What do the links between food, energy, water and the environment mean to you? This was the question we asked in our online Nexus Network photo competition as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. We wanted to see how food, energy, water and the environment connect with your everyday life, at home, at leisure, at work, travelling…anywhere!
We were delighted that the competition brought in a wide range of photos and we would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who took part. After some deliberation, our panel of 5 judges have selected the top 3 images (images were anonymised for judging).
This simple but effective photo of an every day scene with a boiling kettle and a cup of tea waiting to be made, captured the judges’ imagination to gain first place. The photo was taken by Prof Ian Christie who is the Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group and says he is also an ‘amateur environmental photographer’.
We asked Ian – what does this picture show of the nexus? ‘Using just the water and energy needed for a cup of tea in the kitchen‘.
The judges said ‘The playful nature of this photo quintessentially characterises the (English) domestic nexus.’
The implications of the nexus in the home is a theme followed by the Domestic Nexus project, funded by a Nexus Network grant. The household is a critical junction where the provisioning of resources such as water, food, energy meets with everyday practices such as laundry, eating and comfort. The Domestic Nexus project examines the dynamics of consumption at the domestic scale. The project is run by Matt Watson, Peter Jackson and Liz Sharp from University of Sheffield with Dale Southerton, David Evans, Alan Ward and Ali Browne from the University of Manchester.
Second place goes to this beautiful image of a river at sunset, with the wire of electricity pylons sweeping across the sky, taken in the South of England.
We asked the photographer – what does this picture show of the nexus? ‘Convergence of the flowing river and electricity network, made beautiful by the sunset.’
The judges said ‘This is a beautiful landscape photo illustrating the juxtaposition of nexus elements.’
The relationship between water and energy production is explored in the Nexus Network thinkpiece by Joe Williams, Stefan Bouzarovski and Erik Swyngedouw from the University of Manchester, who say ‘water mixes with just about every form of energy that human society has hitherto harnessed. Water and energy mix to produce cities.’ You can read their paper here Williams Bouzarovski Swyngedouw Politicising the nexus Nexus Thinkpiece 2014 page numbers
This stylish black and white picture was placed third by our judges and provides a thought-provoking connection between the growth of a modern city and the environment on which it depends. The photo was taken by David Gawith from the University of Cambridge who says ‘I had my mind blown by the scale of Shanghai on a recent trip!’
We asked David – what does this picture show of the nexus? ‘The skyline of Shanghai overlooking the river from which it grew.’
The judges said ‘This picture shows Nexus values and is also very visually appealing.’
This theme points to issues which will be discussed in our Urban Nexus workshop in Sussex on 12-13 May 2016. The workshop will look beyond the boundaries of cities at processes of urbanisation to develop an understanding of social, cultural, environmental and economic dynamics of provisioning food, water and energy for and by urban inhabitants.
Thank-you to everyone who took part in the Nexus Network photo competition 2015.