Theme 1: Identity and Place

Transition in West Cumbria

This project carries out place-based research in West Cumbria, an area whose history and identity has been shaped by the presence of different energy infrastructures. In the past there was a thriving coal economy, and in the present the nuclear industry acts as a monolithic employer that dominates the local labour market.

The research focuses on how these energy economies shape local outlooks and people’s desires for the future. Following an initial literature review and preliminary fieldwork, a hypothesis has been developed which suggests that there is a dominant small ‘c’ conservative outlook which appears to constrain opportunities to think about alternative net zero futures. The project will map out the contours of existing ‘imaginaries’ and explore the role of creative, deliberative methods to open new ways the future might be thought of.

The project is a joint venture between Lancaster Environment Centre and climate charity CAfS (Cumbria Action for Sustainability). For more information please contact Pancho Lewis on

Photo credit: Shared Futures