Drawing Energy: What Does Energy Look Like?

Drawing Energy at the V&A
Photo courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum

Drawing Energy describes a drawing-based research project (2013-15) undertaken by Flora Bowden and myself, at the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and SustainRCA, and through events at the V&A and Derby Silk Mill. The project explored people’s perceptions and understanding of ‘energy’, by asking them to draw or illustrate their thoughts and reactions to the question ‘What does energy look like?’. The project was funded by INTERREG IVB as part of the SusLabNWE programme.

Over 180 members of the public took part in the process, revealing a huge variety of mental imagery with some interesting themes emerging, and insights of value to anyone seeking to design, communicate or research around human experience of energy in everyday life. The project has been highlighted by the UK Energy Research Centre in a recent news bulletin. Themes from this project have informed some of the approaches taken by the Imaginaries Lab at Carnegie Mellon.

The book, drawings and discussion have a dedicated website