My role at Community Energy Scotland is to support community innovation projects underway in Orkney, especially the ReFLEX project. As part of this, I’m working with my CES colleagues to install energy monitors into community members’ homes that will produce data that can help ReFLEX to achieve its aims of prototyping an integrated, affordable, low-carbon energy system for the future.
I grew up between the island of Hoy and the mainland of Orkney; giving me a deep interest in how communities solve problems. I left Orkney to study a Product Design degree, with my particular focus being environmentally sustainable design and design methods that can empower communities. In my final year, I created a kit in which participants built miniature energy generators from scrap materials to demonstrate and document the power of location-specific problem solving.
In the years between leaving university and beginning at CES, I worked in foresight and futures design. I contributed to cultural works exploring and tackling the big issues of today: global heating and environmental degradation; the application of new technologies and the intersection of this with social issues and rising inequality.
While living away from Orkney, I never lost my passion for community work. I sat on the board for a charity in Dundee; taught at a Glasgow makerspace; ran a program of community workshops for V&A Dundee and ran DIY solar panel building with energy literacy workshops for charity Demand Energy Equality in London. My growing interest in local energy issues then brought me back to Orkney and to Community Energy Scotland.
Growing up on an island means I will always attribute a deep importance to supporting local communities in themselves addressing and solving the problems on their doorstep. I believe this way of working leads to the most efficient, nuanced and resilient outcomes.
I spend my spare time between my home craft studio and the sea. If the weather is nice, you’ll find me sailing, kayaking, swimming or learning to surf; and the rest (or most?) of the time I’ll be indoors making anything from flotsam jewellery to DIY electronics.
Fun fact about me: I worked as a spotlight operator lighting up the Queen during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow 2014—despite having no experience in theatre lighting whatsoever!
Phone no: 07795 801814