Energy education that turns art into action

Our Creative Energy Clubs are bringing new vibrancy to our community engagement

It’s a Saturday afternoon in Hammersmith, west London, and among the bustle of the Lyric Theatre is a group of excited children and adults getting their hands dirty (literally) as they learn about our current energy system and meet members of a new community energy co-operative on their doorstep.

The button-making machine is one of the biggest hits – especially with children aiming to make one for what seems to be everyone in their immediate family – but others are intent on cutting out a range of shapes or gathering materials from the nearby outdoor terrace, to try out ‘sunprinting’ and experience how the power of the sun can create beautiful images in real time.

This is one of a range of Creative Energy Clubs run through Repowering London, with the aim of making it easy and fun to learn about community energy while making art collectively.

“I believe art will be essential to transform our culture around energy, and make community energy projects more accessible, radical and inclusive”

“Energy as a topic often feels intimidating and technical, and conversations around it lack diversity and creativity,” explains Éva Goudouneix, Repowering London’s Community Development Manager. That’s why she has raised funds (through partners such as the Mayor of London‘s Community Energy Fund, Aldgate Connect BIDKensington + Chelsea Foundation and Younity) and pioneered Creative Energy Clubs introducing a range of art techniques and processes across London over the past year.

“The complexity of our energy system and the current crisis mean that many people – especially from disadvantaged communities – associate energy with anxiety and fear about affordability and security. The Clubs use to power of art and co-creation to bring people together, increase their understanding of energy technologies and the energy system, and empower them to get involved in community energy projects,” she continues. 

“I believe art will be essential to transform our culture around energy, and make community energy projects more accessible, radical and inclusive.”

How does a Creative Energy Club work?

Creative Energy Clubs are half-day workshops that use the power of art and co-creation to bring people together and empower them to get involved in transforming the energy system. They include learning a new creative technique, such as collage, cyanotype, light art, drawing, textile or zine making. Built into the creative tasks are learning themes, which may be:

  • How does the energy system work? What are the actors in the system and what role do they play in it? How is the current system failing us and how is community energy one of the solutions?
  • How can we support people with energy? What are the root causes of the energy-affordability crisis and what can we do about it? What support is available for households? How can we campaign to create more energy solidarity?
  • How do solar panels work? How does a community solar project come to life? Why is solar power well suited to an urban context?

The sessions aim to produce an output for the local community. These can take the form of exhibits, posters, flyers, objects, etc., that can be displayed or distributed in a local public space.

Importantly, the Clubs involve volunteers from our local community energy co-operatives and give them a chance to speak with new people in their area about what these co-ops do to provide clean, affordable energy, fight fuel poverty and achieve climate targets. Our hope is that will move more people to get involved as volunteers and co-op members themselves.

Based on the enthusiasm and energy of the Hammersmith event, and the engaged conversations had, this seems a real possibility!

Would you like to bring a Creative Energy Club to your area? Get in touch today.

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