This blog, written by Associate Martin Hurst, first appeared in Green Alliance in October 2023

The first toilets in the UK were on Orkney, dating to 3000BC. Though the Romans and Henry VIII had a go, the subsequent history of our sewage treatment isn’t a happy one. As recently as 1850 people were catching cholera from water contaminated with human waste.

The word engagement is increasingly bandied around by companies. But what does this mean in practice? As we shift to clean energy, it is vital that this process is fair. This is why Sustainability First has been working with National Grid on their Fair Transition project, engaging with and listening to stakeholders and citizens in a series of workshops. 

Multi-disciplinary artist Isabella Martin raises questions about the fundamental role of movement and time, in her final days of her North Sea residency, and asks what it means when an entire town appears to be in flux

As the North Sea residency comes to a close, Alison Cooke shares some of her thoughts on the challenge of making work with unpredictable material from a rapidly changing coastline, and the process of engaging communities through art.

Over the last two years regulator Ofgem has been working with the electricity distribution networks and wider stakeholders to set the price control for the next 5 years (known as RIIO ED2). In its Review of Economic Regulation, the government is proposing to make water appeals more like those in energy. But we think the energy arrangements are flawed too. 

Isabella Martin is an artist who explores the friction between us and our environment and the ways we both shape and are shaped by our surroundings. She shares her experience of her North Sea Residency in Norfolk.

There are around 3 million households in Great Britain who effectively face a lottery in the current energy market, in terms of price and service. These customers, who are on Economy 7 or similar electricity tariffs, represent around 10% of all households, and are not getting the price protection they deserve.

Alison Cooke is an artist who digs deep to tell stories about the land. Here she shares her experience of her North Sea residency and working with local communities. 

“I’m a ceramic artist who works with clay unearthed from sites of historic or geological interest. I’m interested in where the materials I work with come from, the layers of history below a location and where those histories overlap or impact our lives today."