Scales of Disruption: Methods, Experiences and Insights for Change

On Tuesday 10th February, the Disruption Project held a joint workshop with the AHRC “Material Cultures of Energy” project at Birkbeck College in London.

The aim of the workshop was to take stock of current approaches to disruption, to reflect on methodologies and to think about insights for attempts to change how we live. The various scales of disruption (temporal, spatial, planned/unplanned; novel/repetitive) were used as a way into this multi-faceted subject.

Questions were asked about what disruptions can reveal about the workings of infrastructures and the importance of particular habits or practices in people’s lives. Individuals’ and institutions’ experiences of disruption as a practical, emotional and moral event, were discussed and what these can tell us about the degree of flexibility and expectations of a “normal life”. The overall aim was to gather insights from the research for practitioners thinking about managing disruption in the future, and how and when disruption is seen as a threat to established systems and daily routines, and when as a catalyst for change and innovation.

In the course of the day, the discussion of these different scales and dimensions was linked to the perspectives of practitioners (from DECC, Defra, TfL and Climate UK) who are confronting disruption with a final session bringing together the insights from disruption for our understanding of “normal” life and the potential for change.

AHRC/EPSRC Disruption Workshop

Scottish Workshop on Flexi-mobility

On 12th February,  Caroline, Tim, Jillian and Iain held a workshop in Glasgow to test and develop the ‘Flexi-mobility’ concept.  The afternoon was attended by a range of transport practitioners, including representatives from Transport Scotland, Glasgow City Council Living Streets and Abelio.

Again, the reaction of practitioners was that the concept of flexi-mobility helped to think about the problems of implementing sustainable transport in a new and helpful manner.

York City Council Workshop on Flexi-mobility

On 30th January, Greg, Caroline and Tim spent the afternoon with York City Council, holding a workshop for members of the transport team to test and develop the ‘Flexi-mobility’ concept.

The workshop generated a lot of useful and productive discussion around the concept, and it was generally thought of to be a useful and constructive contribution towards the sustainable transport debate.

Flexi-mobility Presentation at CTS Winter Conference

On 15th December, Tim gave a presentation at UWE on ‘Flexi-mobility: Helping LAs Unlock Low Carbon Travel’, and David gave one on “Social Practice Theory and Sustainable Mobility: An Analysis of the English Local Transport Planning as a System of Provision”  as part of the Centre for Transport and Society’s annual Winter conference at the University of the West of England.

Sustainable Flood Memories

On Thursday 3rd October, The ESRC project “Sustainable Flood Memories” led by Professor Lindsey McEwan at the University of the West of England will be holding a conference at the Gloucester Guildhall on Sustainable flood memories and the development of community resilience to future flood risk.

The conference will explore the nature of flood memory and its relationship to the development of local knowledge for increased community resilience to local flood risk.  The event represents part of the 30 month ESRC Sustainable Flood Memories project, which has worked with communities and organisations in the lower Severn valley in the aftermath of the July 2007 floods.  In particular, the event will reflect on:

•        how communities remember and archive flood experiences

•        how these memories are materialised, assimilated, embedded and protected in contemporary communities and culture

•        how sustainable flood memories might have a particular role in developing community resilience to residual risk

•        how communities themselves and organisations charged with flood resilience planning can engage with, and support, development of sustainable flood memories

More details about the conference and project can be found here: