Terry Macalister served as the Guardian’s Chief Energy Correspondent for many years. In collaboration with James Marriot of Platform, Terry Macalister is the author of Crude Britannia: How Oil Shaped a Nation. Taking the reader on a journey from North East Scotland, Merseyside and South Wales to the Thames Estuary and London, this is the story of Britain's oil-drenched past, present and future; of a black gold empire built on financial power, political meddling and environmental destruction.
For decades, BP and Shell extracted the minerals, finance and skills of the UK. Working behind the scenes, Big Oil profoundly influenced the country's culture. Then, at the start of the 21st century, the tide seemed to go out - Britain's refineries were quietly closed; the North Sea oilfields declined. Now, while the country goes through the seismic upheavals of Brexit and the climate emergency, many believe the age of oil to be over. But is it?
This seminar explores the circumstances of this book, which involved engagement with oil company executives and traders, as well as refinery workers, filmmakers and musicians, activists and politicians. It looks at how to construct an environmental narrative out of investigative source material and present a compelling story with the lived experience of people at its heart.