Warren Harper

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Warren Harper's MPhil/PhD Art research project

The Nuclearscapes of the Blackwater Estuary and Foulness Island: Towards an Interscalar Curatorial Practice

Starting with the premise that contemporary art contributes to academic and public discourse in the field of nuclear culture, my practice-based PhD research project develops an interscalar curatorial practice, taking Essex’s nuclearscapes—namely the Blackwater Estuary and Foulness Island—as a starting point to understand the county’s role in Britain’s nuclear story. I seek to explore how the curatorial can engage with the complex context of the county’s nuclearscapes and in turn contribute to new knowledge around and through curatorial practice. In addition, this project aims to be a generative point of departure to consider the contested discussions around the UK’s civil and military nuclear industries.

Black and white photo of fields by the coast taken from top of an industrial building

During the project I worked with artists and others to explore Essex’s nuclear legacy, as well as its present and future entanglements with the nuclear. The result are curatorial situations which advocate for an expanded understanding of the curatorial, working with artists to make work public in responsive and discursive ways. The written thesis critically contextualises my approach and the associated projects within an interdisciplinary framework drawing from sociology, anthropology, visual art, cultural and curatorial studies, while focusing on nuclear landscapes, the curatorial, contemporary art practice and nuclear colonialism.


  • Dr David Mabb
  • Dr Susan Schuppli