After Oil: Explorations and Experiments in the Future of Energy, Culture and Society

International academic and public research project that examines the social and cultural implications of oil and energy on individuals, communities, and societies, and the challenges of global transition from oil to other kinds of fuel.

Over the past 150 years, the physical and sociocultural coordinates of global life have developed around a cheap, readily available, and powerful source of energy: oil. Yet this resource is not unlimited, and climate scientists now insist that its ongoing, unchecked use will guarantee ecological catastrophe. Hence the pressing need for contemporary societies to find and embrace new forms of energy, and to imagine and produce the sociocultural practices they require. “After Oil” will advance such urgent work by rigorously examining the connections between energy, society, and culture, and by reckoning, critically and creatively, through research and research-creation projects, the challenges of global transition from oil to other kinds of fuel.

“After Oil” is a large, international academic and public research project based at the U of A, and operating under the rubric of the Petrocultures Research Group (PRG). Formed in 2011, Petrocultures was the first research group in Canada and one of the first in the world to initiate interdisciplinary research on energy across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. “After Oil” has emerged from the many successes of the PRG, and the KIAS funds will further the development of “After Oil” as the PRG’s flagship project by cementing its foundations at the University of Alberta, increasing its local base of support, building its national and international profile, forging stronger and even more productive ties between “After Oil” co-applicants and partners, and establishing new and lasting relationships with the project’s intended audiences and stakeholder publics.