Research as Art

Research as Art is a unique competition for researchers at Swansea University, a top 30 research university, and was founded by Dr. Richard Johnston to capture “the diversity and beauty of research.” The competition’s inclusive nature encourages submissions from undergraduate to Professor, and spans all disciplines, from Science and Engineering to Arts and Humanities.

Research as Art was the perfect opportunity to not only share this project but also to showcase a beautiful image of Roman Syria.

Nigel’s explanation of the entry:

This commemorates the destruction of the ancient Temple of Baalshamin at Palmyra in Syria by Daesh in August 2015. I wanted to give some sense of the temple looking back at its own relatively undisturbed two thousand year past (the original colour image), while also looking forward, Janus-like, in the negative image, to an uncertain future of (potentially) further damage or (more hopefully) reconstruction. My original archaeological research was on, and in, Syria, and the photograph is one I took on a visit to Palmyra in 1998. In 2010, my research interests moved on to the field of cultural property protection in conflict zones, but I little imaged how quickly the sites I had studied in Syria would themselves become part of a conflict zone, and threatened, damaged and destroyed by war. As a board member of UK Blue Shield, I work to prevent such damage, while my SPIN undergraduate placement student, Stephanie Brown, digitises my old photographs to make them available online to preserve the heritage of this temple for future research and teaching.

Dr. Nigel Pollard and Stephanie Brown with their entry at the Research as Art prize-giving ceremony.

We were proud to be awarded a runner-up prize at the Research as Art exhibition this week.

We would like to congratulate our colleague, Dr. Heather Hunter-Crawley, who took first place with her wonderful image – especially as it is also from Syria!



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