Image credit: Léna Ferrié

The ASCET (Aesthetic and Social Constructions of Energy Transition) Project examines the representation of climate emergency and energy transition in arts, literature, and media, exploring the interactions between word and image, the political and cultural aims underlying different representations, and the potential legitimization of renewable energy. How do hydropower plants and wind farms alter and inform our perceptions of coastal and marine space? How are artists, writers, energy companies and governments reconfiguring their representational practices in an era of energy transition, one that engenders a markedly different temporal and cultural construction of the space we live in? In particular, ASCET aims to:

  • promote an aesthetic transition that would facilitate energy transition at the local, national, and international levels
  • theorise aestheticized perceptions that can collapse the Manichean dichotomization of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ technologies, progress and stagnation, technophobia and techno-utopianism
  • design and disseminate educational resources and open science materials
Meet the
Project Team

The University of Western Brittany (Université de Bretagne-Occidentale; UBO) is a multicampus university, with the main site in Brest and satellite campuses in Quimper and Morlaix. There are three principal areas of research at UBO : Humanities and Social Sciences, Maths and ICT, and Marine Sciences. UBO is home to 37 research units, including HCTI (Héritage et Création dans le Texte et l’Image) which supports the project.

Global challenges demand new insight, innovative solutions and local legitimacy. Nord University is a young university with strong regional ties and a global perspective. We are committed to delivering relevant educational programmes and research, with a focus on blue and green growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, and welfare, health & education. Nord University has 11,000 students and 1,300 employees at nine study locations in central and northern Norway.

The University of Gdańsk (Uniwersytet Gdański) is located on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. One of the most modern academic centres in Poland, its campuses are situated in Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia. Owing to its academic character, the University of Gdańsk implements a host of diverse scientific research, representing the Humanities, Economic Sciences as well as the Social, Exact and Natural Sciences. It ranks high in the field of innovation and has received funds to implement projects as part of EU Horizon 2020.

SEA-EU is an Alliance of 9 European Coastal Universities (Cadiz, Bretagne Occidentale, Kiel, Gdańsk, Split, Malta, Naples, Algarve and NORD) dedicated to the creation of a European Coastal Campus where all students and staff can experience Europe through a rich and varied offer of activities and cooperation. Since its inception in 2019, SEA-EU has worked to co-create, together with more than 75 stakeholders, the future of European Higher Education.

Recent Event:

The ASCET Project hosted their inaugural webinar on 22 January 2024. Over 100 participants joined from across 15 countries. The webinar featured a keynote — “Learning to Live in 3D: Decarbonization, decoupling and degrowth” — from Dominic BOYER (Rice University, USA) and a Roundtable — “Forgetting fossils, figuring futures” — with Lucie de CARVALHO (University of Lille, France),  Katja LINDSKOG (Yale University, USA), Graeme MACDONALD (University of Warwick, UK), Katie RITSON (Rachel Carson Center, Germany). Missed it? You can watch the keynote video here.

Stay tuned for more news and events from ASCET. 

Camille Manfredi
University of Western Brittany, Brest, France

Camille Manfredi is Professor of Scottish Literature and Environmental Studies at UBO, Brest. Camille’s most recent publications include the monograph Nature and Space in Contemporary Scottish Writing and Art(Springer, 2019), the thematic issue of E-Rea “Understanding, Acknowledging, Representing Environmental Emergency” with Sylvie Nail (2021), and the chapter “‘Our Oil’”: Our Waves? Environment, Energy Transition, and Art in Twenty-First-Century Scotland”, in British Art and the Environment: Changes, Challenges and Responses Since the Industrial Revolution, eds. Charlotte Gould and Sophie Mesplède, Routledge, 2021.

She is the director of the research centre HCTI, Héritage et Création dans le Texte et l’Image.

Monika Szuba
University of Gdańsk, Poland

Monika Szuba is a researcher and translator, associate professor at the Institute of English and American Studies, the University of Gdańsk. She is a member of the Between.Pomiędzy Research Group (BPRG). Her research is concerned with modern and contemporary literature informed by environmental humanities, with particular interest in phenomenology. She has co-edited Literary Invention and the Cartographic Imagination: Early Modern to Late Modern (Brill, 2022), The Poetics of Space and Place in Scottish Literature (Palgrave, 2019) and Reading Victorian Literature: Essays in Honour of J. Hillis Miller (Edinburgh University Press, 2019), and edited Boundless Scotland: Space in Scottish Fiction (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego, 2015). She is the author of two monographs, Contemporary Scottish Poetry and the Natural World: Burnside, Jamie, Robertson and White (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and Landscape Poetics: Scottish Textual Practice, 1928-Present (Edinburgh University Press 2023). She is also presently a Landhaus Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich (2023-4).

Andrew McKendry
Nord University, Bodø, Norway

Andrew McKendry is Associate Professor of English Literature and Leader of the Humanities, Education & Culture Research Group at Nord University, Norway. He earned his PhD from Queen’s University and held postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and McMaster University. He is author of Disavowing Disability: Richard Baxter and the Conditions of Salvation (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and he has published research on several seventeenth- and eighteenth-century authors, among them John Bunyan, John Milton, Daniel Defoe, Mary Wollstonecraft, Samuel Johnson, and Lord Byron. His research focuses on the conceptual history of justice, and in this capacity at Nord he teaches “Literature and Environmental Catastrophe,” a course focused on the ethical and aesthetic questions raised by environmental catastrophe, from the Great Storm of 1703 to Hurricane Katrina to the slow violence of climate change.

Gwenthalyn Engélibert
University of Western Brittany, Brest, France

Gwenthalyn Engélibert is Associate Professor of North-American Studies at UBO, Brest and a member of the research center HCTI, Héritage et Création dans le Texte et l’Image, and of the Institut des Amériques, a research group of Latin and North American studies in France. She earned a PhD on Richard Matheson’s short stories (1950-1971). Her research focuses on the representations of nuclear catastrophes in Cold War fiction, especially through the concepts of time, countdowns and the notion of ‘event’ (Romano). She is also interested in fictionalized futures and depictions of enhanced workers through mechanization and robotic evolutions. Her latest papers and talks were concerned with representing space and time in screen culture, the becoming of humans and their environments, and biopower in screen culture.

Léna Ferrié
University of Western Brittany, Brest, France

Léna Ferrié is a PhD Candidate at the University of Western Brittany, working under the supervision of Pr. Camille Manfredi. Her current research focuses on the aesthetics of energy transition through photographic representations of British and American petrocultural landscapes. These include the depiction of fossil energy and extractive infrastructures (quarries, mines, oil rigs, power plants, pipelines, nuclear test zones) as well as contaminated landscapes resulting from these activities (evaporation ponds, environmental catastrophes, oil spills). Léna also looks at post-petrocultural landscapes with the question of waste, residue, ruins, and the decommissioning of such fossil resource structures, along with the depiction of renewable energies (inshore and offshore wind farms, solar power, tidal or wave energy). She aims to study the processes of aestheticisation at stake in the photos and to investigate the possible connections between the energy transition and a landscape aesthetic transition. 

Her previous research includes the following dissertations: “Richard Misrach’s Landscape Photography : (Re)Framing the American Disaster” (2021) dumas-03329550 and “Écrire et investir l’urgence dans la photographie de paysage : ‘Graphically ravaged environments’, ou paysages de la trace” (2022) dumas-03844233.