Maps to the Stars

  • Image of the Cassiopeia constellation from Sky Guide. By Alicja Kwade

    Alicja Kwade, Cassiopeia constellation. From Sky Guide © 2015 Fifth Star Labs LLC.

Past Event


This event was on Thu 6 Apr 2017, 7pm

Prepare to embark on a journey through time and space with expert guides Marek Kukula (Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich) and Melanie Vandenbrouck (Curator of Art, Royal Museums Greenwich).

Prompted by Alicja Kwade’s commission Medium Median (28 Sep 2016 – 25 Jun 2017) this event delves into the relationship between astronomy, art and culture, charting the history of star mapping and the desire to locate ourselves within the universe.

The two-part event includes a tour of the Kwade installation from an astronomer’s perspective, followed by an illustrated talk and discussion, ranging from the Big Bang to the end of the Universe and exploring humanity’s attempts to depict the cosmos, from high art to the Hubble Space Telescope.

In association with Royal Observatory Greenwich, Royal Museums Greenwich

About Marek Kukula

Dr Marek Kukula is Public Astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich. Marek obtained his doctorate in Radio Astronomy from Jodrell Bank Observatory then carried out research into distant galaxies and quasars at a number of centres including the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. As the Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich Marek’s role is to engage the public with astronomy and space science via talks, planetarium shows, exhibitions and the media. He has worked extensively with artists and historians to explore the cultural impact of astronomical research and in 2015 he co-curated dark frame / deep field, an exhibition of contemporary art and vintage NASA photographs. Marek is the author of The Intimate Universe and the co-author of The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who, both published in 2015.

About Melanie Vandenbrouck

Dr Melanie Vandenbrouck is Curator of Art at Royal Museums Greenwich. She started her curatorial career in the Sculpture Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where she looked after objects small and big, from medals to Trajan’s column in the Cast Courts. She continues this exploration of scale at Royal Museums Greenwich through the collision of art and science, looking at how artists as amateur astronomers, and astronomers as amateur artists, make the unfathomable depths of the universe intelligible.  A first foray into this reflection was the exhibition dark frame / deep field, which she co-curated with Marek Kukula in 2015. Her other research interests include photography, sculpture, and war art.

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