The Ladislav Holy Memorial Trust has announced Centre Researcher Sarah O’Brien as joint-winner of this year’s David Riches Medal for Postgraduate Research.

The David Riches Medal for Postgraduate Research is awarded on a competitive basis each year to one postgraduate post-fieldwork student in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Applicants are asked to submit an article length piece of work (8,000-10,000 words) based on a chapter from their thesis.

“I am thrilled to be a joint winner of the David Riches Medal for Postgraduate Research.” Sarah said,I love the curiosity and excitement which the anthropological lens has to offer when reflecting on our world. It thus feels great to have my work recognised in this way; and to share the prize with Mark whose work I have always thoroughly enjoyed! My warmest thanks go out to all my colleagues at the Centre for Energy Ethics for their infallible support and constructive feedback on my work – in particular to Mette and Sean for reading several versions of the piece I submitted.”

Sarah’s doctoral project focused on the local realities of an energy transition in the UK in the context of climate change. More particularly, she has explored the knowledge put forward by grassroots campaigners concerned with the impact of fossil fuel infrastructures. She has conducted thirteen months of ethnographic research with a community in Lancashire, resisting unconventional gas extraction in the form of a hydraulic fracturing project (a process also known as ‘fracking’).