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Nuclear Submarine, Coulport, Scotland. Photo: Ele Carpenter, 2013Nuclear Submarine, Coulport, Scotland. Photo: Ele Carpenter, 2013

Nuclear Culture


Nuclear Culture is curatorial research project led by Ele Carpenter, in partnership with the Arts Catalyst and Goldsmiths College, University of London. Supported through an AHRC early career research fellowship 2012-13, and Arts Council England.

Related links

Nuclear Culture website

Singularly Assured Destruction 1870-2013

Nuclear Culture on Film , April 2013


The Nuclear Culture research project began with an invitation by the Submarine Dismantling Project Advisory Group (SDP-AG) to investigate how artists might respond to the process of dismantling British nuclear submarines. Artists are invited to consider the aesthetic, conceptual, ethical and cultural concerns of nuclear submarines in conjunction with experts in the field. Three groups of artists are developing new work in response to the culture of submarines, decay rates, and the architectures of decision-making: Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead; Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson; and Lise Autogena.

Nuclear knowledge and experience changes the way in which we see and understand the world. Internationally, artists are making work in direct response to the nuclear cycle of weapons, energy and waste. Their practices contribute to a conceptual enquiry into the characteristics of radioactive materials across time, including aesthetic, material and social-political concerns. Specific areas of enquiry include: the invisibility of the nuclear economy, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown, geological waste storage, the Anthropocene, and nuclear humanities.

The key areas of the research are discussed in a report on the Nuclear Culture Symposium co-authored by Ele Carpenter & Jantine Schroeder, Antwerp Uni. 2013, available here

The project involves artists’ field trips, commissioning new work and curating exhibitions, film screenings and interdisciplinary symposia, and public talks:

Nuclear Culture Symposia:

Panning for Atomic Gold, symposium, The Arts Catalyst, 2014 (tbc)

Actinium exhibition & forum, S-AIR, OYOYO Sapporo, Japan, July 2014. Supported by the Daiwa Foundation

Nuclear Culture, workshop and film screenings, The Arts Catalyst, April 2013

Public Talks

Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary, Ele Carpenter. Continuity of Cold War Systems Symposium, Westminster University, London, Feb 2014

Cultural Challenges of Visualising Radioactive Waste, Ele Carpente, Lise Autogena, Cecile Massart. InSOTEC Seminar, Berlin, Nov 2013

Art and Nuclear Culture, Ele Carpenter. OYOYO, Sapporo, Japan. Oct 2013

Nuclear Culture, Ele Carpenter. Transnational Perspectives on Nuclear Culture Symposium, 24th International Congress History of Science, Technology & Medicine, Manchester, July 2013

Nuclear Nation Ele Carpenter Q&A with film director Atsushi Funahashi, Open City Docs Fest, London, 2013

Artists Field Trips

  • Tomari Nuclear Power Plant & Horonobe Underground Research Lab, Hokkaido, Japan, 2014
  • S-AIR Sapporo, Aichi Triennale, Japan, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • LLW Ltd, Cumbria, UK, Jon Thomson, Alison Craighead, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • Cove Park Residency, Rosneath Peninsula, Scotland, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • HMS Courageous, Devonport Plymouth, UK. Nick Crowe, Ian Rawlinson, Susan Schuppli, Lucia Garavaglia, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • MoDeRN Conference, EU Commission, Luxembourg, Nick Crowe, Ele Carpenter, 2013
  • Aldermaston Womens’ Peace Camp, UK, Lise Autogena, Ele Carpenter, 2012

Nuclear Culture website

The Nuclear Culture website publishes research articles, reviews, interviews and information about creative research, field trips and art practice