How Pet Scenarios Can Disrupt Energy Futures

Friday 14 June, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world and is part of the trend towards humanising pet care, which is making keeping pets more energy intensive. In this talk, Yolande Strengers will approach speculation about future energy demand through the lens of changing household practices using the example of pet care and entertainment. Developing the concept of a ‘social practice imaginary’ as a variation of the ‘sociotechnical imaginary’, she will outline how energy forecasting methodologies for anticipating futures such as those involving energy can and should be informed by ethnographic insights about changing household practices.

Yolande Strengers is Associate Professor of Digital Society and Technology at Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology, where she leads the energy futures theme in the Emerging Technologies Research Lab. Yolande is a digital sociologist specialising in the interactions between people and emerging  technologies, particularly in the home. Her research is mostly applied, and delivered in collaboration with research partners include electricity distribution businesses, consumer advocacy organisations, peak bodies such as Energy Consumers Australia. She has recently completed an ARC DECRA project on the smart home, and is lead CI on the ARC Linkage project ‘Digital Energy Futures’. She is author of Smart Energy Technologies in Everyday Life (2013),  and has published widely on energy consumption and emerging technologies in households and other contexts.