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Nuclear Culture

Research project How can theoretical and curatorial work on nuclear culture and aesthetics create a new geo-political space for decolonial nuclear traces over time and space?

How can European discourse on radioactive waste acknowledge its nuclear colonialism by respecting and integrating indigenous knowledge and representation in twenty-first century OECD/NEA working groups such as the Expert Group on the Preservation of knowledge about radioactive waste (EGAP), and within the European history of Euratom at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) at Ispra in Italy.

Head of project

Eleanor Carpenter
Professor, other position

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2023-04-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

UmArts, Umeå School of Architecture

Research area

Archaeology, Ethnology, Fine arts, History of ideas, Museology

Project description

Ele Carpenter's curatorial research on Nuclear Culture is a long term investigation into nuclear aesthetics and practices.

For 2024 Ele Carpenter has been awarded an RJ Sabbatical Fund to undertake field work in Autralia and Italy and write a new book on Planetary Nuclear Aesthetics.

The research aims to decolonize the European nuclear waste site marker project focused on ‘Records, Knowledge and Memory (RK&M). Following the path of uranium from Europe back to mines in Australia enables new conversations with aboriginal artists whose 60,000 year knowledge of radioactivity in the landscape could offer new insights to the European working groups on how to embed records, knowledge and memory of radioactive waste within culture for future generations. New aesthetic theories of nuclear decoloniality will be investigated in relation to nuclear sites and communities in Europe and Australia; leading to a new publication and research events.

The research will investigate how deep time intergenerational story telling from Sickness Country in the Norther Territories of Australia can inform and develop more complex and nuanced understanding of deep time memory work required for high level radioactive waste storage sites in Europe and beyond. Research questions include: How can theoretical work on nuclear aesthetics create a new decolonial geo-politics or planetarity of nuclear traces over time and space? What are the aesthetic relationships between decontamination and decolonization? How can Europe (and the EU as represented by Euratom, NEA and OECD) acknowledge its nuclear colonialism by respecting and integrating indigenous knowledge and in- person representation into twenty-first century working groups on radioactive waste management and site marking?

Latest update: 2023-11-08