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Accepted Paper:

“I love this”: experimenting with second-hand furniture in a university living lab  
Ruth Woods (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)) Hanne Marit Henriksen (NTNU) Thomas Edward Sutcliffe Thomas Berker (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Paper short abstract:

A campus living lab is testing sustainable solutions to reduce carbon emissions to zero, but it is unclear if the circular economy is part of the agenda and university policies. Circular experiments found that reuse in the context of living labs can promote joy and encourage practices of care.

Paper long abstract:

Living labs often have technical or civic motivations and in larger research projects and centres they are used to support innovation processes. The university in Trondheim has defined its Gløshaugen campus as a living lab where sustainable solutions are being tested to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2060. As part of increasing enthusiasm for the concept of circular economy and reuse, university management services have developed a digital reuse platform for furniture and other equipment. It is however unclear in what way the circular economy is part of a zero-emission agenda and what its position is in university policies. Moreover, there is an open question of whether employees and students are willing to accept a significant increase in reuse, recycling, or the postponement of investments in new equipment. To answer these questions, in collaboration with management services, we initiated two living-lab experiments, in the form of a Christmas calendar and three temporary recycling zones. There we investigated whether existing circular practices could play a larger role on campus and if there is room for new ones. We found that reuse in the context of living labs can promote joy and encourage practices of care (Arora 2020). The experiments broke down the dominant homogeneity of university fixtures and fittings, causing a seemingly profound enthusiasm for previously unwanted objects and offered opportunities for new caring relationships. The paper considers the value and meaning-making associated with the circular economy concept in relation to the reuse of furniture and other university equipment.

Panel P146a
Experimental transformations - Living labs as hopeful commons [FAN]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -