Monika da Silva Pedroso (NexSys Postdoctoral researcher) and Orla Dingley (NexSys PhD student) attended the European Network for Social Policy Analysis (EspaNet) conference in Warsaw, Poland, from 7 to 9 September. While there, they presented a work-in-progress project that Monika is leading, which is investigating if energy poverty has an impact on educational and cognitive outcomes. Their research is part of a NexSys Work Package entitled ‘Energy Justice: addressing transport & residential energy deprivation’. A key component of their project is to identify and evaluate eco-social policies which address both the environmental and social challenges associated with energy and a just transition.
Monika and Orla write about their experience below.
Neither of us had been to an EspaNet conference before, so we were excited to learn about the social policy research being carried out across Europe, but we had also never been to Poland before so were determined to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing too.
The conference was held at the University of Warsaw, which was only a 15-minute walk from our hotel. Since the weather was so beautiful, we walked everywhere.
There were a few other researchers and lecturers from the UCD Department of Social Policy presenting at the conference – seeing some familiar faces before presenting our work helped to ease our nerves.
The work we were presenting is an investigation into the implications of energy poverty on educational achievement. Our presentation led to a lively discussion on the conceptual differences between poverty-in-general and energy poverty. It was fascinating to meet researchers from other countries who were studying similar topics to ourselves but were looking at it from a different perspective.
Chopin and Copernicus are both from Poland, so Warsaw is filled with references to both famous figures. We managed to visit the Copernicus Science Centre on Friday evening, before heading to a conference dinner at the Gardens of the Royal Castle. Although we didn’t get a chance to visit the Chopin Museum, walking around the city we were often treated by the sound of Chopin being played by various street musicians.
We both loved our time in Warsaw, learning about the city and important aspects of Polish culture, as well as hearing many interesting and helpful comments on our research from fellow social policy researchers.
It was also great to have been able to experience it with a fellow member of the NexSys team!