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Personal profile

Research Focus

Dr Hiroki Shin is a social and cultural historian of energy, transport and the environment, focusing on the nineteenth century to the present. He is interested in the historical development of modern energy technology and the impact of energy-intensive societies on culture, everyday life and the natural environment in the Global South and North. Between 2012 and 2015, he was co-investigator of the AHRC-funded Material Cultures of Energy project, an international research project that explored historical changes in energy consumption, infrastructure and energy culture from energy users’ perspectives. He subsequently led the Communicating Material Cultures of Energy project, which was based in the Science Museum, London, and served as an interdisciplinary, cross-sector platform for discussing the public communication of energy issues. The project was supported by diverse organisations, including museums, campaign groups, energy providers and U.K. government offices.


Public history is another strand of Dr Shin’s professional interests. During his career, which cuts across research institutions and the museum sector, he has worked with numerous museums and businesses on exhibitions and public events. He has previously held positions at the Science Museum, London, and the National Railway Museum, York, and he was recently awarded a senior fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution in the United States.


Dr Shin’s current project examines the roles of cultural and heritage institutions in responding to today’s climate crisis as a way of envisaging society’s cultural adaptation to climate change. The project explores energy-related exhibitions and motion films in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, analysing how cultural media has shaped and changed the public’s understanding of energy technology. In this project, Dr Shin is working with a number of museums, science centres and other cultural institutions across the United Kingdom, Europe, America and Asia.


In addition to his work on energy history, Dr Shin has published on the histories of transport marketing, paper currency and lotteries. He is currently working on a monograph about Japan’s energy history entitled From Charcoal to Nuclear: Energy and Modern Japan, 1920–2021.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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