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‘Telling tales’: Communicating UK energy research through fairy tale characters

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number103100
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Energy Research and Social Science
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date23/05/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Storytelling is gaining traction in the field of energy and social science research. It supports collective agenda setting, embraces complexity, and represents one way to tackle the ‘wicked problems’ of climate change. It is particularly important given the commonly opaque nature of social science outputs, and the urgency in which responses to climate change are now required. Responding to these challenges and recognising the value of storytelling, we present three ‘telling tales’ in this paper. Each takes inspiration from a well-known fairy tale character (i.e., mermaids, vampires, and witches) to translate energy and social science research in the empirical contexts of electricity generation, sustainable travel, and plastic pollution in the UK. We draw on these fairy tale characters as a part of arguing that UK policy reflects a fixation with renewables, excessive caution concerning car ownership and use, and a reductive approach to plastics. In response, we consider some alternative approaches, each aimed at delivering transformational adaptation, premised on demand reduction. We aim, more broadly, to inspire others to tell their own convincing tales to communicate research findings beyond academic circles and to help bring about change.