1st Edition

Dark Skies Places, Practices, Communities

Edited By Nick Dunn, Tim Edensor Copyright 2024
    294 Pages 47 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Dark Skies addresses a significant gap in knowledge in relation to perspectives from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In providing a new multi- and interdisciplinary field of inquiry, this book brings together engagements with dark skies from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, empirical studies, and theoretical orientations.

    Throughout history, the relationship with dark skies has generated a sense of wonder and awe, as well as providing the basis for important cultural meanings and spiritual beliefs. However, the connection to darks skies is now under threat due to the widespread growth of light pollution and the harmful impacts that this has upon humans, non-humans, and the planet we share. This book, therefore, examines the rich potential of dark skies and their relationships with place, communities, and practices to provide new insights and understandings on their importance for our world in an era of climate emergency and environmental degradation.

    This book is intended for a wide audience. It will be of interest to scholars, students, and professionals in geography, design, astronomy, anthropology, ecology, history, and public policy, as well as anyone who has an interest in how we can protect the night sky for the benefit of us all and the future generations to follow.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.

    List of contributors




    Part One: Introduction


    Dark skies: meanings, challenges and relationships

    Tim Edensor and Nick Dunn


    Part Two: Creative engagements with dark places


    Creative approaches to dark skies research: a dialogue between two artist-researchers

    Natalie Marr and Helen McGhie


    Dark skies in southern Scotland and northern England: border-crossing sites for creative experiment and envisioning connectedness

    Ysanne Holt


    The Transparency of Night

    Louise Beer


    Part Three: Sensing dark landscapes


    Nightfalling: Dancing in the dark as an artistic practice

    Ellen Jeffrey


    Sensing Dark Places: Creating thick descriptions of nocturnal time and rhythm

    Rupert Griffiths, Nick Dunn and Elisabeth de Bezenac


    Considering festive Illuminations in Dark Sky places: honouring darkness, creative innovation and place

    Tim Edensor and Dan Oakley


    Part Four: Non-human entanglements with dark skies


    Nature’s calendar, clock and compass: what happens when it’s disrupted?

    Theresa Jones and Marty Lockett


    Preserving Darkness in the Wildwood

    Kimberly Dill


    Darkening Cities as Urban Restoration

    Taylor Stone


    Part Five: Dark sky communities


    Designing with the Dark

    Kerem Asfuroglu


    Who is afraid under dark skies? Four female experts about ‘spaces of fear’, astronomy and the loss of the night 

    Nona Schulte-Romer


    What do we mean by “dark skies”?

    Yee-Man Lam


    Part Six: Dark sky tourism


    Tread Softly in the Dark

    Georgia MacMillan, Hannah Dalgleish, Therese Conway and Marie Mahon


    Nocturnal (Dark) Anthropology: Spotlight on an Ancient Indian Civilization

    Neha Khetrapal


    Beauty Won’t Save the Starry Night: Astro-Tourism and the Astronomical Sublime

    Dwayne C. Avery


    Part Seven: Conclusion


    Under the night: values and futures of dark skies

    Nick Dunn and Tim Edensor


    Nick Dunn is Professor of Urban Design and Executive Director of Imagination, the design and architecture research lab at Lancaster University, UK. He is founding Director of the Dark Design Lab, exploring the impacts of nocturnal activity on humans and non-humans. Nick is a Director of DarkSky UK, promoting more sustainable relationships between the built environment and the night, as well as exploring ways to promote wider and inclusive participation with dark skies. He is the author of Dark Matters: A Manifesto for the Nocturnal City (2016) and co-editor of Rethinking Darkness: Cultures, Histories, Practices (2020). Nick is a keen nightwalker, has curated exhibitions, and given invited talks at both literature and science festivals.

    Tim Edensor is Professor of Social and Cultural Geography at the Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University. He is the author of Tourists at the Taj (1998), National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life (2002), Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality (2005), From Light to Dark: Daylight, Illumination and Gloom (2017) and Stone: Stories of Urban Materiality (2020). He is the editor of Geographies of Rhythm (2010), and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Place (2020), Rethinking Darkness: Cultures, Histories, Practices (2020) and Weather: Spaces, Mobilities and Affects (2020). His most recent book, about a Scottish medieval cross, is Landscape, Materiality and Heritage: An Object Biography (2022).