Call for Papers  

Speaker Biographies

Name: Tina Burchill

Abstract Title: Dark Fire: Dimensions of Luminosity in the Chthonic

Tina Burchill is a recent graduate (with distinction) of the very first MA in Myth and Ecology, accredited by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, stepping back into academia some 30 years after gaining a BA (Hons) Humanities.

She discovered mythology at the West Country School of Myth and has worked with Dr Martin Shaw for nearly 10 years, in 2018 completing a four-year training as a wilderness vigil guide.

>Tina, who lives on the edge of Dartmoor, is particularly interested in tracing the roots of mythology into the ancestral past and piecing together the fragments of a different worldview.

She has previously followed a career in journalism that included working as a freelancer for national magazines and newspapers, re-training as a homeopath 13 years ago. She is currently making use of her varied skill set, maintaining a small homeopathic practice, as well as working as a consultant in marketing and event management.

Name: Nicholas Campion

Abstract Title: Dawn: Exploring Sunrise

Nicholas Campion is Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture, Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts and Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He is Programme Director of the University's MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. His books include the two-volume History of Western Astrology (London: Continuum 2008/9), Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions (New York: New York University Press, 2012) and The New Age in the Modern West: Counter-Culture, Utopia and Prophecy from the late Eighteenth Century to the Present Day (London: Bloomsbury 2015).and his current projects include the six volume Cultural History of the Universe (Bloomsbury, forthcoming), for which he is General Editor.

Name: Thomas Gazis

Abstract Title: 'The Paradox of "Dark" Middays and "Luminous" Midnights in the Greek Landscape and Literature!'

Thomas D. Gazis was born in Athens, Greece. He is a graduate of the Polytechnic of Turin faculty of Architecture. He is specialized on "Ambiental Psychology"!

At the same time, he is an astrologer, writer and international speaker. He participated in many seminars and congresses in Italy and in Switzerland. In 1986 he completed his Diploma in Architecture and returned to Greece.

Thomas Gazis is the author of three Greek books entitled "Synastry, The Astrology of Human Relationships" and "The New 3rd Millennium's Astrology" and "Byzantine Astrology" (under publishing). He has written articles for the Italian "Linguaggio Astrale" bulletin, for "American Astrology" (his article "The Living Zodiac" was published on the July 2003 issue) and for "Horoscope Guide" (his article "The Zodiac Banquet" was published on the April 2004 issue).

In 1994 and 1997 he respectively lectured at the two International Astrology Conferences of Venice - Italy ("Alexander's the Great Horoscope" and "Byzantine Astrology"). Next, in 1996 and 1997 he lectured at the London's History of Astrology Seminars ("Early Byzantine Astrology", "Late Byzantine Astrology"). In 1997 and 1998 he lectured at two major Spanish astrology conferences (Barcelona - "For a Universe-centric astrology", Arousa - "Ancient Greek Proto-astrology"). In July 2002 he lectured at Montpellier's, France south European (F.A.E.S.) conference ("The latent synastric elements"). In 2006 he lectured at Valencia's - Spain 4th FAES conference ("Byzantine Astrology: the Bridge between Antiquity and Renaissance"). On November 2007 he lectured at Valencia Spain (for the "Jornadas Mondiales de Astrologia" conference) ("Psellos - Metochites: Two Byzantine Prime - Ministers "Astrologers")!

Name: Jessica Heim

Abstract Title: Communities Engaging in Dark Sky Friendly LED Retrofits: A Case Study of Jasper, Alberta

Jessica Heim is currently pursuing graduate studies in Cultural Astronomy through the University of Wales Trinity St. David. In her dissertation research, she is studying community processes relating to dark sky friendly LED retrofits, examining lighting plans and policies, as well as gaining insight into the thoughts of stakeholders and community members about dark skies and lighting changes in their communities. Jessica enjoys engaging in collaborative educational outreach which allows participants to learn more about the connections between culture, science, and the night sky. She is a team member of Native Skywatchers, an initiative led by Professor Annette Lee, which seeks to remember and revitalize indigenous star and earth knowledge.

Jessica's research interests involve exploring human relationships with both sky and land, not only as pertaining to dark skies, but also in regard to ethics and policy issues associated with space exploration and development. She graduated Magna cum Laude from the College of St. Benedict, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Music. In addition to her work with dark skies, she maintains a private piano studio, teaching students of all ages. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, bird watching, and otherwise spending time in the natural world.

Name: Géza Kulcsár

Abstract Title: Fiat lumen: from primordial light to daylight

The speaker, born in 1988 in Cegléd, Hungary is an interdisciplinary scholar and experienced writer and speaker in different topics. He is a PhD candidate in theoretical computer science, with a number of publications and conference talks in that field. A particular interest of him is the philosophy of computer science in the light of Traditional philosophies. Besides that, he published essays in aesthetics, particularly film aesthetics and holds a prestigious Hungarian price for the best essay on the art of Miklós Jancsó (1988). He has many years of experience in studying all of the three major Indo-European languages, Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit, in order to investigate their common primordial features. He stands in close contact with the respective academic communities. He is a decade-long listener of various Hungarian Traditionalist teachers, such as Péter Kecskés and Róbert Horváth. He also has an intensive artistic output, mainly in traditional as well as experimental forms of poetry, bringing that into experimental music, as well as experimenting with generative programming techniques in those musical and sacral visual settings. He plays Hungarian folk instruments.

Name: Kim Malville

Abstract Title: The Cosmogony of Darkness and Light

During the International Geophysical Year Kim spent a year in the Antarctic where he studied the southern aurora. He obtained his BS in physics from Caltech and his PhD in astronomy from the University of Colorado. After receiving his doctorate he was professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan before returning to Colorado.

In 1997 he was a member of the team that revealed the world's oldest known megalithic astronomy at Nabta Playa near Abu Simbel in southern Egypt, earlier than Stonehenge by more than a 1000 years. In 2003 he was involved in the rediscovery of the Inca ceremonial center of Llactapata, previously lost in a cloud forest near Machu Picchu.

Kim is presently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado. At the University of Colorado he department chair and he directed the Honors Program of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. .He is the author or co-author of "Prehistoric Astronomy of the Southwest," "Canyon Spirits: Beauty and Power in the Ancestral Puebloan World," "Chimney Rock: the Ultimate Outlier," and most recently "Machu Picchu's Sacred Sisters: Choquequirao and Llactapata: Astronomy, Symbolism, and Sacred Geography in the Inca Heartland."

Name: Natalie Marr

Abstract Title: Meeting the night halfway: Dark Sky Place as creative milieu

Natalie is an artist and researcher currently working towards a PhD in the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow. Her research is focused on the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park in South West Scotland, its unique approach to dark skies practice, and the various agents involved in shaping its ongoing formation(s).

Name: Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska

Abstract Title: Sides of creation - the role of light and shadow in the Pyramid Texts

Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska is an Adjunct Professor; holds a PhD in Egyptology (2007) from the University of Warsaw, Institute of Archaeology in Poland. She is an Egyptologist philologist and archaeologist. She was a Lecturer at the University of Warsaw from 1998 to 2006, and has been a lecturer and adjunct from 2004 to 2017 at the Pułtusk Academy of Humanities, Pultusk, Poland. She has also been Head of Department of Ancient Cultures from 15 April, 2011 to the present, and Head of Department of Cultures of Africa from 01 July, 2009 to the 14 February, 2011. Presently she is an adjunct and the Head of the Publishing Department in the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. Popielska-Grzybowska's publications include three forthcoming monographs, chapters in three monographs (2005, 2012, 2015), and 48 published articles, 12 forthcoming.

She has been a member of the International Association of Egyptologists since 1998, a member of the Polish Society of African Studies since 2010, a charter member of the Society EDUCARE since 2013; International Society for Ethnology and Folklore since 2014; a charter member of the Stowarzyszenie Uniwersytetów Dzieciecych (=Society of Childrens' Universities) since 2015; and nominated correspondent researcher of the Centro de História d'Aquém e d'Além-Mar Universidade Nova de Lisboa e Universidadee de Açores/Portuguese Centre for Global History in Portugal since November 2015.

She has organised fifteen international conferences; served as editor for 16 volumes of scientific publications, the whole series Acta Archaeologica Pułtuskiensia included. She is the Founder of the University for Children (Pułtusk); organises chatty lectures, workshops, and participated in the IMAX Cinema - educational programme and many others. Her scientific interests concentrate on the religious texts, the Pyramid and the Coffin Texts in particular as well as linguistic worldview studies.

Name: Tamzin Powell

Abstract Title: Night and Day in the Valley: An Ethnography of Witchcraft and Magical Practices in the Welsh Borders

Tamzin Powell is an anthropologist, lecturer/teacher, academic writer and practitioner of Wica (One 'C'). Tamzin published a book in 2017, based on her M. Phil. thesis, which was an ethnographic work looking at the cunning-folk of the Border region between Monmouthshire and the Forest of Dean. This work was completed for Lampeter in 2014 and as a former student of Dr Nick Campion, she has been speaking at conferences - for University Wales, Swansea, Carmarthen, and Lampeter ever since. She has recently combined forces with two other academics, Dr Fiona Bowie and Dr Jack Hunter, associated with Paranthropology, to form a panel. Tamzin hopes to be presenting a paper in Cork Ireland in June 2019.

Tamzin is inspired by pioneer anthropologists and writers such as Margaret Mead, Margaret Murray, Jean Favret-Saada, Sabina Magliocco and Carlos Ginsberg, to name a few. As to immerse oneself into a field for over 6 years changes a person's life; in Tamzin's case it was like a spiritual journey and in her participation observation role, where she had one foot as an observer in one camp and the other as a practitioner in another camp, she found it an immensely powerful experience which she has never forgotten. To suggest in 21st century Britain that there is still witches and Cunning-Folk who will cure ills and create magic, for many academics is a challenge. However, she took this in her stride and now sees the contemporary cunning folk of the Welsh Borders as a testament to Ways and Paths long trodden centuries before; paths that lead to the Greenwood, and to bounded customs, that will be held for future generations to come..

Book description of The Witches Ways in the Welsh Borders: Ethnography of Contemporary and Historical Customs of Cunning Folk Magic. ISBN : 1544091273. Avail:
"This is a delightful and fascinating study of practitioners who currently engage in a cluster of important traditions of spirituality, in an especially beautiful and numinous part of Britain." Professor Ronald Hutton.

Name: Frank Prendergast

Abstract Title: Shadow Casting Phenomena at Newgrange: a postscript 30 years on

Frank Prendergast is an Emeritus Fellow at Technical University Dublin. He is a specialist in Cultural Astronomy and researched in that field since the 1980s. He is a chartered geodetic surveyor and worked in satellite positioning, mapping, navigation and field astronomy. He is also a specialist mine surveyor with extensive experience in the mineral exploration industry. He gained an MSc from Trinity College Dublin in 1990 and a PhD (School of Archaeology) in 2011 from University College Dublin specialising in the study of Neolithic passage tombs. He retired as Head of Spatial Sciences at TU Dublin. Recent significant contributions to interpretative archaeology include his publications associated with the discovery of an Iron Age temple site at Lismullin, Co. Meath. He has contributed three chapters to the Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy published by Springer Reference in 2015. In a forthcoming book Visualising Skyscapes to be published by Routledge (2019) he has an invited chapter entitled The Dark Sky Character of Archaeological Landscapes: Cultural Meaning and Conservation Strategies. This topic is becoming one of increasing importance and he lectures on its relevance to landscapes of prehistoric cultural value. He has also submitted an invited chapter for a book entitled Space, Place and Religious Landscapes' to be published by Bloomsbury as part of their series Studies in Material Religion. A list of his open-access publications is available at In 2018, he acted as managing editor of the Proceedings arising out of the Annual Conference of SEAC-ISAAC-INSAP held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Sixty-three selected papers are published in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry and available on-line at In Ireland, he has acted as a consultant to the Heritage Council and several other heritage organisations. He has also consulted to AECOM in UK as an archaeoastronomical advisor and reviewed for UNESCO and numerous academic journals. Broadcast media have used his archaeoastronomical expertise including national TV and Radio stations in Ireland, Japan and UK including BBC Radio 4 - Losing The Night - Broadcast, available online internationally after the first broadcast on 19th February 2019, on the programme webpage

Name: Valerie Shrimplin

Abstract Title: Shadows in Renaissance Painting: 'Standing between Darkness and Light'

Valerie Shrimplin is currently Senior Research Associate' at Gresham College London (previously the registrar/effectively CEO at the College). She was awarded her PhD for her research entitled 'Sun Symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment'' and has subsequently produced many academic publications focusing on the influence of astronomy and cosmology on art and architecture, particularly of the Byzantine, medieval and Renaissance periods. She is currently the Chair of the series of Conferences on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena (

Key publications and presentations
2019 Invited presentation (3 April), 'The beginning and the end: images of the universe' Ebor lectures, York
2019 Commissioned booklet Anne Boleyn, Pitkin/Pavilion books (publication date June 19)
2018 Invited presentation (November) on 'Michelangelo/Copernicus' in Rome/University of Tuscia
2017 Invited presentation St Cross College Oxford, History and Philosophy of Science conferences on 'Medieval Art and Cosmology'
2017 'Astronomical Imagery in the work of the PreRaphaelites,' Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena ('INSAP X'), Santiago del Compostela
2017 14 February 'Affairs of the Heart: an Exploration of the symbolism of the Heart in Art' (joint with Heart Surgeon Martin Elliott FRCS)
2017 'Sir Thomas Gresham and His Vision for Gresham College', Pitkin/History press, June 2017
2015 'Sir Christopher Wren: Architect-Astronomer', proceedings of INSAP IX, Gresham College
2015 'The Beginning and the End; Images of the Universe' London Gresham College
2014 Michelangelo, Copernicus and the Sistine Chapel: The Last Judgment Decoded, Lambert Academic

2014 'Michelangelo, Copernicus and the Sistine Chapel'
2013 The Gresham Professors of Astronomy 1597-2013' and Cosmological Symbolism in the decorative cycles of mid-Byzantine churches. Proceedings of INSAP VIII, New York
2012 'Michelangelo, Copernicus and the Sistine Chapel' American J Astronomy & Astrophysics
2010 IAU, UNESCO Paris, The Rôle of Astronomy in Society and Culture; paper on Michelangelo
2010 'The Church of San Miniato al Monte, Florence: Astronomical and Astrological Connections', INSAP VI Venice
2003 'Borromini and the New Astronomy' Magdalen College, INSAP IV Oxford
2001 'The beginning and the end: images of the universe' INSAP III, Palermo Sicily
2000 Sun-symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo's Last Judgment, 373pp Truman State University
1999 'Domed Architecture: Image of the Universe' INSAP II, Malta
1990 'Sun-symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo's Last Judgment', 16th century Journal
1989 'Michelangelo and Nicodemism: The Florentine Pietà,' Art Bulletin, 71 (1)

Name: David Stevenson

Abstract Title: Optics and Cosmology: from Ptolemy to Freud

David Stevenson is a recent graduate (with distinction) of the very first MA in Myth and Ecology, accredited by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and has degrees in biology, psychology and fine art.

He has worked with mythologist Dr Martin Shaw at the West Country School of Myth for 15 years, recently offering hour long lectures with students on such concepts such as the origin and nature of the Holy Grail, the sacred and profane, and orality and literacy in stories.

In 2018 he completed four-year training with Dr Shaw to become a wilderness rites of passage guide, the MA forming an intellectual bridge between the experience of that process and the complexities of the rest of life.

He is a strong believer in not discarding traditions in favour of the amnesia of modernism, and of finding a way to re-imagine life as a vibrant and alive part of nature, learning to be humans on the earth benefiting from, as opposed to being prisoners of, more recent technological developments.

David lives on the edge of Dartmoor with his partner, 13-year-old son and Spanish rescue dog.

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