About Us

Hatfield Moors, south Yorkshire; abandoned peat workings. Photo: Phil Barratt

Bright Edge Deep is an interdisiplinary collaboration between artists, researchers and practitioners. Read on to find out more about the project team. In particular, we thank our project partners The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow; the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; Historic Environment Scotland; and the Isle of Axholme Landscape Partnership and North Lincs Council. We also thank our many contributors who have generously given their time and shared information with us.

Project Leads

Dr Nicki Whitehouse is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Science at the University of Glasgow and Professor of Human-Environment Systems at the University of Plymouth. She is an environmental archaeologist, interested in understanding the socio-ecological dynamics of past human populations from northern temperate environments to the Mediterranean. Much of her work is focused on the complex relationships between humans, climate, landscape and ecosystems. Her primary expertise lies in the analysis of Holocene cultural landscapes and wetland ecosystems using palaeoenvironmental, climate, working at the landscape, regional to continental scale, to synthesize diverse lines of evidence. In addition to her work on wetlands and peatlands, in recent years her work has focused increasingly on the character of early agricultural systems, where, what and how people were growing crops and grazing animals, implications for land usage and impacts on landscapes, biological systems and climate systems. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Entomologists (FRES).

Prof Clare A.P. Willsdon studied at the University of Cambridge, and is Professor of the History of Western Art, University of Glasgow, with particular expertise in art-garden relationships, and interdisciplinary approaches. Her In the Gardens of Impressionism was nominated for the 2005 Saltire Society/National Library of Scotland ‘Research Book of the Year’, and the 2006 ‘Sir Banister Fletcher Best Book in the Arts’, and she has curated/advised on exhibitions including ‘Impressionist Gardens’, Edinburgh and Madrid, 2010-11, and ‘Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse’, London and Cleveland, Ohio, 2015-16. Her book Mural Painting in Britain 1840-1940 won the 2002-3 ‘Historians of British Art’ prize, and she is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland), Royal Historical Society, Royal Society of Arts, and Higher Education Academy.   

Project Members

Dr Gareth Beale is Lecturer in Digital Archaeology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. His research looks at the critical and creative use of digital media and technologies within archaeological practice and communication. His research is largely practice based and focusses on experimental digital film making and immersive experiences. He has directed several EPSRC and AHRC funded research projects exploring the use of media at heritage sites and museums including VikingVR and Within the Walls of York Gaol which both involved the co-design, installation and evaluation of immersive installations at museums in York. He is currently exploring the expansion of this work into site-specific outdoor installations.

Dr Althea Davies is a palaeoecologist and environmental geographer based at the School of Geography and Sustainable Development in the University of St Andrews. Her work focuses on human-environment interactions and the challenges of working across the natural and social sciences, and across science and policy for conservation and sustainable development. Geographically, her main study areas are peaty landscapes in the UK uplands and Peruvian Amazon. These were once considered ‘marginal’ but are now recognised as providing essential ecosystem services on local and global scales. She has a particular interest in how past management affects contemporary conservation values, since many of these influences pre-date ecological records so are invisible and liable to misinterpretation in contemporary management. In collaboration with colleagues in Peru, she is examining the impact of economic pressures on cultural identity, livelihoods and ecosystem integrity amongst indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the swamp forests of lowland Amazonia, to support more sustainable and equitable policy and practice.

Dr Rosie Everett is an early career researcher based out of University College Cork and the University of Warwick, UK. Her PhD research is on the use of multi-proxy palaeoecological archives in a range of depositional environments (including peatlands) to reconstruct past landscapes. In addition, her work as a reaserch associate for the WetFutures Project (University College Cork) has been on the cultural history and archaeology of peatlands in Ireland and looking at the best practice approaches for public engagement and integration of public awareness. As part of this research, she has published on both the cultural entanglement of Irish culture in bogs (Everett and Gearey, 2019), and the role of cultural rights for the rural communities that will be impacted on with the cessation of peat cutting (see UNHCR Report on climate change, culture and cultural rights, WetFutures contribution). She has also been awarded funding from the International Peatland Society (the Allan Robertson Grant 2021) to continue her work on the cultural heritage of peatlands in Ireland.

Dr Tom Gardner (he/him) is an early career researcher (Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh) and geoarchaeologist based at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), Edinburgh, Scotland. His expertise in soil science and Scottish archaeology have been developed into a method of combining field and lab-based techniques to examine human-soil interactions over long periods, including researching Scotland’s histosols. His work with HES focusses on heritage management and engagement and leads HES’s workstreams on ecosystem services and peatland restoration, aiming to provide strategic archaeological oversight to wetland restoration projects within the wider context of land-use policy, and to facilitate engagement with local groups and key stakeholders. Dr Gardner has worked as a consultant archaeologist on fenland restoration and research programmes with Natural England, provides specialist advice for peatland restoration programmes in Scotland, and has developed and delivered training for ecologists involved in peatland restoration on behalf of HES and the Scottish Government.

Dr Benjamin Gearey is Lecturer in Environmental Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University College Cork. He has a wide range of research interests, most of which focus on wetland environments and in particular, the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records of peatland landscapes. Current projects such as WetFutures (http://www.wetfutures.eu/) concern trans-disciplinary interfaces between the cultural perception and the past and future management of peatlands and has recently published in Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, The Journal of Human Palaeoecology and The Journal of Wetland Archaeology and he is currently working on a long-delayed book on peatland archaeology and palaeoenvironments.

Dr Andy Mills is Curator for Archaeology & World Cultures at the Hunterian Museum. He is an anthropologist, world art historian and ethnohistorian with research interests in stylistics, Pacific art, missionary collecting, and the history of museums.

Holly Mullins is a fourth year undergraduate studying Art History and Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. Whenever I tell someone what I study, they often question how the two subjects relate to each other. The Bright Edge Deep project nicely exemplifies the potential of combining disciplines to produce a narrative that is relevant from many different angles. I think that creating links between art and science can be a very useful tool indeed! Having grown up in the Scottish countryside, I feel a very close connection to the landscape as well as a sense of responsibility to look after it, especially in a time of climate emergency. I’m excited to be a part of this project not only because it perfectly combines my areas of interest of Art History and Archaeology, but also because I am able to engage in raising awareness about climate change.

Moira Piazzoli is a 3rd year honours student in Archaeology and Gaelic with Immersion. Her interests include cultural landscapes, glacial archaeology, Celtic art, Gaelic language learning and literature as well as aspects of community engagement and creative practice. She has contributed to this exhibition by compiling a list of poems that touch on Scotland’s peatland landscapes, and by researching Gaelic language resources and recordings on peat cutting.  

Charlotte Swindell, is originally from Northumberland, and a recent graduate of the University of Glasgow with an MSc in Collecting and Provenance. She is particularly interested in the trade of fake antiquities online. Experienced in photography, archives and research, she has worked on the Bright Edge Deep project uncovering historic imagery from the Historic Environment Scotland database.

Dr Michael Waldron is a curator and art historian and presently works at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork as Assistant Curator of Collections & Special Projects. A graduate of University College Cork, he was research assistant and exhibition curator for Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures (2016-17) and previously taught English and Art History. An article derived from his doctoral research, which focused on the writings of Elizabeth Bowen and visual culture, recently appeared in Irish University Review. He is on the editorial board of the Elizabeth Bowen Review and a contributor to Irish Arts Review. Michael is the curator of Recasting Canova (2019-22), Harry Clarke Marginalia (2020-21), Statio Bene: Art and Ireland’s Maritime Haven (2020-21), and Laura Fitzgerald: I have made a place (2021).

Project Contributors

Dr Philip Barratt is an Honorary Research Fellow in Archaeology, University of Glasgow. He has a keen interest in landscape photography and in environmental change.

Prof Minty Donald is Professor or Contemporary Performance Practice in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Melanie Giles is a senior lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Manchester. She is an expert in Iron age of Britain and believes that the potential of archaeology lies in its ability to challenge our own ways of seeing, through the study of people with different beliefs and understandings of the world. She recently published Bog Bodies; Face to Face with the Past, reinterpreting the latest research on bog bodies found in our peatlands.

Conor Lane is a fine arts graduate in Sculpture from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in the west of Ireland. Conor is a professional sculptor best known for his unique style of bog oak sculptures and crafts. Having studied  sculpture for four years in Galway; Conor also works in conceptual mediums including sound, video , installation, performance and assemblage. His work is about sociopolitical awareness and perceived differences. Conor works from his studio in the bog area of Roseberry in Co. Kildare in the east of Ireland.

Dr Caitríona Moore is an Irish archaeologist and graduate of University College Dublin. She has worked on a wide range of archaeological projects across Ireland and specialises in the archaeology of wetlands, ancient woodworking and wooden artefacts. Caitríona is a Managing Director with Dublin-based consultancy Archaeology and Built Heritage Ltd.

Annemarie Ni CHURREÁIN is a poet from the Donegal Gaeltacht. Her publications include Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) and The Poison Glen (The Gallery Press, 2021). She is a recipient of The Next Generation Award from the Irish Arts Council and a co-recipient of The Markievicz Award. She was the 2019-20 Writer in Residence at Maynooth University of Ireland, and a 2020 Artist In Residence at The Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. Visit studiotwentyfive.com

Dr Maureen O’Connor lectures in the Department of English in University College Cork. She is the author of The Female and the Species: The Animal in Irish Women’s Writing (2010), co-editor, with Derek Gladwin, of a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, ‘Irish Studies and the Environmental Humanities’ (2018); with Kathryn Laing and Sinéad Mooney, of Edna O’Brien: New Critical Perspectives (2006); with Lisa Colletta, of Wild Colonial Girl: Essays on Edna O’Brien (2006); and, with Tadhg Foley, of Ireland and India: Colonies, Culture, and Empire (2006). Her latest book, Edna O’Brien and the Art of Fiction, is forthcoming from Bucknell University Press in October, 2021. Her next project is a monograph on nature and nation in the writing of Irish first-wave feminists, including Margaret Cousins, Charlotte Despard, Eva Gore-Booth, and Alice Stopford Green.   

Dr. Heather Reid OBE is a science education consultant and former weather forecaster with the Met Office and BBC Scotland. She now specialises in public and school engagement on the topics of climate change, sustainability and energy. Heather is a member of the Board of NatureScot and the Board of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority. She is a former Chair of the Institute of Physics in Scotland and was a Glasgow Science Centre Board member for over 10 years.

Prof Jaime Toney is a Professor in Environmental and Climate Science in the School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, University of Glasgow. She is an organic geochemist who uses molecular fossils and biomarkers to understand how the earth system responds to climate change.

Dr Roy Van Beek is a landscape archaeologist working at Wageningen University (the Netherlands). He leads the interdisciplinary Home Turf Project (2017-2022), which centres on the long-term history of raised bogs in the Netherlands and adjacent parts of Belgium and Germany.