ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
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REPAIR: Research on Energy through PArticipatory Insights from community Representatives

REPAIR: Research on Energy through PArticipatory Insights from community Representatives.

Engage with racialised community members to co-produce insights into their energy experiences in an area of multiple deprivation in East Oxford, England.

Project Team

Uttara Narayan
Researcher in Energy Demand and Racial Justice Energy
Environmental Change Institute
University of Oxford

Dr Sarah Higginson
Energy Researcher
Environmental Change Institute
University of Oxford

The Project

REPAIR employs Critical Race Theory to explore the structural nature of racialisation in relation to the energy system.
Focusing on a racially minoritized community in Oxford, we want to better understand their energy needs in the broader context of net zero, fuel poverty and energy justice. We will contribute empirical evidence to energy justice concepts and employ participatory, deliberative research methods, aiming to uncover the lived experiences of our participants.

Our project initiates a planned program of racially just energy research, partnering with racialized, minoritized community members to engage with systemic stakeholders to better meet their energy needs.


Our research is informed by participatory appraisal. We will collect data via two workshops involving ten racialised members of the community.

  • The first, trust-building workshop will co-develop an artefact representing people’s experiences of racialisation, which will be left in a community space so that others can add to it.
  • The second will use phone recordings to capture people’s stories of racialisation in relation to their use of energy.
  • Both will inform a written output, to be published in The Conversation.

We hope to continue and deepen work with this group if other, pending proposals are funded.

Guiding Principles

Environmental Sustainability
Our focus is on energy demand/ how energy is used. Specifically, we will provide evidence of the barriers and disadvantages experienced by racialised people in relation to their energy needs, which will inform the energy justice research agenda.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
REPAIR incorporates EDI in its research subject as well as its ways of working. Focusing specifically on racialised communities is a gap in current energy poverty and energy demand research. We will start to provide systematic evidence to address this gap.

  • We are conscious that the conversations we have with participants may be triggering, that participants may carry intersecting burdens, and that there may be power imbalances among participants and stakeholders. To address this, we will work with Oxford Community Action, who already has the trust of people in the community, and will work at the speed and level that is comfortable for participants.
  • We have significant experience of running inclusive processes and will ensure that mutual safeguarding is in place.
  • We will also use our Venue selection checklist which will help us make sure participants’ needs are met, the timing is suitable for caregivers, and the venue itself conducive to running inclusive events for a diverse range of people.
  • Furthermore, we will contribute towards the costs of participants’ time, and pay for the community venue and catering, thereby contributing to the community.

Knowledge Co-production
Accelerated by the networks created by the CREDS Racial Justice work, the Fuel Poverty & Diversity stakeholder group and Oxford Community Action’s knowledge holders, this project will co-produce insights that will result in written outputs (a blog and project report) and dissemination outputs (a multi-media presentation and a webinar to promote our findings and approach). As knowledge exchange experts, the team will ensure that the whole process is one of mutual learning which values different kinds of knowledge.


Energising Equity Webinar 

On 25 March 2024, Uttara and Sarah shared their findings from their ACCESS Flex Fund Project REPAIR. The webinar also includes thoughts and reflections from their partner Oxford Community Action and from the PRIME project. Hosted by the Fuel Poverty Research Network

Equalising Energy Blog for the Fuel Poverty Research Network

“In an era of unprecedented transformation in the energy sector it is vital that we address the intricate intersection of fuel poverty eradication and racial justice. While there is extensive research on fuel poverty in the UK and much discussion on energy justice, a profound gap remains in our understanding of how racialized disadvantages intertwine with fuel poverty.” Read more

Emptying pockets and finding a few pence


Click here to view the poster PDF

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