Shifting Relations between Geology & the Visual Arts

a joint meeting of the Hull Geological Society

with the Yorkshire Geological Society

and the Hull School of Art and Design

Saturday 11th October 2014

at Queens Gardens, Hull.


there was no charge for attending the meeting.


Alan Bowden

Biography: Alan is the consultant curator and published researcher at Liverpool Museums Earth Sciences Dept. and a past chair of the Geological Society of London's History of Geology Group.

Desmond Brett - In Conversation

Biography: Desmond is a sculptor and academic with a BA and MFA in Sculpture from the Slade. He is Programme Leader of BA Fine Art at Hull School of Art and Design, has an international exhibition record, and has worked with partners including The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Henry Moore Foundation, Kettles Yard, The Queen of Hungary Project Space and the Cornaro Institute in Cyprus, delivering residencies, popular public educational and practical arts workshops.

Earl Haworth - In Conversation

Biography: Earl is a consultant physician in stroke medicine, now close to retirement, and employed at Scarborough Hospital. With no formal qualification in geology, he has long been interested in earth sciences and enjoys the privilege of being a Council member of the YGS. With a scientific rather than artistic background, he is intrigued that there is a structural and neurobiological basis to account for the (neuroaesthetic) differences in creativity and perception between the artist and non-artist brain.

Hannah Sofaer - "Arts & Science-Led Model for Integration of Practice"

Abstract - The central theme of Hannah’s talk is the development of the Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust working model for interdisciplinary exchange across the arts, earth sciences, industrial and cultural landscape. An essential aspect of this has been field research and the continued recording of a ‘Living Land Archive’ ? based on stone- a material that underlies all landscapes - where the Geomorphology underpins the fragile layer of ecology on which we exist, shaping civilisations, culture and economy Government research priorities 2003-07 for planning for closure / after-use of quarry sites and knowledge transfer, made two PSQT research projects possible investigating how an arts led approach could develop a new model for regeneration, supported by MIRO via the Mineral Industry Sustainable Technology programme (DEFRA/ALSF) The projects were innovative in their approach to preservation and interpretation of the geological record: new uses of quarry by products in the built and natural environment and validated educational programmes. This informed the House of Commons Geology Select Committee ‘on access to minerals for heritage restoration, and the DTI Minerals Working Group, re best practice in education of the next generation of designers with sustainable use of UK mineral resources.

Biography: Hannah studied Sculpture at Goldsmiths, Chelsea and the Royal College of Art, and has exhibited work in galleries, also making temporary installations and permanent site specific work for symposiums and public commissions. Her role as a visiting lecturer connects with many universities and departments of visual and performing arts, sculpture, spatial design, architecture, landscape design and critical fine art practice. She has worked extensively with quarry environments and ways of accessing landscape, through the arts, sciences, community, architecture and industry. This includes the design and delivery of research projects and commissioned works with artists and scientists, applying innovative ideas for our built environment. She has worked on the design and delivery of new education programmes across the arts & science in partnership with several UK Art Schools with the Drill Hall Research and Project Space providing a well resourced workshop, studio and exhibition space. University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment have based field research with PSQT at the Drill Hall and University of Brighton Arts & Humanities have delivered validated BA Elective Courses over 12 years for 21 Departments across 5 Faculties, including MA Research Electives in site specific performance, photography, with AHRC funded one year MA’s by Independent Project based with PSQT.

Hull Geological Society - sale of Humberside Geologist and second hand geology books.

Ilana Halperin – Title of talk TBC

Biography - Ilana’s work explores the relationship between geological phenomena and daily life. Whether boiling milk in a 100 degree Celsius sulphur spring in the crater of an active volcano or celebrating her birthday with a landmass of the same age, the geologic history and environmental situation specific to the locale directly informs the direction each piece takes. Recent projects take as a starting point a personal experience with an unexpected geological phenomenon. Increasingly interconnected events of a political, historical and everyday nature are progressively drawn together to form a narrative. Each story explores the changeable nature of landmass, using geology as a language to understand our relationship to a constantly evolving world.

Jo Ray - In Conversation

Biography: Jo is an artist based in the UK. She is interested in the gap between the idea and the lived experience. Issues of scale, landscape, architecture and social phenomena inform her practice. Jo has contributed to exhibitions, residencies and participatory projects in the UK and internationally. In recent years she has worked with organisations such as Art Gene, Red Nile, Grit & Pearl to deliver site specific commissions, including work for the inaugural 5x5 Project in Washington DC, and the ‘Seldom Seen’ Cabinet of Curiosities for Piel Island. Questions about how we value and interpret Place are intrinsic to this work. Jo studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, and lectures at Hull School of Art and Design. She is about to undertake her doctoral research at Sheffield Hallam University, examining ‘The Model as Imaginative Apparatus'

Michael McKimm – Fossil Sunshine – Poetry Readings.

Abstract - Over a period of two years Mike has been collaborating with earth scientists in a project funded by Arts Council England, to write poems that explore the relationships between geology, the oil industry and climate change. Drawing on fieldwork with geologists, and inspired by the language of geology as well as the energy and imagination of scientific exploration and discovery, these poems ask what the evidence held in the geological record can teach us about 21st Century climate change. In this presentation Mike will read from the poems that have come out of his collaborations with geologists, and reflect upon the writing process.

Biography: Michael McKimm was born in Belfast and now lives in London, where he is a Librarian at the Geological Society. A graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, he won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and was an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa in 2010. His debut collection is Still This Need (Heaventree Press, 2009) and he is published in the anthologies Best of Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword Editions, 2009), Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt, 2012) and Dear World & Everyone In It: new poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2013), amongst others. In 2012 he received a grant from Arts Council England to create a new series of poems addressing the geology of climate change, which formed the pamphlet Fossil Sunshine (Worple Press, 2013).

Mike Horne - "Where Geology and Art meet - exploring the interface" and In Conversation.

Abstract - The speaker will explore the interfaces between art and geology.

Biography: Mike is the Honorary General Secretary of the Hull Geological Society.

Nikki Abramson - "Study tour of Iceland 2013" display

Abstract - "The amazing colours of volatile geological change were my inspiration for a series of textile pieces; stitched, beaded, felted and machined, in response to Iceland's unique terrain."

Patrick Boylan - "Yorkshire Geology through the Artist's Eye: from Turner to Hockney"

Biography: Patrick is President of the Yorkshire Geological Society and Professor Emeritus of Heritage Policy and Management at City University, London.

Phil Entwistle - display of prints and posters.

Abstract - "In his paintings Phil Entwistle looks for a shift from a human to a geological timescale, depicting the Earth's surface undergoing continual changes. The close-up viewpoints show the landscape as an object rather than a place. Phil's current exhibition “Shaped by Ice” at Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria, runs until 26th October 2014. It sets the glaciated crags and corries of the Lake District alongside the present-day glaciers of western Canada. He is showing prints from this exhibition and also his posters of the rocks of the Yorkshire coast, which were displayed on railway stations in 2011.."

Spike Bucklow – "From Lapis Lazuli to Ultramarine Lapis lazuli was worth its weight in gold as an artists' pigment"

Abstract - This talk will consider why it was so valuable by looking at its geographic and geological origins and its processing from raw stone to pure mineral, drawing upon artists recipes that date from the ninth to the nineteenth centuries. It will place the stone/pigment in its cultural context looking at its use outside the studio (as a drug and divination aid) and show how its widely-known properties contributed a profound level of meaning to works of art. The key to that meaning - that connects the viewer to the depicted via the materials used in the depiction - is mainly drawn from thirteenth- and fourteenth-century texts and paintings. It has been lost over the past two hundred years as our understanding of our world and our bodies has changed, yet much of this old science lives on unrecognised today in folk-, alternative- and sub-cultures.

Biography: Spike Bucklow did a degree in chemistry and worked in the film industry making special effects for films (including 'Star Wars') and TV (including 'Spitting Image'). He re-trained as a painting conservator and did a PhD in the History of Art. He now teaches at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge and is the author of 'The Alchemy of Paint' (2009) and 'The Riddle of the Image' (2014).

Stuart Jones - display of fossils and photographs


There also was an open photographic exhibition (with prizes) at this event: the topic is "The Aesthetics of Geology" Click here for an more details.


For further information 'phone 01482 346784.


e-mail - m.j.horne @

Copyright - Hull Geological Society 2014

Registered Educational Charity No. 229147

Copyright Hull Geological Society.

updated 25th September 2014