Karen Rann

After years away from academia, the MA in 2017 presented an opportunity to reinvestigate my concerns regarding place and space. As a result of this I am very excited by the prospect of opening my practice to more ‘artist led’ projects, and to pursue my interest in space and place through a concern with its presentation as lines on maps; I am delighted to be furthering this through PhD studies.

Deep Water
Deep Water Performance: Hungary, 1994
(see Research Led)


2018 - Queens University Belfast, PhD (AHRC funded).
2016 - 17 Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin, MA (distinction) Fine Art.
1992 - 94 Fine Art Academy, Budapest, Hungary, post-graduate Scholarship.
1979 - 82 Hull College of Higher Education, BA Hon's Fine Art.


Rann, Karen and Robin S. Johnston. “Chasing the line: Hutton’s contribution to the invention of contours.” Journal of Maps (March, 2019)

Rann, Karen. The Great Lines Project: an exploration of the history of contour lines. Newcastle: self-published, 2016. ISBN 978-0-9933496-2-1.


Field, Kenneth. Cartography: A compendium of design thinking for mapmakers. London: Esri Press, 2018. [Two images with text].

Rann, K. & N. White. “Brodick Castle and Country Park, Isle of Arran.” In Artistic Reflections: Year of Natural Scotland, edited by S. Christie, 39–44. Creative Scotland, Glasgow: Bain & Bain, 2017.

Rann, K. & V. M. Sturdza. “Imagination in Bukarest.” In Mapping Culture: Aspekte der Kulturvermittlung in Südosteuropa, edited by KulturKontakt, 101–114 Vienna: Erhard Löcker, 2012.

Rann, K. “Place.” In A Widening Field: Journeys in Body and Imagination, edited by M. Tuffnell & C. Crickmay, 167 & 225. Alton, Hampshire: Dance Books Ltd, 2004. [Two images with texts]


International Conference on the History of Cartography, Amsterdam. Paper: A line drawn: the tortuous progress of contours onto British Maps. July 2019.

International Cartography Conference, Tokyo. Paper: Reconstructing the lost contours of Charles Hutton. Karen Rann a, David Fairbairn b*, Ella Southern c. *Corresponding author. July 2019. https://www.abstr-int-cartogr-assoc.net/1/307/2019/ica-abs-1-307-2019.html

Durham and Newcastle Postgraduate Workshop “Authorial Voices across Time, Space and Cultures”. Paper: The Power of the Written Word in Ephemeral Art. May 2019.

Charles Close Society, Cambridge University Library. Talk: The Great Lines Project: Charles Hutton’s contribution to the invention of contours. October 2018.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre, “Lines of Attraction”. Talk: Exploring the invention of contours and other depictions of mountain on map. April 2018.

Cultural Significance of Place Research Group, Newcastle University. Paper: A History of the Invention of Contour Lines: the contenders. December 2017.

British Cartographic Society & Society of Cartographers, Conference: Maps for Changing Reality. Paper: The Great Lines. Redworth, Co. Durham. September 2017.

GeoConnect Conference. Paper: The Great Lines. ExCel, London. October 2017.


2017 – 18 Facilitator, Art for the Brain Fine Studios, Fine House Farm.
2016 Trustee for charity Visual Arts in Rural Communities (VARC).
2010 – 15 VARC, special schools project coordinator.
2005 – Freelance Artist at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
2005 – 11 Creative Partnerships, Agent & Practitioner.
2002 – 04 Fine Art Department, Newcastle University, occasional projects for students: content via context (1/04), proportional representation (10/02), deep space (2-3/02).


2018 - 19 Arts Council England, Award for Dignitree project.
2018 Creative Scotland, Award for the Lines of Attraction project.
2016 Arts Council England, Award for Great Lines Project.
2012 Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Sunderland University, an AHRC-funded project mentoring and coaching ‘emerging’ artists on ‘good practice’.
2011 Artists in Creative Education (AiCE) mentoring international artists, devising a handbook, talks, workshops & related research.
2007 Arts Council England, Award for creation of space for Open Studio events.
2007 Tynedale Business Expansion Grant, Award (also for the above).
2005 Arts Council England, Award for ‘Traverser’ at Tynemouth Metro Station.
2004 Arts Council England, Cultural Business Venture Award for new equipment and website.
2004 Tynedale Business Expansion Grant for website.
1991 Richard Mills Travel Fellowship to research and set up an exchange between young people in Hull & Budapest.
1990 Henrietta Bowder Travel Bursary for travel and research in Eastern Europe.

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