Published today in Global Environmental Change and available open access here
Can practice theory make a difference to policy? In this article, we contribute to a vexed debate on that question.
We draw on our learning from a series of projects working in collaboration with key policy partners to bring evidence from practice research to inform policy on reducing resource consumption in the home, and development and application of a workshop methodology for rethinking policy challenge, the Change Points approach.
We argue that, with close engagement with policy professionals and their collective practices, it is possible to provide a partial and pragmatic but nevertheless effective translation of key distinctive insights from practice theories and related research, to reframe policy problems and hence to identify spaces for effecting change for sustainability.
Great to see the Change Points toolkit online. Thanks to Claire Hoolohan for all the work developing this, working together with Alison Browne who led the Impact Accelerator project that enabled it. The toolkit has developed from ideas and insights produced in the Nexus at Home projects, and represents collaboration with an impressive range of partners in government, regulation, civil society and industry.
The Change Points Toolkit in online now. It supports users in developing interventions that unlock unsustainable practices so that alternative, less intensive patterns of consumption can emerge. It is not like any existing behaviour change toolkit. Rather than focusing on the individual – ‘the customer’, ‘the user’, ‘the consumer’ – this toolkit aids users to explore possibilities for ambitious, innovative forms of intervention that engage in the social and material fabric of everyday life.
Four Reports are now online, following delivery to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Food Standards Agency; and Waterwise. These were the main deliverables from the Reshaping the Domestic Nexusproject.
Just over the Thames from Parliament, the project was featured at Sustainability in Turbulent Times. This major event, attended by around 350 and featuring a range of high profile speakers, was the culmination of the work of the ESRC funded Nexus Network. In a wide ranging programme, we covered issues around the challenges and opportunities of pursuing change towards sustainability in light of contemporary political and economic changes and what they represent.
The challenges of getting evidence and ideas from research into policy was the focus of a workshop at the Friends Meeting House in London today. Matt Watson presented on some of the basis of the Reshaping the Domestic Nexus project as a contribution to a rich afternoon’s discussion, which went well beyond the usual prescriptions of how to engage policy audiences. The Evidence-Policy Gap was the final event in a series of 9 funded by the ESRC on Behaviour Change, and organised by Fiona Spotswood from the University of West England.
I had a great time at the New Practices for New Publics workshop in Sheffield today. I shared the speaker list with David Evans and with Margit Keller, and was first in neat run of three talks taking different approaches to reflecting on practice theory and its capacity to inform processes of governing to effect positive social change. The three talks were followed by a lively discussion, with the three of us fielding some testing and at time trenchant questioning in productive ways. The workshop was the fourth in an ESRC funded series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.
There’s a video of my presentation here and my slides are available here