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Dr Rob La Frenais is an independent contemporary art curator, working internationally and creatively with artists entirely on original commissions. He believes in being directly engaged with the artist’s working process as far as possible, while actively widening the context within which the artist can work.

Peter Mathews  (Chthonic)


Peter has a degree in

Natural Environmental

Engineering and an

MSc in Renewable

Energy from

Newcastle University.


He is working on chthonic,

investigating ways of

generating electricity down

Smallcleugh mine from its limited resources.

Dr Jurgen Schmoll was born in Germany in 1970, he developed an interest in astronomy around the age of 12, influencing the career path. Studied physics in Bonn/Germany before doing his PhD in astrophysics at Potsdam/Germany. Since the year

2000 Working at the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation (CfAI) of Durham University.


Current work focuses mostly on design, integration and test of optical components used in astronomical research. Projects include the high resolution spectrograph SALT-HRS, the dark energy survey instrument DESI, the balloon borne telescope SuperBIT and the Cherenkov Telescope Array CTA.


Strong private interest in astronomy as well, having built various telescopes and observatories for private use mostly in the field of deep sky imaging.


Involved in outreach and member of committees of various astronomical groups as Kielder Observatory, Teesside Astronomical Science Centre (TASC), Cleveland and Darlington Astronomical Society (CaDAS) and Durham Astronomical Society (DAS).


Jurgen was the technical advisor for the architectural competition for the North Pennines Community Observatory at ACA.

Dr Ted Nield holds a doctorate in geology and works for the Geological Society of London as editor of the monthly magazine Geoscientist. A former chair of the Association of British Science Writers, he was a goodwill ambassador for the UN International Year of Planet Earth in 2008. He is a fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the Meteoritical Society. His first book, SUPERCONTINENT: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet, was published in 2007 (Granta/Harvard University Press). He lives in London.

The Science Factory - A literary agency for curious minds

Dave Pritchard has worked for over 30 years in a variety of research, policy, legal, management and governance roles in the worlds of environmental policy, cultural heritage and the creative arts.  He is now a consultant for bodies ranging from the UN Environment Programme to the Arts Council.  Dave also coordinates the Culture Network of the Convention on Wetlands and is a member of the international Ecoart Collective.  In the UK he chairs the Arts & Environment Network and is a Trustee of Queens Hall Arts.

Dr Fran Rowe is a researcher at Newcastle University. Based in the Centre for Rural Economy she is currently investigating arts practices in a rural context, focussing on contemporary visual arts. Fran has a long association with ACA, through the University and as a rural development consultant. Before joining the

University she worked for One North East, the regional development agency and during the early 2000s was chairman of Northumberland National Park and a Board member of the Countryside Agency.  Fran will be assisting ACA with its evaluation of ‘As Above, So Below’, focussing on the artists, their experience of being a non-urban location and their response to the complexities and challenges of the place we call ‘rural’.

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