skip to content

Department of Social Anthropology


Professor Hannah Knox (UCL)

Commoning Data: Informational politics in the Energy Crisis

In this talk I will draw on recent research with two projects that have been pursuing energy activism through data practices, to reflect on the role that informational mediations of energy relations come to play in the enactment of politics. Drawing on two projects in London and Oldham, which have sought to use energy data as the necessary grounds for intervention in times of energy and environmental crises, I follow the work that such data does, the relations it sets in play, and the aporias and agonisms it provokes. In following these projects, I show how data both plays with and cuts through competing conceptualisations of the ‘social collective’, manifest variously in ideas about communitycoordination, and collaboration. Moreover, as data is mobilised to posit utopian collective futures, it also makes visible the cuts and disconnections of existing social life that is revealed to be more fractured, atomised and contentious than utopian data imaginaries might hope. In conclusion, what is revealed to be at stake in ‘commoning data’ is less a politics of representation, and more a question of how data materialises relational possibilities and with what commitments and effects.


Lecture theatre A, Arts School is located here:,0.119533,17 

Friday, 27 January, 2023 - 16:15 to 18:00
Event location: 
Lecture Theatre A, Arts School