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SPRI Review 2003: Projecting the Significance of the Polar Regions

Projecting the Significance of the Polar Regions

Institute staff continue to give considerable time to stimulating public interest in the Arctic and Antarctic through, for example, media work, public lectures, and visits by schools to our polar museum. A number of radio and television programmes undertook interviews and broadcasts with staff, including the Radio 4 science programme Material World. Views and quotations on polar topics, many of which include an emphasis on high-latitude environmental change issues, have also appeared in newspapers and journals, including The Times, The Independent, and The Guardian. Several academic staff participated in Ice Station Zero, a contribution of the UK Natural Environment Research Council to the Royal Society's Summer Exhibition, and Satellite Observations of Antarctica, another exhibition at the Royal Society for the World Climate Research Program Joint Scientific Committee. Arctic Aviators, a documentary film made for the National Geographic channel, was based on SPRI anthropology fieldwork in Siberia. Several staff have given external talks at primary and secondary schools, in addition to academic seminars at British and foreign universities. Our regular series of Saturday evening public lectures also attracts audiences of between 80 and 100.

Our graduate students, once their theses are completed, go on to a variety of careers that are not exclusively academic. They take with them not only the specific skills that they have acquired during their time at the Institute, but also their more general knowledge and appreciation of the significance of the polar regions. After graduating this year, for example, Otto Habeck has become co-ordinator of the Siberian Studies Centre at the Max Plank Institute for Social Anthroplogy in Halle, Germany, while Sean Maher has joined the Canadian Civil Service.