Lionel Playford (2013-2014)

Lionel Playford is developing a Leverhulme Trust funded project at the PSN between Oct 2013 and Aug 2014.

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Geography and Fine Art and places an artist (myself) alongside climate change scientists in the department of Physical Geography (led by Prof John Woodward, international expert in glaciology) who are modelling past climate – paleoclimatology – based partly on data gathered in peat moorland.

The residency aims to explore connections between scientific methods and processes and my artistic practice in an exploration of atmosphere, land and past climate. We live in the atmosphere with just the soles of our feet on the land but I want to join the two realms up, bringing the stuff of land into the sky and noting that the plants themselves take from the sky to build cells which then lay partially decomposed in vast domes and flows of peat building in depth at approximately 1mm per year. The palynologist (Dr Matt Pound) samples the bog to look for pollen and spores from plants on and around the bog blown there by the wind. With this and other data he can estimate what the likely vegitation was at different times in the past which helps build a global picture of past climate.

Visit the project’s page at