Current Students

Karen Rann

  • Geography, Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast
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The contour line has been used to represent relief on British maps since the early nineteenth century. Now taken for granted, the history of the line’s origins and eventual adoption on British maps was tortuous and contentious. This project will provide a new, detailed cultural history of the contour line in the period 1778-1860 through reconstructions of several key moments crucial to the invention and adoption of contouring. The research will aim to recover the place-specific cultural and technical assumptions that informed the use of, and resistance to, contours on maps and will seek to imaginatively recreate the material challenges and aesthetic judgements that guided decisions about how to represent relief.

Supervisory Team: Dr Diarmid Finnegan, Culture and Society (Queens University Belfast), Prof. Keith Lilley, Culture and Society (Queens University Belfast), Dr David Fairbairn, Engineering (Newcastle).

Start Date: October 2018