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Research will delve into our rich layers of history
HAVING scaled some of the tallest buildings in Europe, an urban explorer is setting his sights on Oxford’s dreaming spires.
Dr Bradley Garrett, who lives in Jericho, first hit the headlines after climbing up the Shard in London to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks over the capital as 2010 turned into 2011.
On Monday night he was involved in another stunt, draping The Angel of the North in Gateshead with a scarf, and he has already climbed to the top of Carfax Tower in Oxford – but on that occasion took the stairs.
Dr Garrett, 31, recently took up his researcher in technological natures role at the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University on an 18-month salaried research position, and now hopes to be able to explore the buildings of Oxford.
The role is entirely funded by the school but Dr Garrett refused to discuss his salary.
The post-doctoral research position will allow him to write a book on urban exploration and carry out new research on space exploration.
Dr Garrett said: “All of my work is about uncovering the hidden in the world. But the urban exploration project really proved that hidden places don’t have to be out there in a distant land, they are also right here under our feet all the time.
“That’s definitely that case for a place like Oxford where you have 1,000 years of rich layers of history below you all the time walking through the city.
“Geography at Oxford is really dynamic and cutting edge and I feel that they have really recognised that my research is also cutting edge, both in terms of the topics I choose to research and my use of photography and video.”
His previous adventures were part of his PhD at Royal Holloway in London, researching off-limits urban spaces.
This also took him into the sewers of Paris and London and into the ghost stations of the London Underground. He is now writing about these experiences for a book.
In July, he also visited Cambodia, travelling to remote villages to film a video about people’s lives.
Dr Garrett added: “A lot of people see academic theses as boring so I try and make it a bit more interesting. I went up the Shard half a dozen times – but I have hacked many more interesting buildings, including visiting Down Street station, which contained some of Churchill’s old World War Two bunkers.”
Before his urban exploration work, he started as an archaeologist and a scuba diver, spending time diving, photographing and mapping shipwrecks, including the SS Yongala in Queensland, Australia in 2006.