As a Lecturer in Physical Geography and Climate at the National University of Ireland Galway, I am researching the rigours of glaciation, the vagaries of climate, and our role as humans in the Earth system. Since completing my PhD in 2010, I have been pursuing research in Antarctica, Greenland, and the warm bit in between. As you will see from these pages, the majority of my work is field based by design, requiring weeks-to-months in remote, often mountainous country. There, my colleagues and I combine geomorphology, mapping, geochemistry, and archaeology - along with much arm waving - to dig deep into our planet's past and to project its (and our) future.
Beyond the science, these places are also highly moving, psychologically. Between bouts of coring bogs, chiselling glacial erratics, and mapping moraines, I let my mind wander the same landscapes but on a different plane, and with different tools - pens, pencils, and, watercolour. I derive my inspiration from the shapes I encounter, knowing that within even the darkest, most ancient rock face resides a history of titanic dynamism, that ice can crush, and that the forces of nature continue to shape our lives in every way imaginable. To create art, to put onto paper or canvas my own interpretation of what I see, is in some respects about paying homage to this Earth. It is tonic for the exhausted brain, too.
Finally, there is the camera, initially a 35 mm film camera and more recently a heavy Canon digital SLR. Most of these images come from the scientific field work that has taken me far and wide. For instance, I include here scenes of the polar regions, where I am working on the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets, and from 15 years conducting research in the high Andes. Closer to home, you'll see images from the northern 'mid latitudes', a vast natural laboratory in which I'm studying the causes and manifestations of abrupt climate change. Thus, from science comes art: a beautifully simple equation.
School of Geography, Archaeology, & Irish Studies
National University of Ireland Galway
tel. +353 (0)89 983 8097
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