Windows to the  universe:  Mapping the values of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park
PhD Research

An interdisciplinary PhD research project at University of Glasgow in the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, with the collaboration and support of Forest Research Scotland and the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park. The project ran from 2016–2020 and will be published by thesis in early 2024.

The project explores the values of International Dark Sky Places, designated areas where communities have pledged to conserve the natural darkness of the night sky. The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park is one such place, awarded with gold tier status from the International Dark-Sky Association in 2009. My project mapped the lifeworlds of the Dark Sky Park, its unique approach to dark skies practice, and the various people, places and practices (human and non-human) that shape and sustain it.

My approach blends site-based ethnography, qualitative research methods and creative enquiry. Following the written thesis, I am developing an alternative Field Guide for the Dark Sky Park, which invites practitioners and stakeholders to explore the different ways we might experience and care-take dark sky landscapes.

My research will be published by thesis in early 2024. Shorter pieces of writing drawn from this project are available to read here:

Creative approaches to dark skies research: a dialogue between two artist-researchers, in Dark Skies: Places, Practices, Communities. 2024. Co-written with Helen McGhie. eds. Nick Dunn & Tim Edensor [open access]

Contact Zones: The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park as Creative Milieu, in Rethinking Darkness: Cultures, Histories, Practices. 2021. eds. Nick Dunn & Tim Edensor.

© Natalie Marr 2024