James Lester

James Lester


My current research examines how artists, particularly conceptual artists have used radioactive materials, gas and other dispersable media in the lens of the Nuclear Anthropocene. Using 1945, the first atomic bomb test, as my framing point I look at how we live in and experience artworks that have infinite dispersal, incomprehensible temporality and how these works penetrate out bodies. The concept of hyperobjectivity grounds my research into Object Oriented Ontology as I navigate conceptual art’s place in a theory dominated by visual arts and interrogate how anthropogenic materials fit into a methodology famed for it’s non-anthropocentic view. 

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. 

2021 Climate Scholar at The Priestley International Centre for Climate with 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 Culture and Nuclearity
Radiation and Radioactivity
The Hyperobject
Object-Oriented Ontology
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