Art, Science, Communication & Antarctica

The following is a repost from an article I wrote for the SCAR Humanities and Social Sciences Expert Group. If you would like to be involved in the group or contribute to the conversation, please visit the HASSEG site and get in touch! 


One of the themes that came through at the SCAR Open Science Conference in Auckland was the need for better communication, both with the public and between disciplines. There is a growing awareness that people do not act based on facts alone, but rather that culture also has a role to play. The role of the human side of our engagement with place and space is increasingly becoming recognized by a wider audience. This theme has also been mirrored in several recent projects, workshops and exhibitions, including those outlines below (and others on our resources page). These extracts indicate that the desire to improve communication and widen the breadth of knowledge about how we interact with the world around us, and the polar regions in particular, is one which is likely to gain momentum over the coming years:

  •  Cape Farewell Project

“Cape Farewell works in partnership with scientific and cultural institutions to deliver an innovative climate programme of public engagement. We use the notion of expedition – Arctic, Island, Urban and Conceptual – to interrogate the scientific, social and economic realities that lead to climate disruption, and to inspire the creation of climate focused art which is disseminated across a range of platforms – exhibitions, festivals,publications, digital media and film.”

  • Can Art Inspire Climate Change Action?

“Culture is a strong ally in this endeavour. Where conventional methods of display and communication deployed in, for instance, commercial spaces target people as consumers, cultural spaces invite people inside and hold their attention and presence in a different way. These spaces are bottom up; they tend to create trust and a feeling of empowerment for the individual. Culture helps us, as individuals and groups to experience our interconnectivity, our interdependence, and may move us to do something together, to act with each other, to become conscious, active members of the ‘global we’.” – Elke Weber

  •  Breaking Ice Symposium

In response to the environmental challenges of the 21st Century, we need to facilitate a new understanding of the world that empowers individuals and enables communities to participate in owning problems and generating solutions. This can only been brought about through new kinds of dialogue between and across disciplines.”

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