Earth Scientists

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award Opportunity

For a PhD on “New Visual Economies: Art, GIS and the Geographic Imagination,” supervised by Prof. Deborah Dixon in partnership with Environment Systems.

Project Summary:

This is one of three interlinked PhD studentships that, in collaboration with three organisations in different sectors — a scientific site (UNESCO’s Dyfi Biosphere, Wales), a geovisualisation business (Environment Systems, Wales and Scotland), and a leading cultural producer (The Arts Catalyst, London) — explore the production and audience engagement of art/science projects.

The “New Visual Economies” Studentship will explore the creation and experience of immersive, engaging visualisations that communicate the nature of landscapes to a diverse array of audiences, including state agencies, creative industry businesses and the lay public. Analysing the place of aesthetics in developing the geographical imaginary of these visualisations, research will explore how high-fidelity, high-resolution, data-driven, 3-D scientific visualizations are developed by artists, computer specialists and earth scientists working collaboratively. Research questions can include:

  • What recent developments in creative geovisualization software have taken place, and how have these been applied to visualisations of people, place and landscapes?
  • How, where and in what form have past and present art/GIS collaborative ventures emerged?
  • How do audiences respond, conceptually but also viscerally, to such geovisualisations?

The studentship will be animated by ethnographic work, as well as by practice-based research during which the student will create, explore and work with a prototype landscape geovisualisation. Following an investigation of the aesthetic dimensions of geo-visualisation, as well as art/GIS collaborations specifically, the project will focus on ethnographic analysis and participant observation of three selected, current art/GIS projects. This will be supported by in-depth interviews with key participants, as well as academic and industry experts within the emerging field of ‘creative GIS.’

The awards are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the studentship pays post-graduate fees and an annual maintenance grant.Please note that the usual AHRC eligibility rules apply to these studentships. UK residency is normally required. EU citizens may also be eligible for fees-only awards. Further details on basic eligibility requirements are available from the AHRC web-site see:

Further enquiries can be sent to the lead supervisor: Deborah Dixon:

Applications should be made by following the link:

a little girl and a big snake – can the arts connect us before its too late?

This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Post image for a little girl and a big snake – can the arts connect us before its too late?

Was just reading the following quote from a book The Care of Creation (2000) and thinking about this ecopoem entry into last weeks British Talent show that has gone viral on youtube

”When the greatest beasts before whom our ancestors shrank in terror is in danger of extinction, when the very biodiversity of the planet seems to depend on the implementation of a political treaty, the only thing to be in awe of is the dizzying power of human culture…. our problem today… is that our awe has given way to an exploitative and managerial approach to nature.”

save the humansI loved Olivia’s courage to present her ‘passion, which she knows is out of fashion’ but I couldn’t help but feel though that many in audience while applauding this audacious poetic gesture fail to see the bigger crisis that extinction is pointing to, ie that extinction doesn’t only apply to snakes! (I saw the polar bear image above earlier this week and thought, yep, the polar bears have got it – a friend of mine has it as his avatar on Facebook)

Other contributors to Care of Creation printed back in 2000, from scientists to theologians state that ‘the ecocrisis is so serious that scientists and political solutions alone are unlikely to address it satisfactorily’… which some of us are beginning to realise. One of the contributors quotes an earlier writer, Hamilton in 1993, who argued, ‘it is not the ecologists, engineers, economists or earth scientists who will save spaceship earth, but the poets (even small ones), priests, artists and philosophers’.

Here’s another creative work which dovetails Olivia’s piece above, don’t you think.

Olivia gets where science often fails and where artistic performance excels…. ‘if I say their Latin names will you listen more?’

An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook