Project Details


Addressing the intricacies and urgencies of the air pollution crisis requires the development of novel datasets, visual vocabularies and ‘bottom-up’ tactics that inspire communities. The proposed collaboration between Dr. Engelmann, Professor Adey, Dr. Kuenzel, Dr. Tisan, Dr. Clemitshaw, Dr. Lowry, Dr. France, Dr. Nisbet-Jones and Dr. Fisher will investigate the role of an artistic, community driven project (Aerocene) in exploring and communicating issues of air quality and movement. Aerocene is a global network of researchers, activists, citizen scientists and members of the public who make, launch and fly solar powered balloon-like ‘sculptures’ in order to query the links between fossil fuel extraction, atmospheric inequalities and public health. Since 2015, Dr. Engelmann has been a member and leading advocate of the project.

To this date, and due in part to the project’s primary position in the art world, the air-sensing capacities of Aerocene sculptures have been limited largely to pressure and temperature data. While this project has huge potential for community engagement on issues of air quality, climate and public health, its capacities to make quality assured datasets need to be improved. Combining skills from the arts, geohumanities, earth sciences and electronic engineering, the project team will develop a new prototype for the Aerocene sculpture ‘sensing kit’ that will enable the creation of reliable datasets on air pollution and related variables like air movement. The Creative Methods for Sensing Air grant will focus on the testing and development of prototypes; integration of Aerocene case study materials into existing undergraduate courses in Earth Sciences, Electronic Engineering and Geography (this will implement collaborative student work projects across Schools); and a networking event featuring RHUL-based and invited participants with the goal of developing interdisciplinary networks for air quality research and new forms of data representation aimed toward a larger funding bid in future.
Short titleCreative Methods for Sensing Air
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/21