Categories
Ethnography, Anthropology
Tags
Dark Sky, Wellbeing, Community, Ada Blair

Sark in the Dark

Wellbeing and Community on the Dark Sky Island of Sark

by Ada Blair

Edited by Jennifer Zahrt
ISBN: 978-1-907767-42-5
30 Nov 2016
£10.99 – £15.00
Paperback, ebook; 210 pages

Studies of the beneficial and transformative qualities of encounters with nature typically focus on ‘green’ or grounded nature. In Sark in the Dark, Ada Blair shifts this focus upwards to a refreshing encounter with the richness of the dark night sky. In this book, she documents the research she conducted while at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David into the culture and history of the world’s first designated Dark Sky Island. Through a series of interviews with Sark residents, as well as poignant self-reflections, Blair explores the importance of the dark sky on human wellbeing and community.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
Forward by Marek Kukula
Preface by Nicholas Campion

Chapter 1
Sark the Island and its Dark Sky
The nature of islandness
The journey to becoming a Dark Sky Community
The birth of the Sark Astronomy Society (SAstroS)
Shining the light: focusing the research

Chapter 2
Scanning the Skies: Identifying Themes
The human desire to see the night sky
Commercialisation: Astronomical tourism
Heritage and nostalgia tourism
Fear of the dark
The ‘Nature’ of nature
Nature and wellbeing

Chapter 3
Sharpening the focus: Setting up my research
Research strategy
Gathering the data

Chapter 4
Bifocal Vision: My Results and Discussion
Meaning and significance: The human desire to connect with the night sky
Community: observing the sky with others as a means of building and maintaining family/community connection
Wellbeing: experiencing positive
Feelings through observing the night sky
Nostalgia: childhood memories of the night sky
Fear and fearlessness of the dark
The Dark Sky movement and astronomical tourism
Skyscape and Landscape
Conclusions

Chapter 5
Images Emerge: Present and Future Perspectives
Reflections
Possible Areas for Future Research
Final Thoughts

Appendix
Bibliography
Index

Reviews


‘In this volume Ada Blair explores an important dimension of the dark sky debate. Our relationship with the environment is not just physical, but emotional and imaginative too, and by focusing on the Dark Sky Island of Sark, its people and its stories, we begin to see how individuals and communities might be affected by the presence of cosmic immensities in their everyday lives’. -Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich ‘This is a very timely book on the topic of Dark Skies and wellbeing; Ada Blair intentionally focusses on how the sky, especially dark skies, within nature positively influences us. The most capturing moment is Blair’s realisation that sky stories are written by all of us, and are not merely a theme of folklore and myths’.
~ Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich

‘This is a very timely book on the topic of Dark Skies and wellbeing; Ada Blair intentionally focuses on how the sky, especially dark skies, within nature positively influences us. The most capturing moment is Blair’s realisation that sky stories are written by all of us, and are not merely a theme of folklore and myths’
~ Dr Daniel Brown, Senior Astronomy Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

Author

Ada Blair holds an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from the University fo Wales Trinity Saint David and is an Edinburgh-based psychotherapist and trainer working in higher education, the not-for-profit sector and private practice.

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