Programme: Art - PhD/MPhil

Start date: 09/2021

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Thawing the Nuclear Mammoth - Creative Responses to Nuclear Weapons

Michael Trainor is a practising artist and PhD student at Edinburgh College of Art researching the history of ‘Creative Responses to Nuclear Weapons’ and developing new artworks and language that renew our 'stuck' relationship with them

He has been a professional artist and art commissioner for over 20 years with works including large scale interventions in the public realm, major exhibitions, art events and evolving projects with communities that unfold over many years. 

He was Artistic Director and CEO of Arts Council England’s flagship ‘LeftCoast’ organisation in Blackpool (2013-17). During this tenure he conceived and lead the development of ART B&B - an artist designed hotel which opened in 2019 as a fully functioning community business re-investing back into local creative talent development and artistic commissioning.

He works across multiple media and practice  methodologies depending on the nature of the idea to be realised.

He is a Clore Fellow.

Michael is a tutor on the History of Art 2nd year undergraduate programme (eighteenth century to contemporary art) at ECA.

Research Interests:

Representations of nuclear weapons in art (visual, film, graphic design, literature) and popular culture (music, games, ephemera).

Social and political activism and protest art.

Nuclear semiotics (strategies for communicating the dangers of radioactive storage facilities to future civilisations).

The nuclear sublime and nuclear voyeurism (the horror and appeal of extreme devastation).

Temporality in relation to the effects of nuclear weapons on society, futurism and speculative art and architecture.

Civil Defence and other lapsed strategies (bunkers, organised volunteer groups and government advice).

Semantics and language in relation to public information and debate.

Research Outputs:

1. The Last Art Show - new artworks generated by the forces of nuclear explosions.

2. The Noah Initiative - strategies for preserving arts and cultural artefacts beyond nuclear war.

3. My Nuclear Museum - collection charting the changing attitudes to nuclear anxiety and acceptance through print, ephemera and objects (since 1945).

4. Will Nuclear War Affect House Prices? - public engagement performance (Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CODI) and elsewhere).