Humanity, and the technology supporting 21st Century activities, is rapidly expanding into our space environment. Space science and space exploration supports this endeavour and allows us to discover the richness of different worlds and environments throughout the solar system, as well as address questions of our cosmic origins. Quotidian technology is increasingly reliant upon space-based infrastructure, but space remains a remote environment not directly experienced by humans.
This practice-based, inter-disciplinary PhD studentship will draw on research from across the arts, humanities, science and technology to innovate novel approaches to the cultural negotiation of space science as a field of practice characterised by vertiginous scalar extremes and remote sensing technology. Led by an arts-based, practice-as-research methodology, the studentship will address the urgent need for new models of inter-disciplinary working to be developed at the triangulated interface of art, space science and publics. To this end, one of the key questions that will frame the research will be: In an era of increasing public dislocation from the scales, speeds and technologies of scientific advance, how might big science (in the words of American astronomer, Roger Malina) be made ‘intimate’?
The studentship will be hosted by the recently inaugurated ‘Space’ Inter-disciplinary Research Theme and supported by The Cultural Negotiation of Science Research Group. As a starting point for the project, there will be opportunities to develop the PhD with key researchers in the Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory. The NSTL team are developing technology that will be launched into space over the next few years and have a testing suite with a wide range of terrestrial analogues of the space environment.
It is anticipated that the candidate will contribute to the field of interdisciplinary research via the development of new methods of practice that challenge instrumentalised models of art/science collaboration and public outreach. Applications are welcome from across a broad spectrum of art/curatorial/performative/critical theory practice backgrounds and the university encourages potential candidates to bring their own research networks, histories and lived experience to the studentship.
The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities). Provisional start date is 1 October 2023.