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Antarctic Artist in Residence: Application information

Antarctic Artist in Residence: Application information

Friends of SPRI / HMS Protector Artists in the Antarctic Programme
Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), University of Cambridge


Sponsored by Bonhams

Shelly Perkins

Antarctic artist 2016/17: Shelly Perkins

Shelly Perkins visited the Antarctic in early 2017. Shelly uses a technique that blends traditional illustrative drawing with digital technologies to create beautifully rich images of landscapes and wildlife.


Applications are invited for an artist to join HMS Protector for a three to four week placement during the Antarctic summer season in January to April 2018.

Applications in the form of a curriculum vitae with a covering letter and sample of previous work (no more than five items) with the names and addresses of two referees, should be sent to Mrs Celene Pickard, Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1ER, email:

Closing date: 27 October 2017. Interview date: 9 November 2017.

Criteria for participation

One place is available for a three to four week placement on board HMS Protector during the Antarctic summer season in January-April 2018 for the successful applicant. Suitable applicants will need to demonstrate that they have already produced a serious body of work, which may have been recognised by honours, awards or appointments to academic or professional positions. The programme will not accept applications from students. At present only UK nationals over the age of 18 may apply.

Applicants will need to provide a clear plan explaining why a visit to the Antarctic (which may include the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands and the south Sandwich Islands depending upon the ship's work period) would support their artistic practice, and what outcomes they envisage. They will need to identify and define the audience they believe their works will attract and interest, and how they intend to reach them. The size of the audience is not necessarily the key factor as projects may be able to define small but important groups who may not know much about the Antarctic. The successful application will show an active collaboration with galleries or similar organisations, appropriate to the artistic genre, which can support access to the audiences identified in the application. The application, including CV, should be no longer than eight sides of A4, minimum 11 point font.

HMS Protector can accommodate artists working in traditional media only. You will be expected to supply your own working materials and equipment and will need to arrange to carry this as part of your luggage allowance during transit to and from the ship.

The successful applicant will need to satisfy the Royal Navy that they are medically fit before being accepted. The Navy must be informed of any medical conditions and long term medication, which may preclude embarkation – e.g. epilepsy, coronary issues, diabetes, previous cold weather injuries and so on. All medical information disclosed would be dealt within the strictest confidence by the ship's GP.

How to apply for the Artists Programme


To apply you must send a letter of application and attach your CV. This application should not exceed eight sides of A4, minimum 11 point font. The application should be accompanied by whatever examples of previous work you wish the selection panel to use in considering your case (electronic copies are acceptable). We would especially welcome applications where the applicant is able to provide copies of correspondence showing commitments by publishers, galleries etc. to supporting the dissemination of your output after their return.

Artists supported by the programme scheme must follow the command structure on Akademkc Sergey Vavilov, and comply with UK legislation regarding Health and Safety at all times. Please also be aware that there is special environmental policy covering the Polar Regions, we expect the Artist in Residence to follow best practice wherever possible.

The deadline for completed applications is 27 October 2017. No additional material can be added to an application after this date. Material sent in support of an application will not be returned unless requested. Applications should be addressed to Mrs Celene Pickard, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER.

Hints for applicants

Please note that the competition is not open to photographers.

If any series of works needs to be viewed in a particular order please make this clear and number them appropriately. Supporting material may be sent on CD and DVD.

Please ensure that all material is labelled with your name and make it clear if you wish it to be returned.

Evaluation of applications

The assessment of applications will be on a competitive basis by an independent review panel who will make recommendations to the Friends of SPRI. Assessment will take place in April and the results will be communicated as soon as possible thereafter. The decision by the panel is final.

In assessing applications the panel will be requested to consider:

  1. The capabilities, professional reputation and track record of the applicant.
  2. The originality and innovation of the approach.
  3. The relevance to scientific, cultural or historical research.
  4. The feasibility of the proposed outcome.
  5. The potential for a significant audience and the efforts made to reach it.

Support for successful applicants

Courtesy of generous sponsorship from Bonhams, the internationally known fine-art auctioneers and valuers, the Friends of SPRI will provide travel funds for the successful applicant to reach the ship or the connecting port. This will involve flying by a commercial airline for which tickets will be booked by the Friends of SPRI. Up to £200 will be available to cover travel within the UK, on production of valid receipts.

As insurance cover is not provided by the Royal Navy or the Friends of SPRI, you should take out your own insurance prior to departure to the Antarctic. Please note that this should cover any equipment and personal effects and any particular activities, such as helicopter flights and transiting Antarctica.

The Royal Navy will not be able to provide polar clothing. All travel and accommodation within the Antarctic will be met by HMS Protector; subsistence will be met by the Friends of SPRI.

Every effort will be made to provide all the necessary support for the successful participant but the Antarctic visitor must accept that the primary purpose of the logistics is to enable and support the scientific research and supply programmes. Operational requirements of these programmes and weather conditions may unfortunately limit opportunities for the visitor at some times. There may therefore be only a limited number of landings in the Antarctic.

The costs of completing the work and publishing or exhibiting it will be the responsibility of the successful applicant. Friends of SPRI Artists in residence are encouraged make a proposal to The Polar Museum's exhibition programme, however there are limited spaces available and an exhibition at the museum is not guaranteed. The author or originator of any work resulting from this programme will retain full copyright over the work but the successful applicant will be required to enter into an agreement with the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute to:

  1. provide a report on their project to SPRI on completion of the Antarctic visit
  2. deposit a copy of any subsequent printed or published work that draws on their residency with SPRI
  3. provide a gift of one original artwork or (for print-makers) a limited edition print to be held in the permanent collections at SPRI
  4. provide a gift of one original artwork to be donated to the Friends of SPRI for charitable fundraising purposes
  5. provide a gift of one original artwork to be donated to the Royal Navy.
  6. agree to the educational use of artistic material from the project without special permission but with full acknowledgement
  7. agree to acknowledge the Scott Polar Research Institute, the Friends of SPRI, Bonhams and the Royal Navy in all credits and promotional material for any instance where artwork arising from the residency is exhibited or published.