Chris Thorn-Bat

X-ray of a Long-eared bat in a hunting pose.

Image: Chris Thorn

Wildlife artist takes up residency at research centre

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) is pleased to announce the appointment of inaugural Creative Exchange Affiliate, wildlife artist, . Chris joins the Institute as part of the Creative Exchange Programme, a joint initiative between the ESI and Falmouth University’s Research in Art, Nature and the Environment (RANE) research group.  

Commenting on his appointment Chris said, “I am grateful for the great opportunity to work with the Environment and Sustainability Institute, and for the confidence shown in my work.  This residency will enable me to explore how art might play a part in the work of the scientists, researchers and other academics based in the Institute.”

Since joining the ESI Chris has already began working with ESI researchers Richard Inger, Juliet Osborne, Ilya McLean and Robbie McDonald, and has developed a new method for combining X-ray images with his wildlife sketches. Chris explains: “Early in my discussions with the researchers it became clear that the most useful contribution I might make in supporting any particular study, would be to create a ‘poster image’ that is immediately striking, and provokes conversation and exploration of the research.
As a wildlife artist I work in a variety of medium. I create freehand drawings and sketches but also use X-rays to highlight the physical beauty normally hidden from our gaze, particularly of flawed, damaged, or poorly regarded subjects. 

Since beginning my residency, I have seen that there might be value in combining both aspects of my work in a single piece. Accordingly, I am now seeking to obtain ‘raw’, X-ray prints of the subject of study, and incorporate this imagery into my drawings to create a dialogue within the finished piece. My first work will be unveiled publicly at the formal opening of the ESI in April.”

The ESI/ RANE Creative Exchange Programme aims to facilitate collaboration between creative practitioners and ESI researchers both interested in issues of environment and sustainability, and is fostering dialogue between the ESI and RANE. The Programme also intends to stimulate opportunities for public engagement with ESI research and to support collaborative learning, including sharing of methodologies and research practices.

Applications are currently being sought for the next round of Creative Exchange proposals. The deadline for applications through this latest phase is 31 March 2013. To find out more about the Creative Exchange Programme, and to apply, please download the call for proposals below.

ESI-RANE Creative Exchange Programme- Second Call 2013

The ESI is working with businesses and enterprises across all sectors of the economy in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate research and expertise into innovative business practices, products and services in order to respond to the challenges of environmental change. It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The Cornwall Campus is shared and jointly managed by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in an arrangement that is unique in the UK.

Date: 24 March 2013

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