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Lectures open to the public

Lectures open to the public

Friends' Lectures

The Friends' Lectures is our main series of lectures which take place regularly throughout the year and are open to all. These are organised by the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Occasional lectures


Additional special lectures are held from time to time and will be listed here.

Dr Ian Willis speaks at the Cambridge Alumni Festival 2013Dr Ian Willis speaks at the Cambridge Alumni Festival 2013

Dr Ian Willis gave a talk entitled "Climate Change and the Greenland Ice Sheet" at this year's Cambridge University Alumni Festival. It drew upon the latest research in this region of the Arctic, including his own work investigating the effects of ice sheet melting, surface lake filling and draining, and glacier acceleration. It took place in the Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue on Saturday 28th September, 1:30 – 2:30. Further details about this and other events can be found at the Alumni Festival website.

Public lecture

in association with the SCAR History Expert Group and the SCAR Social Sciences Action GroupSCAR SSAG logo

Tuesday 2nd July, 6pm - SPRI Lecture Theatre

Klaus Dodds, Royalty and Loyalty: Queen Elizabeth Land and British Antarctic Territory

Professor Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway, University of London) researches in the areas of geopolitics, media/popular culture and the international governance of the Antarctic and the Arctic.

This talk takes as its starting point the decision by the UK government to name a part of the Antarctic Queen Elizabeth Land (2012) and the role of Ngai Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon and Prime Minister John Key in jointly uncovering the totara carving in a formal ceremony at Scott Base in the Ross Dependency (2013). In their different ways, both moments remind us that, in Patricia Seed's terms, there is no shortage of evidence of 'ceremonies of possession' when it comes to the geopolitically contested Antarctic continent. While the British case was arguably a response to continued Argentine contestation (as much as it was recognising Queen Elizabeth's II Diamond Jubilee), the New Zealand example was empowered by an attempt to consolidate genealogical and geographical connections between the metropolitan centre and the periphery, and between the colonial and post-colonial state.
These two examples serve as an entree into an interest in how claimant states such as the UK and New Zealand continue to build and reproduce an attachment to polar territory. I pose a series of questions as part of my interest in this attachment process. How do ceremonies involving naming and transplanting material objects contribute a normative force necessary to promote both attachment but also generative of warning to others who might covet such territory? How does a territorial claimant maintain an attachment to a particular part of Antarctic territory? Do such ceremonies of possession carry with them a risk of failure? And is there a large problem lurking here involving a treaty-based regime capacities to mange and regulate claimant and non-claimant behaviour in a context of growing anxieties regarding resource exploitation, climate change and icy instabilities, and polar nationalisms.

All welcome, no booking required

An archive of previous lectures is available.