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Co-creating energy efficiency in Foleshill: A collaboration between artists, researchers and the community in Coventry


Coventry City Council have recently been awarded funding to provide energy efficiency for owner occupiers in the Foleshill, a deprived district of Coventry.

However, despite the individual financial savings that energy efficiency brings and wider societal benefits to sustainability, uptake amongst residents is low. Culture has a unique ability to help us understand and connect with people and ideas. Accordingly, the project will fund workshops to co-create materials that help residents understand practical sustainability measures, the benefits of energy efficient homes and how barriers to uptake can be overcome. This is achieved by bringing together members of the local community to share their views, researchers from the University with expertise in energy and urban governance, officers from Coventry City Council and artists who will use mixed media to record and create materials to promote wider understanding of the initiate.

These materials will acknowledge the areas diverse cultural mix, but also provide a life beyond the project, potential being shared more widely through social media and helping overcome barriers to uptake. The lead researcher has recently published articles on the importance of energy efficiency for wider energy security, and how domestic energy policy can be understood as a trilemma between affordability, security and sustainability, so this project is the perfect opportunity to apply wider sustainability knowledge in a local context.

Energy efficiency improvements have wide ranging sustainability impacts. At the most basic level, energy efficiency reduces carbon emissions of homes, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and reduces household bills, which can help alleviate poverty and improve economic resilience. More widely, the project also offers an opportunity to engage with the topic from the perspective of under-represented urban communities.

Public engagement and arts programme

This project is led by Dr Jonathan Clarke from the Department of Global Sustainable Development. It will help support the establishment of a partnership between researchers within the Department of Global Sustainable Development and Coventry City Council officers, promoting sustainability and climate change action.

The project will seek to understand the wider impacts resulting from energy improvements, such as household health and finances. It will also act as a pilot in developing future research bids between researchers and the local council focused on improving energy efficiency.

This project links to the below Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):