Exploring the unique relationship between energy and cultures, Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), in collaboration with Msheireb Museums, will bring together academic and artistic perspectives as it opens a public, two-day conference titled “Global Energy Cultures: How Energy Shapes Our Everyday Lives,” on December 9.

Thought leaders and scholars from the region and across the globe will delve into the social, cultural, and political dimensions of energy production and consumption, emphasizing its integral role in shaping daily life and influencing individual and collective choices. The latest in the Hiwaraat Conference Series events hosted by GU-Q, the forum will also shed light on environmental justice issues, offering a holistic understanding of the human dimensions of energy use that can help inform inclusive policies.

Along with expert-led academic discussions, the art exhibits and film screenings will showcase how artists explore diverse encounters with energy and envision sustainable futures in their creative work.

Highlighting the themes, Zahra Babar, Associate Director of Research at the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at GU-Q, said: “The conference will consider how culture, human behavior, and energy intersect in shaping a livable and sustainable future. By acknowledging energy systems as both products of and conditions for human cultures, our discussions will serve to inspire innovative policy solutions that effectively address energy challenges and resonate with the lived experiences of diverse populations.”

The keynote address will feature insights by GU-Q Artist-in-Residence, Victor Ehikhamenor, a prolific Nigerian-American multimedia artist, photographer, and writer. Ehikhamenor is widely-     recognized for his signature abstract, symbolic, political, and historically-     motivated works.

The two-day program will feature an exhibition of I Can Only See Shadows, a collaborative work by the American artist team of David Reuter and Marissa Benedict. The work was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Columbia College, Chicago) for the exhibition Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy.

Diverse perspectives, which have notably enriched Hiwaraat events since the series was launched as an inclusive discussion platform, will also be prominent at this conference, with sessions such as “Youth Voices for Sustainable Futures” and discussions with filmmakers from Jordan and India, as well as Qatar-based independent filmmaker, Suzi Mirgani, Assistant Director for Publications, CIRS, GU-Q.

Thoughtful discussion topics will include “Energy and Democracy” featuring Dr. Victor Seow, Associate Professor of the History of Science, at Harvard University. A historian of technology, science, and industry, Dr. Seow specializes in modern industrial societies including China and Japan. Dr. Anto Mohsin, Assistant Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar and author of the forthcoming book, Electrifying Indonesia: Technology and Social Justice in National Development, will chair a session titled “Resilience and Maintenance”.

For the full program and registration details, please visit the conference website at https://cirs.qatar.georgetown.edu/energy/.


Global Energy Cultures Forum December 9-10, 2023:

The Global Energy Cultures forum goes beyond the conventional confines of science and technology, delving into the nuanced exploration of energy through the lenses of humanities and social sciences. Energy is not just about geopolitics, economics, or even science. Energy is part of our identities. It helps us know and make sense of the world. It is part of the relationships that hold us together and the conflicts that drive us apart. By adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the forum illuminates the intricate relationships between energy and the fabric of society, delving into the narratives, values, and ethical considerations that underpin our everyday interactions with energy. The academic panel discussions together with our collection of artworks, musical compositions, films, and art practices center the cultural lives of energy, inviting us to see and think in new ways about our energy pasts, presents, and futures.

About Hiwaraat

The Hiwaraat Conference Series at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) brings together scholars, experts, and the public for an exploration of shared global challenges in order to create a better future through dialogue and discussion. Each conference in the series offers an inclusive space that encourages community engagement, knowledge creation, and the search for innovative solutions to present and future challenges.


About Georgetown University in Qatar

Established in 1789 in Washington, DC, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), founded in 2005 in partnership with Qatar Foundation,      builds upon the world-class reputation of the university through education, research, and service. Inspired by the university’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding, GU-Q aims to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humanity.