Tilly and the Myth of Energy Independence

Gaver, William; Ovalle, Liliana and Plummer-Fernandez, Matthew. 2016. 'Tilly and the Myth of Energy Independence'. In: DEMAND Conference 2016. Lancaster University, United Kingdom 13-15 April 2016. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

In this note, we tell the story of how we developed our understanding of the ways energy supply and demand are entangled in geography and infrastructure on the Isle of Tiree in Scotland. This was an understanding we developed through a series of design encounters on the island, in which we used ‘research through design’ (Gaver, 2012; Zimmerman et al., 2007; Frayling, 1993) methods, first to engage with the island and its inhabitants, and later to work through imaginary future interventions on the island as a way of exploring what we had learned and the issues we had uncovered.
Because our methodology is oriented towards the development of new design propositions, and works through a process of emergence and discovery rather than investigation of a priori hypotheses or research questions (see Gaver 2014), this presentation will take the form of a narrative rather than a traditional research report. While we finish with a discussion of the issues we believe our work surfaced, most of this account will involve retelling the events that led to our current understandings, and because most of these events involved visual design materials, a large proportion of this account will be visual as well.
This leads us to two further caveats: First, because this was a relatively short and minimally funded project, our design work is ‘unfinished’ in the sense that it did not lead to realised systems that could be tested in the field, but instead ends with the conjectural proposals we produced. Second, we do not discuss all aspects of the project, omitting, for instance, our partners’ work (e.g. Sim et al., 2015) and also details of our own Probe study, but instead focus on a few key moments in the process of discovering the island and constructing exploratory design proposals.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Design > Interaction Research Studio


13 April 2016Published

Event Location:

Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Date range:

13-15 April 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Feb 2017 10:13

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:24



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