Mataroa seminarThe Energy Collaboratory facilitates knowledge-sharing to discover the true cost of energy extraction and production, in order to advance transparency in governance and a just transition to a post-carbon economy.

About the Energy Collaboratory

Energy ProductionThe  Energy Collaboratory  seeks to develop a data platform, toolkit, and community of practice.  It provides on-line and face-to-face opportunities for dialogue and deliberation on the economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of energy extraction and production.

The Energy Collaboratory is the inaugural project of the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN). Founded in July 2015, LiKEN is a link-tank for connecting, mentoring, and empowering citizens, policy makers, scholars, and scientists seeking to establish sustainable post-carbon livelihoods and communities. Our goal is to integrate key data on extractive industries and community well-being into user-friendly interfaces so that frontline communities can imagine, and debate, diverse scenarios for sustainable development, poverty alleviation, and livelihood creation. 

Our core partners for the Energy Collaboratory are the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, First People’s Worldwide, and Appalachian Studies, Virginia Tech.

The Bay & Paul Foundation provided initial funding.

Phases of Work

follow up forumStarting in early 2016, the initial phase of the Energy Collaboratory includes: 

  • presenting important facts from credible data sources, 
  • feedback from community forums on the format and design of the website, and  
  • evaluation by citizens, scientists, scholars, and government reviewers to: a) assess the site's utility in solving real-life problems; and b) raise questions unaddressed by existing data. 

The second phase will include:

  • collaborative research to provide critical feedback on federal data toolkits, and
  • providing a platform for extractive industry-affected communities to explain the questions they want answered, and, to share stories, photographs, music, art, and social media.  

The third phase will tie into our umbrella organization - LiKEN - to work with partners to do community-based participatory action research. The aim is to identify the causal factors and indicators that communities and citizen scientists decide are most useful to meet their needs.  

Please go to the Participatory Design page, if you would like to join us in this work!


Betsy Taylor - Executive Director

Betsy Taylor - Executive Director

Betsy Taylor, PhD, is a cultural anthropologist.  Over the past 20 years, she has worked for community-driven development in Appalachia and South Asia -- seeking to integrate issues of health, agriculture, forestry, culture and environmental stewardship.  In popular and scholar platforms, she writes about environmental and social justice movements, democratic planning & participatory research, women's issues, the commons, democratic reclamation of academe / professions.  She co-authored, with Herbert Reid, the book, Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place, and Global Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2010). At the University of Kentucky, she served as Co‐Director of Environmental Studies, Research Director for the Appalachian Center and on the faculty of the Social Theory program. She is currently serving as a research faculty member in the Appalachian Studies program at Virginia TechShe was appointed to the steering committee of the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2012 by the Secretary of the US Department of Interior. Since spring 2015, she has chaired the Human Rights / Social Justice Committee of the Society for Applied Anthropology.  Many of her writings can be found on her website.  She blogs under "Betsy M. Taylor" for Huffington Post.

Mary Hufford - Arts & Humanities Director

Mary Hufford -  Arts & Humanities Director

Folklorist Mary Hufford, PhD, grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny foothills. She has worked over the past three decades in government, academic, and local community settings. As folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (1982‐2002) she led regional team fieldwork projects in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the southern West Virginia coalfields. From 2002‐2012, she served on the graduate faculty of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, directing the Center for Folklore and Ethnography from 2002 to 2008.  Her seminars and field practica engaged students in exploring how folk arts and humanities, grounded in ordinary settings and daily lives of Central Appalachian communities and Philadelphia neighborhoods, are crucial to the work of environmental justice.  A Guggenheim Fellow, she has published dozens of articles and reviews in both public and academic venues, including Orion Magazine, Gastronomica, the Journal of American Folklore, Southern Quarterly, Cahiers de Litterature Orale, Cornbread Nation, Social Identities, Western Folklore, the Journal of Appalachian Studies, and the Proceedings of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. For a more complete list of her downloadable publications go to her website.

Landra Lewis - Director of Outreach

Landra Lewis - Director of Outreach

Landra Lewis is a Cherokee‐ Appalachian from southeastern Kentucky where she grew up with the richness of mountain life and the horrors of mountain top removal coal mining.  She has focused on  development and social justice throughout her professional life as victim advocate, CEO, candidate for public office, mediator, and marketing and public relations consultant.  She teaches workshops on entrepreneurialism, strategic communications, dispute resolution, and how to effect personal and social change through the creation of new stories.  Her involvement in social justice has ranged from being a citizen lobbyist to activism.  From her childhood in Appalachia to extensive travel in the US and other countries, she has worked with people from all walks of life and understands the importance of speaking the vernacular of the people.  Her environmental activism against extraction industries led to a greater understanding of poverty as an inherent agent of crime in Appalachia.  She has a BA in Political Science from the University of Kentucky and a certificate in Mediation from Duke University, and certification in Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator from the Center for Applications of Psychological Type.  She is a published poet and a singer/songwriter and serves on the boards of Appalachian Voices, Balagula Theatre, and Lexenomics.

Julie Maldonado - Director of Research

Julie Koppel Maldonado - Director of Research

Julie Maldonado, PhD, anthropology, is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies department, and is a consultant with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, working with tribes to facilitate the development of climate change adaptation plans. She also co-organizes Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions, and is a Steering Committee member for the International People's Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking. Previously, Julie worked for the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), was the lead author on the Third NCA’s Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Resources Chapter, and was the lead editor and organizer for the Special Issue of Climatic Change and book, Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions. Julie has consulted for the United Nations Development Programme and World Bank on development­ induced displacement and resettlement, post disaster needs assessments, and climate change. She has been a fellow with the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security and Munich Re Foundation’s academies on social vulnerability and climate change. Her doctorate in anthropology (American University) focused on the social and cultural impacts of environmental change in tribal communities in coastal Louisiana. Julie has written numerous articles published by the Journal of Refugee Studies, the Journal of Political Ecology, Climatic Change, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, among others. She has served as an expert presenter to Congressional committees and staff on climate change, indigenous peoples, displacement, and relocation. 

Ryan Cooper - Data Visualization & Web Designer

Ryan Cooper - Data Visualization & Web Designer

Ryan Cooper is a geospatial enthusiast and aspiring web developer based in Lexington, KY. He holds BAs in Geography and German from Ball State University and an MA in Geography from the University of Kentucky. Ryan spends his days working as a GIS Technician and Web Administrator for the Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission in Georgetown, KY. He is also an organizer of maptimeLEX, frequent contributor to OpenStreetMap, and data & mapping specialist with Lexington Housing Studies. For more info, check out his website, ryan-m-cooper.com