Frances Rylands

Discipline: Geography

Project Summary

Project Title:

Entanglements of creative practice and policy: Art/Science collaborations along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Funding Body:

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Project Description:

The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site; a compelling landscape of outstanding beauty and universal value.  Due to the early developments of earth science in the region it has been recognized as a key location in the history of scientific knowledge and understanding.  But this is not the only form of enquiry.  The Jurassic Coast is the only World Heritage Site with a formal Arts Programme.  This landscape is a crucible of knowledge, a site of learning, discovery and exploration.  It is a place viewed from many different perspectives and through many lenses.  Often described as a giant classroom, this coast is a meeting point of individuals and organisations, scientists and artists.  This research hopes to undertake an ‘inside-out‘ study of the boundaries between these meeting points, exploring how they are negotiated, tested and broken down.

Initial research questions include:

  • How, and to what end, has the Jurassic Coast Arts Programme and associated collaborations negotiated Arts-Science practice?
  • How do the varied arts-science collaborations along the Jurassic Coast contribute to our understanding of arts-science practice?
  • What are the politics of art-science practice along the coastline?
  • What is the geography of arts governance along the Jurassic Coast WHS?
  • Does the Jurassic Coast Arts Programme encourage participating institutions and governing bodies to ‘imagine’ their sites differently?
  • What arts policy lessons from the Jurassic Coast are transferable to other locations and situations, including other WHS and places with dynamic landscapes?

Supervisory Team

Dr Nicola Thomas

Dr Caitlin DeSilvey



Wider Research Interests

My academic interests include landscape, performance arts, heritage, art history, popular geopolitics and postcolonialism. In addition to my cultural and historical interests within geography I have a strong scientific understanding and have always enjoyed communicating in the languages of both science and art.