Ryan Church

B.A Honours (UVic)


Areas of research:

  • Historical Novelist
  • Renaissance & Early Modern Art
  • Biomimetic Designer - Energy, Social & Healthcare: Biome Design


How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
My BA in History in Art has enabled me to write a historical fiction novel: 'A Cormorant's Tale,' a series about the life of Girolamo Ruscelli and the secrets of nature. It is due out in fall 2014.
Jacket Cover:

Is a book worth dying over?

Enter the world of Girolamo Ruscelli: a dreamer, poet, courtier, literary genius, alchemist and scientific visionary. As a boy, he is taken under the wing of the noble Grimani family of Venice before finding his way to University of Padua. There, amongst such thinkers as Nicolas Copernicus and Girolamo Fracastoro - the literati, he is introduced to a redial shift in thought amongst the freedom of the Venetian Republic: the secret’s of nature.
Italy in the 1520s is a tumultuous place where knowledge and power are constantly being turned over by the underworld. Wars among the vying powers of Western Europe, the principalities of Italy and the Papal States have brought much unrest. It is a time of conquest, both at home and abroad. In the east, Sulieman the Magnificent has his sails set to the west, a jihad of cosmic reckoning that will settle the fate of men until Judgement Day. In the minds of the literati, the human condition is being recast; Europe’s mould being set anew. The Lutheran schism that was born in Germany is beginning to spill over the Alps and into Italy; the birthplace of the intellectual and creative explosion that became known as the Renaissance, which the Medici family - now a family of Pope’s - fostered to existence.
Question everything. Clearly, information is power – in some cases, when this information has the power to transform society, secrets are necessary. When these secrets challenge papal authority; when these two opposing ideologies meet, secrets can become deadly. This is the tale of Girolamo Ruscelli, one the greatest experimental scientists that no one has ever heard of, and for good reason …

A Cormorant’s Tale is an epic narrative of science and religion; fate and faith, of love and temptation, of heresy and witchcraft. It expands through the crucible of the scientific revolution that was born in the piazzas and market squares of Italy’s cities in the cataclysmic milieu of war, famine and social unrest. In this cultural sea change of events, art historian R.A. Church takes us on a detailed quest through the topography of Western Europe during the Renaissance: from the aristocracy of the papal court to the squalid existence of the pious peasantry to discover the value of truth in an age of utter subservience and what it can teach us about society today.

Brief Biography
A graduate of the University of Victoria, Ryan is a designer with a passion for the principals of Biomimicry. He has spent time at McGill University and ICORD (UBC) doing research on stem cell based therapies for spinal cord injury and cancer research. His current field of study as a Master of Design Candidate in Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI) at OCAD University involves looking at ways that nature can solve design problems in healthcare and the energy industry. He is currently working on a Next-Generation Wind Turbine that uses biomimetic principles to reduce noise and vibration, decrease bird-strikes, and increase efficiencies, and has founded the company Biomenergy around this venture. In his spare time, he enjoys writing historical fiction novels, his first - due in fall 2014 being, A Cormorant’s Tale - a book about medical knowledge and books of secrets in Renaissance Europe. He also enjoys classical piano, Haida wood carving and old master oil painting.

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