrumentalized in this process? How do relations between institutions change? What kind of spaces in cities and beyond become prioritized or marginalized? Which urban development and planning paradigms are fostered and which are criticized?

Second, course participants bring their fieldwork material to CEU and develop it into finished case studies - narrative or visual essay, film, podcast, communication plan, research paper, a design artifact, etc. - in cooperation and critical dialogue with peer participants. The team of the course tutors and lecturers are guiding this process in the format of lectures, workshops, discussions of readings, field visits, and drafts' presentations. The goal is to relate the variety of [ideally conflictual contradictory] arguments about cases of energy transitions from different places and to inform each argument by the wide variety of others. 

Depending on the epidemiological situation, the course includes field trips to Jiu Valley (Romania), as well as to PAKS and Pecs (Hungary)

A graduate of this course will be equipped to do case centered and comparative multiscalar urban studies of energy shifts (with an awareness of conceptual apparatuses needed, ability to identify empirical fields and organise fieldwork, ability to make participatory alliances with local development organizations, urban planning, the cultural sector, etc.).

Course leader

Michael LaBelle
Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy/Department of Economics and Business, CEU, Budapest, Hungary/Vienna, Austria
Erzsébet Strausz
Department of International Relations, CEU, Budapest, Hungary/Vienna, Austria

Target group

Target group
The course is open to advanced Masters and PhD students in environmental science, social science and anthropology, political science, cultural studies, urbanism, multimedia, arts and design; as well as early career stage practitioners (employees and interns) working with issues of energy shifts (especially from urban development, communications and cultural sectors).

We also invite applications from advanced undergraduate students who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest.
Pre-requisites
Applicants must have completed a BA degree (or equivalent) and be fluent in English. A well-articulated and empirically grounded case study from the applicants professional or personal life needs to be described in the application package.

Course aim

This course brings together people with their own local stories of the struggles and success of people and communities transitioning towards a sustainable energy system. Participants in this course will learn the skills to tell stories and multi-media narratives around energy transitions. The instructors will assist participates in using research methods to identify core transition themes and present these through a multi-media lens, such as articles, podcasts, and stories.

Credits info

3 EC
A Certificate of Attendance will also be awarded upon completion.

Fee info

EUR 350: Payable until May 16.

Scholarships

Students from the Open Society University Network (OSUN) and CIVICA member institutions can apply for a tuition waiver.