"Place, Environment and Gender on Norwegian Oil Platforms, 1969-1980" by Jay Richardson

Wednesday 17 April 2024 14:15-15:30,
Hulda Garborgs hus,
HG N-106.

Greenhouse Research Talk Series

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An oil platform in the North sea. A ship is beside it and the sky looks dark and ominous

Between the discovery of commercially viable oil reserves at the Ekofisk field in late 1969 and the Alexander L. Kielland’s capsizing in March 1980, the Norwegian sector of the North Sea underwent several transformations as a political and environmental space. This talk will identify and contextualise the concerns of Norwegian North Sea oil workers during the sector’s first decade of commercial oil production and ask in what ways we might think of such preoccupations as forms of environmental thought.

I aim to contribute to the growing study of twentieth-century petrocultures by foregrounding production spaces. The talk will focus on the intersections between environmental politics and workers’ constructions of gender, time, nationality, peripherality, bodily harm, and oceanic space. I will try to draw a ‘view from the rig’, informed by non-traditional sources including internal corporate publications, technical manuals, safety announcements, and oral history, following John Randolph’s call to “bring, more fully, the production of space into intellectual historical scholarship”.

Jay Richardson (they/them) a British-Canadian MPhil student in history at the University of Cambridge. They are a former composer and field recordist, and latterly an environmental journalist covering sound, surveillance, and the Norwegian mining industry.