Recap Research Studio Energy Transition

April 4, 2024

Exploring Lusatia’s Energy Transition: A Reflective Journey towards Sustainable Futures


In a remarkable endeavor to delve into Lusatia’s profound energy transition, more than 20 international participants embarked on a reflective journey. The research studio „Extractive Pasts Sustainable Futures“ was organized and led by Prof. Orit Halpern, Interdisciplinary Navigator Michaela Büsse, Johanna Mehl (all Chair of Digital Cultures) and Kristiane Fehrs (Department of Sociology). This immersive exploration, spanning diverse academic disciplines, unfolded against the backdrop of Lusatia’s rich industrial history and its evolving shift towards sustainable pathways. 

Guided by a cadre of experts, scholars, and artists, the participants traversed through the heart of Lusatia’s industrial heritage, bearing witness to the transformative impact of renewable energy exemplified by the Energiefabrik Knappenrode. However, the expedition did not shy away from confronting the remnants of active mining sites at Welzow-Süd, underscoring the region’s historical reliance on coal extraction (lignite). 

Beyond mere technological transitions, the journey delved into the multifaceted dimensions of Lusatia’s energy transition, embracing cultural, ecological, and political nuances. Issues of inclusivity and fairness loomed large, as participants critically questioned the stakeholders shaping energy narratives and highlighted potential marginalized voices in the transition process. 

Amidst the exploration, the group immersed themselves in Lusatia’s natural splendor, embarking on invigorating hikes around Cottbuser Ostsee, while delving deep into the rich tapestry of Sorbian history and culture through film and art. 

The culmination of this transformative week came in the form of the „Energy Transition Inventory“ – a comprehensive resource encapsulating insights, conceptual frameworks, and visual representations of Lusatia’s transition journey. This inventory received widespread acclaim upon its presentation at the newly established STS conference „Leakage“ at TU Dresden, garnering recognition from both scholarly circles and practitioners alike. 

Reflecting on the journey, the participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contemplate Lusatia’s sustainable future, elucidating the inherent challenges and boundless opportunities entwined within the energy transition. Through collective endeavors, the group remains steadfast in their commitment to shaping a future where sustainability transcends rhetoric, becoming an enduring reality. 

In the spirit of collective action, the participants extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this transformative journey, fostering a collective vision for a greener, more sustainable world. As the journey concludes, the resolve to continue shaping a future where sustainability is not just a goal, but an indispensable reality, remains unwavering. 


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