Department wins Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence award

Naomi HartDepartment of Geography Professors Andy Hodson and Jenny Pickerill have been successful with their application for a Leverhulme Artist in Residency grant.

The grant 'offers up to £15,000 for UK universities and museums to foster a completely new creative collaboration with an artist working in a discipline outside the applicant institution’s usual curriculum.'

Artist Naomi Hart will be in the Department for 9 months commencing in May 2017 and working with Andy and Jenny on a project entitled 'The Life of Ice'

This project will specifically look at the history/link of the coal industry in Sheffield and the Arctic, with particular focus on how carbon and various elements/atoms (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide) are linked with climate change and cycles in nature. Coal dust is killing the glaciers, by darkening the ice and absorbing more of the sun’s heat as a result. It does this 20 to 50 times more effectively than dust. Also, the persistence of the coal dust is in fact prolonged on the ice by microorganisms released from it by the melting and also blown onto it from soils. Melting ice and melting permafrost release methane , another greenhouse gas alongside carbon
dioxide.

Hart intends to work closely with Professor Hodson and his research team in exploring methane (CH4) and pingo formation, methane bubbles, and how the potential of methane to be released affects and further exacerbates climate change Hart intends to study the human impact on these changes, the impact of the changes on human activity and the process of the scientific research itself. The artist’s research interests are in carbon, CO2, methane, iron and other minerals involved in the cycle of nutrients in glacier and permafrost-melt in the Arctic.

Hart’s work currently focuses on environmental issues as well as a broad theme of ‘migration’. She is a multidisciplinary artist, using drawing, paint, photography, sculpture and installation to communicate. She is currently working with ‘carbon’ as a material and theme: carbon copies, the role of carbon in climate change and the cyclical nature of carbon as an element in life, signifying death and decomposition and its role in creating new life, and chemical processes and change in metals and minerals. She has been researching ice, icebergs and glaciers following a residency in the Arctic last year. Hart has considerable experience of working with scientists and researchers and is keen on art-science collaborations that inspire both fields of research.