Laura Watts

Laura Watts, writer, poet, and artist, is Interdisciplinary Senior Lecturer in Energy and Society at University of Edinburgh.

  • Energy at the End of the World

    An Orkney Islands Saga

    Laura Watts

    Making local energy futures, from marine energy to hydrogen fuel, at the edge of the world.

    The islands of Orkney, off the northern coast of Scotland, are closer to the Arctic Circle than to London. Surrounded by fierce seas and shrouded by clouds and mist, the islands seem to mark the edge of the known world. And yet they are a center for energy technology innovation, from marine energy to hydrogen fuel networks, attracting the interest of venture capitalists and local communities. In this book, Laura Watts tells a story of making energy futures at the edge of the world.

    Orkney, Watts tells us, has been making technology for six thousand years, from arrowheads and stone circles to wave and tide energy prototypes. Artifacts and traces of all the ages—Stone, Bronze, Iron, Viking, Silicon—are visible everywhere. The islanders turned to energy innovation when forced to contend with an energy infrastructure they had outgrown. Today, Orkney is home to the European Marine Energy Centre, established in 2003. There are about forty open-sea marine energy test facilities in the world, many of which draw on Orkney expertise. The islands generate more renewable energy than they use, are growing hydrogen fuel and electric car networks, and have hundreds of locally-owned micro wind turbines and a decade-old smart grid. Mixing storytelling and ethnography, empiricism and lyricism, Watts tells an Orkney energy saga—an account of how the islands are creating their own low-carbon future, in the face of the seemingly impossible. The Orkneys Islands, Watts shows, are playing a long game, making energy futures for another six thousand years.

    • Hardcover $35.00 £27.00

Contributor

  • Subversion, Conversion, Development

    Subversion, Conversion, Development

    Cross-Cultural Knowledge Exchange and the Politics of Design

    James Leach and Lee Wilson

    Explorations of design, use, and reuse of information technology in diverse historical and cultural contexts.

    This book explores alternative cultural encounters with and around information technologies. These encounters are alternative because they counter dominant, Western-oriented notions of media consumption; they include media practices as forms of cultural resistance and subversion, “DIY cultures,” and other nonmainstream models of technology production. The contributors—leading thinkers in science and technology studies, anthropology, and software design—pay special attention to the specific inflections that different cultures and communities give to the value of knowledge. The richly detailed accounts presented here challenge the dominant view of knowledge as a neutral good—information available for representation and encoding but separated from all social relations.

    The chapters examine specific cases in which the forms of knowledge and cross-cultural encounters are shaping technology use and development. They consider design, use, and reuse of technological tools, including databases, GPS devices, books, and computers, in locations that range from Australia and New Guinea to Germany and the United States.

    Contributors Poline Bala, Alan Blackwell, Wade Chambers, Michael Christie, Hildegard Diemberger, Stephen Hugh-Jones, James Leach, Jerome Lewis, Dawn Nafus, Gregers Petersen, Marilyn Strathern, David Turnbull, Helen Verran, Laura Watts, Lee Wilson

    • Hardcover $64.00 £50.00
    • Paperback $32.00 £25.00