Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Intensity landscape of X-ray speckles


Artist in residence

Kat Austen has been writer-in-residence in the Faculty of Mathematical & Physical Sciences since March 2013. She will be artist-in-residence from March 2015.

“I am a succession of experiences and an assemblage of aspirations. I am a person.”

Kat Austen

Kat’s work explores the changes wrought in culture through technological and scientific advances, the multiple scales of ripples through the environment, social justice and materiality. Her eclectic background incorporates art, writing and research.

Kat Austen
Kat Austen

An internationally exhibited artist, her work explores the networks of influence that surround human existence, playing with multiple scales and resonances. She is the digital artist for The Enlightenment Cafe’s New Atlantis project, and has been artist in residence for The Clipperton Project, Days of Roses, Utter! Spoken Word and Poetry Kapow! She is head of research and design at iilab, focussing on the Open Droplet water sensor project, for which she is working with MSc students in the department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, overseen by Sarah Bell.

A freelance writer, Kat has contributed to a volume on Theory Choice in Chemistry and is contributing to a new book from STS-based History of Chemistry group Ad HoC on Materiality. She has written for Nature, New Scientist, the Ecologist and the Guardian among others, and was an editor for New Scientist for 5 years focussing on the crossover between art and science. She was the founding editor of Penguin’s Think Smarter and consults widely on interdisciplinarity.

Having studied Chemistry at UCL as an undergraduate and gained her PhD in Chemistry from UCL and the Royal Institution in 2006, her scientific studies focus on remediation of polluted environments. During 4 years as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, Kat diversified her modes of research and expression into mixed media artwork and writing.

Kat is now exploring cultural transitions in modes of knowledge production and authority, and evocative means of connecting with data.

She can be reached at k.austen@ucl.ac.uk, or in room 318 of the Department of Chemistry by appointment.