A Place for Oil: Memory of Oil and Place in Museums across the World

What does oil mean to those who live in places where it is produced? How are legacies of oil created and contested? And how will we remember the oil industry in the context of climate change and transitions to renewable energy sources?

Since the beginning of the industrial production of oil in the mid-19th century, oil and modernity have been closely intertwined. Literally and symbolically, oil industry fuelled economic transformations, the spread of cities, and the pursuit of global realities. As oil changed the world, it also transformed many specific places, especially where oil was produced. New towns were built and later abandoned, local communities destroyed and later re-created.

Today, as oil production is becoming increasingly problematized and other sources of energy begin to take its place, the time has come to reflect upon the role of oil and its heritage in these places of production. We are pleased to invite you to our week-long  workshop where we will explore these fundamental questions about the connections between oil, place, and memory.

The workshop brings together museum curators from across the world and leading scholars researching industrial heritage. We will visit the museum sites through virtual tours, explore their collections, and meet in virtual museum cafés to discuss how and why we memorialise oil.

Registration for the event is open now.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the workshop.


About the organiser: Dr Leyla Sayfutdinova is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Centre for Energy Ethics at the University of St Andrews.

Her research project, Turning oil into stone: oil legacies in the narratives of urban continuity and change in Baku, Azerbaijan, examines the collective memory of oil production and its impact on urban identity.



Apr 26 - 30 2021