Dr Ele Carpenter

Staff details

Position Reader in Curating
Department Art
Email e.carpenter (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7691
Dr Ele Carpenter

Ele Carpenter is a curator and writer in politicised art and social networks of making. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code. Her curatorial research into nuclear culture investigates the contemporary aesthetics of living in the nuclear anthropocene through commissioning new work, field research, writing, and curating exhibitions, film screenings and roundtable discussions. In partnership with the Arts Catalyst the project is commissioning new work in response to the issues raised by dismantling British nuclear submarines in consultation with members of the Submarine Dismantling Project Advisory Group.

Ele is an Associate Curator with Arts Catalyst London, and Bildmuseet, Sweden. Current exhibitions include: Material Nuclear Culture, KARST, Plymouth (2016); Perpetual Uncertainty, Bildmuseet, Sweden. She is editor of The Nuclear Culture Source Book, Black Dog Publishing, (2016), and convenor of the Nuclear Culture Research Group at Goldsmiths.

Learn more about Ele's work with the Nuclear Culture Research Group.

Academic qualifications

  • 2008, Ph.D., Politicised Socially Engaged Art and New Media Art, CRUMB, University of Sunderland
  • 1996, Post Graduate Diploma in Art Gallery & Museum Studies, University of Manchester
  • 1993, BA Hons. Fine Art Sculpture, Leeds Metropolitan University

Ele was awarded an AHRC Early Career Research Fellowship (2012-13) for her curatorial research into Nuclear Culture in partnership with Arts Catalyst. She curated Actinium with S-AIR, Sapporo, Japan (2014). Previously she has worked as a curator with CCA Glasgow (2002-2005), Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art in Sunderland (1997-2002) and Side Cinema/Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne (2002-2006). 

Professional projects

Ele is also curator of the Open Source Embroidery project exploring the relationship between open source production and distribution models in textiles and code. She is currently facilitating the ‘Embroidered Digital Commons’ a distributed embroidery of ‘A Concise Lexicon of/for the Digital Commons’ written by the Raqs Media Collective. The ‘Html Patchwork’ is on display at the National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park.

Featured publications

  • The Smoke of Modernity drifts through the Anthropocene, In: Power of the Land, ed H. Grove-White. (2016)
  • Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary’ Book chapter, In: Cold War Legacies: Systems, Theories, Aesthetics, eds John Beck, Ryan Bishop, Edinburgh University Press. (2016)
  • Technology the Handmade and Free Speech, In: ‘Build Your Own: Tools for sharing', Crafts Council & FACT. (2015)
  • Open Source Embroidery: Curatorial Facilitation of Material Networks, In: The Textile Reader, ed. Jessica Hemmings. Berg. (2012)


Book Section

The Smoke of Nuclear Modernity Drifts through the Anthropocene
Carpenter, Ele. 2016. The Smoke of Nuclear Modernity Drifts through the Anthropocene. In: Helen Grove-White, ed. Power in the Land. Wales: X-10, pp. 17-29. ISBN 978-1-78280-732-2

Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary: Art and the Flight from Nuclear Modernity
Carpenter, Ele. 2016. Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary: Art and the Flight from Nuclear Modernity. In: Ryan Bishop and John Beck, eds. Cold War Legacies: Systems, Theories, Aesthetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9781474409483

Open Source Embroidery: Curatorial Facilitation of Material Networks
Carpenter, Ele. 2012. Open Source Embroidery: Curatorial Facilitation of Material Networks. In: Jessica Hemmings, ed. The Textile Reader. London: Berg, pp. 336-346. ISBN 9781847886347

Social Making
Carpenter, Ele. 2011. Social Making. In: Daniel Charny, ed. The Power of Making:The Importance of Being Skilled. London, UK: V&A Museum and Crafts Council, pp. 49-51. ISBN 9781851776535

Shaggy Modernism
Carpenter, Ele. 2011. Shaggy Modernism. In: James Hutchinson, ed. James Hutchinson: works 2007–2011. Sunderland, UK: Art Editions North, pp. 49-51. ISBN 978‐0‐9549119‐9‐7

Intervention & Revolution, Interview with Gregory Sholette and Nato Thompson.
Carpenter, Ele. 2010. Intervention & Revolution, Interview with Gregory Sholette and Nato Thompson. In: Sarah Cook; Beryl Graham; Verina Gfader and Axel Lapp, eds. A Brief History of Working with New Media Art: Conversations with Artists. Sunderland UK / Berlin Germany: The Green Box, pp. 111-127.

The Strategic and Tactical Time of Curating
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. The Strategic and Tactical Time of Curating. In: , ed. Time at Work: CECAC 2008. 2 Post Media Books, pp. 66-71.


Analogous: Digital / Analogue Metaphors.
Carpenter, Ele. 2011. Analogous: Digital / Analogue Metaphors. Digitalis Newspaper Catalogue, 0-0.

Coal-powered Craft: a past for the future
Carpenter, Ele. 2011. Coal-powered Craft: a past for the future. Journal of Modern Craft, 4(2), pp. 147-160. ISSN 1749-6772

Activist Tendencies in Craft
Carpenter, Ele. 2010. Activist Tendencies in Craft. Concept Store #3 Art, Activism and Recuperation., 3,

Art-Activist Symmetry in the artwork of Oliver Ressler
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. Art-Activist Symmetry in the artwork of Oliver Ressler. Ressler.it,


Nuclear Culture
Carpenter, Ele. Ongoing Nuclear Culture.

Embroidered Digital Commons
Carpenter, Ele. 2008 - 2013 Embroidered Digital Commons.


Perpetual Uncertainty - art and radioactivity
Craighead, Alison; Thomson, Jon and Carpenter, Ele. 2018. Perpetual Uncertainty - art and radioactivity. In: "Perpetual Uncertainty - art and radioactivity", Malmö Konstmuseum, 24/2/18 - 26/8/18.

Perpetual Uncertainty, exhibition
Carpenter, Ele; Mabb, David; Crowe, Nick; Craighead, Alison; Schuppli, Susan and Weir, Andy. 2016. Perpetual Uncertainty, exhibition. In: "Perpetual Uncertainty", Bildmuseet, Sweden, 2 October 2016 - 26 August 2018.

Kota Takeuchi, Memory Bug
Carpenter, Ele. 2016. Kota Takeuchi, Memory Bug. In: "Kota Takeuchi, Memory Bug", Arts Catalyst, United Kingdom, July - August 2016.

Material Nuclear Culture, Exhibition
Carpenter, Ele; Mabb, David; Craighead, Alison; Crowe, Nick; Schuppli, Susan; Takeuchi, Kota and Kobayashi, Erika. 2016. Material Nuclear Culture, Exhibition. In: "Material Nuclear Culture", KARST Gallery, United Kingdom, 17 June - 13 August 2016.

Actinium [Curatorial Project]
Carpenter, Ele. 2014. Actinium [Curatorial Project]. In: "Actinium", OYOYO, Japan, 19 July - 3 August 2014.

Open Source Embroidery
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. Open Source Embroidery. In: "Open Source Embroidery Exhibition", BildMuseet, Umea, Sweden, 6 June 2009 - 24 January 2010.

Stable, A film by Kathleen Herbert
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. Stable, A film by Kathleen Herbert. In: "Stable, a film by Kathleen Herbert", Vita Kuben, Sweden, Feb - March 2009.

Art Object

Laboratory for Variable Risk Assessment
Carpenter, Ele. 2017. Laboratory for Variable Risk Assessment.

HTML Patchwork, 2007-2009
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. HTML Patchwork, 2007-2009.


Radioactive Art
Carpenter, Ele and Pickup, Beatrice. 2017. Radioactive Art.

Conference or Workshop Item

(Post) Nuclear Anthropocene
Carpenter, Ele. 2017. '(Post) Nuclear Anthropocene'. In: Various conferences 2015-17. Z33 House of Contemporary Art, Belgium 2015 - 2017.

Mapping Data: Performing Landscape
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. 'Mapping Data: Performing Landscape'. In: Mapping Data: Performing Landscape. Umea University, Sweden.

Many:Many Workshop
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. 'Many:Many Workshop'. In: Micro Makers Faire. Chapter Arts Centre, United Kingdom 22-23 October 2009.

Open Source Embroidery at MzTek Unplugged
Carpenter, Ele. 2009. 'Open Source Embroidery at MzTek Unplugged'. In: MzTek. United Kingdom.


Embroidered Digital Commons Online artwork
Carpenter, Ele. 2016. Embroidered Digital Commons Online artwork.

Open source embroidery website
Carpenter, Ele. 2007. Open source embroidery website.

Edited Book

The Nuclear Culture Source Book
Carpenter, Ele, ed. 2016. The Nuclear Culture Source Book. London: Black Dog Publishing.


Nuclear Culture Symposium Report
Carpenter, Ele and Schroeder, Jantine. 2013. Nuclear Culture Symposium Report. Project Report. InSoTec, Belgium.