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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Declan Murray

Declan Murray
Declan Murray
International Development School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Electricity, Rubbish, Trash, Mapping, Visualisation, Solar, Energy, Waste, Power, Design, Repair, Photovoltaics, E-waste, Maintenance

PhD Title

Solar waste? An ethnography of repair in Kenya's photovoltaic economy

My research uses the case of solar to explore how Kenya's repair culture and economy is being altered by the introduction of new business models.  I suggest that although sites of repair differ in terms of appearance and process there are elements of the repairwork itself that are constant regardless of institutional context.  By focusing on fixing and tinkering we can also critically examine technical interventions and the use of technology in development.

Visit my blog, Solar and Other Stories, to read some updates, see some pictures and have your input on my research.

I am being supervised by Dr Jamie Cross and Dr Jamie Furniss.

If you would like a copy of any of the publications, papers, or lectures listed below just send me an email :)


The soldering iron in 'Our Lives With Electric Things'; a special collection for Cultural Anthropology (forthcoming)

Lights out for Dandora (Dark Mountain: Issue 8 - Autumn 2015)

Conference papers

'Items beyond repair': The disposal of solar products in Kenya (Putting Dirt In Its Place, University of Cambridge) - 3rd June 2017

Climbing the energy escalator: The off-grid solar future in Kenya (BIEA PhD Conference, British Institute in Eastern Africa) - 29th October 2016

Dubai's solar markets and what they mean for waste (Social Research on Off-Grid Solar, University College London) - 9th December 2015

Wasteways: Thoughts from a pilot survey in Kenya (4th Off-Grid Lighting Conference, Dubai World Trade Centre) - 28th October 2015

Solar waste: The user's perspective (Solar Waste Conference, Strathmore University) - 20th July 2015

Solar states: Renewable energy and shifting political topographies in sub-Saharan Africa (CAS Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh) - 28th May 2015

There is a light and it does go out: Following broken solar products in Kenya's photovoltaic economy. (Researching Africa Day, University of Oxford) - 7th March 2015



Geography of Envrionmental Change and Landscapes (MSc) - Université de Toulouse II

Research Design and Practice (MSc) - University of Edinburgh


Social Development (Undergraduate: 3rd and 4th year) - University of Edinburgh


Finalist, St Gallen Wings of Excellence Award 2017

College Finalist, Three Minute Thesis Competition 2017