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This course is archived
Course date
May 25–June 18, 2021
Application deadline
Course delivery

This course brings together people with their own local stories of the struggles and successes of people and communities transitioning towards a sustainable energy system. Participants in this course will learn the skills to tell stories and multi-media narratives around energy transitions. The instructors will assist participants in using research methods to identify core transition themes and present these through a multi-media lens, such as articles, podcasts, and stories. 
The research scaffolding focuses on four cultural dimensions of an energy shift: a) everyday communities formed around specific energy generations; b) meanings of work, employment, and the corporate cultures related to particular energy generations; c) symbols of distinct energy generations in institutionalized long-lasting political ideologies; and d) notions and arguments regarding justice in energy policies. Those cultural dimensions help to develop sensitivity to the complex relational spatiality of a specific energy generation project, its actors, and related policies.

Online course format

The course is organized around three main units that creatively work with different aspects of energy transitions in the form of lectures, workshops as well as individual and team projects.
Unit 1, May 25: selected applicants begin to develop their case studies before coming to the course. After submitting a short description of a case study of a localized energy transition in the application package, selected participants take part in a preparatory online session to assist with pre-course fieldwork. The starting point of the fieldwork is observation and primary interpretation of how a specific expected or current energy shift is faced by urban actors (in governance, civil society, business, cultural sector, etc.) and how urban actors respond. How are the specific meanings of energy generation instrumentalized in this process? How do relations between institutions change? What kind of spaces in cities and beyond become prioritized or marginalized? Which urban development and planning paradigms are fostered and which are criticized? 

Unit 2, June 7 - 11: Concepts and Methods
Lectures: The focus is to provide participants with a deeper knowledge of energy cultures and assist development of their own case studies to highlight conceptual framings. The first week provides the conceptual frameworks to understand the bigger picture in energy transitions.
Individual consultations and Workshop Teams: Course participants bring their fieldwork material to CEU and develop it into finished case studies – written or audio (podcast), in cooperation and critical dialogue with peer participants. There will also be individualized mentors from the program’s faculty assisting students in developing their own case studies. The team of course tutors and lecturers is guiding this process in the format of lectures, workshops, discussions of readings, examples, and drafts' presentations. The goal is to relate the variety of [ideally conflictual contradictory] arguments about cases of energy transitions from different places and to inform each argument by the wide variety of others. 
Unit 3, June 14 - 18: Case Studies and Development
Lectures: The focus of this week is to provide students with developed case studies on the energy transition. These will serve as examples for their own work. The lectures will include how the research was conducted and decision-making on developing the case studies.
Workshop Teams: Work will be carried over from Unit 2 with further refinement and the finalization of the case study. Skill development will focus on finalizing the medium and narrative storylines. Student work will be presented at the end of the session.


Unit 1: May 25:  13:00 – 15:00 CET: Pre-session thematic module
Unit 2: June 7 – 11: 12:00 – 13:30 CET: Lectures; 14:00 – 15:30 CET: Individual and Group Project consultations
Unit 3: June 14 – 18: 12:00 – 13:30 CET: Lectures; 14:00 – 15:30 CET: Individual and Group Project consultations12:00 – 13:30 CET: Lectures; 14:00 – 15:30 CET: Individual and Group Project consultations
A graduate of this course will be equipped to do case-centered and comparative multiscalar urban studies of energy shifts (with awareness of conceptual apparatuses needed, ability to identify empirical fields and organize fieldwork, ability to make participatory alliances with local development organizations, urban planning, cultural sector, etc.).

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

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  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
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  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
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  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.