Dark Sky Meeting

Exeter College, Oxford, Mon 21st – Thurs 24th March 2022

Image: Radcliffe Camera by night
Credit: Coffee Table Book – Oxford University

With funding from the STFC and support from OPEN, the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford is hosting a small, cross-disciplinary 40-person meeting on dark skies and society (covid-permitting). Unfortunately, as the meeting will be in a workshop format and discussion intensive, we are unable to make it a hybrid event. 

The goals of the dark sky meeting are to bring together academics, practitioners and industry in order to: develop a network; highlight areas of much needed research; exchange knowledge; and determine a course of action for the future. For a recent summary on dark skies and society, you can read this article (open access).

The meeting will be held at the Cohen Quadrangle on Walton Street, a 7 minute walk from the train station. We have also reserved B&B accommodation at the same venue for three nights, at a rate of £77.50 per night. The conference dinner will be held in the dining hall of Exeter College on Turl St. Limited funding for travel and accommodation is available.

The first day of the meeting (Tuesday) will focus on research gaps and the development of the network:

  1. To solidify research ideas around dark skies and society:
    • Socioeconomic benefits (e.g. rural communities, urban planning, crime, lighting, education, tourism, cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge, climate action)
    • People and planet (e.g. ecology; psychology; mental health and wellbeing; public health; fear of the dark; awe, inspiration, and mystery)
    • Communication (e.g. advocacy, science policy, public engagement, creative arts, science fiction)
  2. The future of the network: exploring opportunities for (large-scale) funding / doing research, course of action, public face.

On the second day of the meeting (Wednesday) we will:

  • Exchange knowledge via poster presentations, talks, and workshops.
  • Explore ways to generate impact e.g.
    • how to engage in policy to effect change;
    • how to appeal to the public to create awareness and incite action.
  • Start fleshing out possible project ideas and assigning roles for future work.

Preliminary Schedule

Mon 21stTravel and arrival at the Cohen Quadrangle, Walton St (check-in 2pm onwards)
7.00pm – dinner at Pierre Victoire, 9 Little Clarendon Street
Tues 22nd9.45am – welcome

Talks on dark skies and society – setting the scene:
10.00am – Alejandro Sanchez, satellite data and light pollution trends in the UK and beyond
10.30am – Georgia MacMillan, Mayo Dark Skies and the Planetarium & Observatory project

11.00am – coffee break
11.30am – solidify and explore research ideas on dark skies and society
13.00pm – lunch
14.00pm – future of the network: funding, research, organisation, next steps
15.30pm – tea break
16.00pm – summarising and wrapping up
19.00pm – conference dinner at Exeter College, Turl St
Wed 23rd9.15am – welcome and introductions

Talks on dark skies and society – setting the scene:
9.30am – Kimberly Dill, environmental philosophy & psychology, and bioluminescence
10.00am – Andrew Bissell, “The Red Sea Dark Sky Ambition and Eco Tourism”

10.30am – exhibits
11.00am – coffee break
11.30pm – panel discussion on policy engagement
Panellists: Sophie Spencer, Kerem Asfuroglu, Rob Shaw;
Chair: Robert Massey (RAS)
12.30pm – poster sessions
13.00pm – lunch
14.00pm – parallel workshops (policy case study; nature immersion)
15.30pm – tea break
16.00pm – summarising and wrapping up
free evening – opportunity for networking
Thurs 24th check-out by 10am

In order to attend, please complete the registration form by the 2nd March: forms.gle/3MYj6dqeMc3xjDH79

Organising Committee
Hannah Dalgleish (Chair, University of Oxford)
Garret Cotter (University of Oxford)
Andy Newsam (Liverpool John Moores University)
Niall Smith (Munster Technological University)
Carl Cater (Swansea University / University of the Highlands and Islands)
Gina Maffey (Wildeor Foundation)
Hugh Spackman (University of Oxford)
Natalie Marr (University of Glasgow)
Holly Worrall (Imperial College London)

Please contact hannah.dalgleish[at]physics.ox.ac.uk if you have any queries.