James Lester

James Lester


My research marries the concepts for successful long-term geological nuclear waste storage, with artwork that utilises radioactive materials and requires long-term maintenance and completion. Issues of communication, documentation, redundancy, storage, access, and custodianship influence the success of these artworks that may require 1,000 years or more to pass before they can be safely displayed as the artist intended.

I will examine the implications on future generations for maintaining and interpreting these works and speculate as to whether the artists’ goals are achieveable. Drawing from the documentation of Conceptual Art, folklore, monuments, and rituals, I will align methods and devices employed by artists with reports on geoligical storage recommendations. 

I received my BA from Leeds College of Art in Photography and my MA from Bradford School of Art in Visual Arts (Theory) where my thesis focused on hostile mediums in the work of Hamad Butt. 

I am a 2021 Climate Scholar at The Priestley International Centre for Climate with a specialism in the problem of Nuclear Semiotics and High Level Radioactive Waste Storage using the analogues of climate change issues that stretch beyond political boundaries and incumbent political terms.

Research interests

Nuclear Cultural Heritage
Radiation and Radioactivity
The Hyperobject
Conceptual Art 1969-1971
The work of Robert Barry 


  • MA Visual Arts - Bradford School of Art - 2017
  • BA(Hons) Photography - Leeds College of Art - 2012