Repair in a broken world: Decarbonising energy infrastructure

A photograph of electrical powerlines.

Japanese Room, Level 4,
Faculty of Architecture, Building, and Planning
Glyn Davis Building


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  • Research seminar

Modern infrastructures of energy have played a major role in unsustainable rates of resource extraction, energy consumption, climate change, and planetary transformations, with impacts at every scale. It is in their re‐forming and re‐making that we seek to imagine and produce different relations of distribution and circulation and transform social relations. In this seminar we ask what kinds of infrastructure can and ought to emerge from the everyday ruins and rubble wrought by infrastructure today. We go back to first principles and explore the full potential of what energy infrastructures are: seeing infrastructure as both material things but also the relationship between things (Larkin, 2013). We turn our attention to epistemic infrastructures - the knowledge systems and frameworks that shape our understanding of energy; the physical energy systems both centralised and decentralised and the connecting grid; the political infrastructures including resource management, regulation and activism; and the social infrastructures that underpin all of these aspects. We explore the kinds of labour involved in reworking existing energy infrastructures, and the spaces that this occurs, from large scale transmission lines to the rewiring and retrofitting of low-income rental properties. We put questions of equity and justice at the centre of this infrastructural moment to understand the realities of repair work for a decarbonised and just future.


  • Dr Lucy Benjamin, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Hélène Frichot, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Rebecca Pearse, Australian National University
  • Dr Sangeetha Chandra-Shekeran, University of Melbourne