Writing about British culture in the Nuclear age

The old saying goes that art reflects life, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there is a direct link between technology, science, history and art.

Dr. Catherine Jolivette, associate professor of art and design at Missouri State University, will soon release a new book, “British Art in the Nuclear Age” (Ashgate, 2014), which addresses the role of art and culture in the realm of nuclear science and technology, atomic power and nuclear warfare in Cold War Britain.

“Researching for this book really brought to light that there was no one homogenized response to living in the atomic age. Past historians have had a tendency to generalize about everybody living under a cloud of anxiety and fear,” Jolivette said.

The book, which is a collection of nine original essays by international colleagues in a number of disciplines, builds upon her previous book on landscape and art in Britain in the 1950s that only touched briefly on how changes in science and technology were perceived by British artists during the mid-20th century.

“It’s not just about militarism or nuclear weapons. It was also about the hopes and potential of science for good, and holding those two things in balance,” Jolivette said.

Being British herself, she is excited to be part of the landscape of this part of art history.

She finds inspiration in engaging in dialogues with colleagues outside of her discipline at conferences, and is currently collaborating with a group of other scholars on finding funding for a mobile application related to their collective research.

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  • Billie Follensbee


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