The art of nature conservation

Radley, Donna (2020) The art of nature conservation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Corrections) (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Available under Licence Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (19MB)
PDF (Corrections) (Thesis for reader access - any sensitive & copyright infringing material removed) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Available under Licence Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (18MB) | Preview


This original research makes a first attempt to understand some of the origins of the visual culture of UK nature conservation, and how it has developed over the last seventy years or so. The history and communication work of the statutory nature conservation agencies are described using evidence provided through interviews with former and current staff members and analysis of published material. Interviews with wildlife artists and surveys of two specific groups of the public have revealed further information about imagery conveying nature conservation messages.

Overall, and despite some effective initiatives, the English statutory agencies have not made full use of the power of the visual arts to communicate problems of the natural world and to inspire actions to address these problems. This was initially due to a combination of corporate culture and lack of resources, and more recently it has been largely due to restrictions imposed by central Government. Science and facts have been paramount in underpinning policy and communications. Meanwhile, artists, including Artists-in-Residence, and their creative endeavours have stimulated an emotional response to the environment and its problems, with examples of successes in terms of securing funding, increasing voluntary effort and participation, changing behaviour and winnings hearts as well as minds. This research has demonstrated the dichotomy of the two approaches, but found that when brought together art and science can be successful motivators.

Nature conservation visual culture encompasses elements of conservation and creativity, art commissioners and the buying public, land owners and countryside visitors, the welcome and the excluded, science and art, fact and emotion, confrontation and environmental deterioration, memories and aesthetics.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Watkins, Charles
Matless, David
Haines-Young, Roy
Endfield, Georgina
Keywords: Nature Conservation; Nature Art; Wildlife Art
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
Q Science > QH Natural history. Biology > QH 75 Nature conservation. Landscape protection
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Geography
Item ID: 63125
Depositing User: Radley, Donna
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 04:40

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View