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A Voyage to Antarctica

No Shops and No Hairdressers

Season 1, Ep. 4

We hear plenty about the glories of men like Scott and Shackleton who lived in and explored Antarctica, but what about the women? This week, Alok Jha talks with travel writer Sara Wheeler and UKAHT CEO Camilla Nichol to find out the untold stories of the first women to engage with Antarctica — from the first explorers to the undocumented wives of whalers, and the struggles of women scientists, who were not allowed to conduct research there until the 1970s.

Sarah was the U S National Science Foundation's first female writer in residence at the South Pole. She wrote international bestseller Terra Incognita, and Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard.

Camilla is chief executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. She is a geologist and has worked in the museums and heritage sector for more than 20 years. She's held positions at the Leeds museums and galleries and New York museums trust. When she was working for the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University, she helped uncover a collection of Antarctic rocks collected by James Wordie on Elephant Island. Camilla is a fellow of the Royal geographical society

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  • A Voyage to Antarctica - Trailer

    Alok Jha introduces the first series of UKAHT's new podcast A Voyage to Antarctica.To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first sighting of Antarctica, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust present A Voyage to Antarctica. Through conversations with experts including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Professor Dame Jane Francis, Ruth Peacey, Klaus Dodds and Sara Wheeler, this podcast will reflect on how the world sees and understands Antarctica today, and explore how human interactions with this continent have shifted from discovery, expedition and exploitation to preservation, scientific advancement and hope for a future.UKAHT is the charity championing public understanding of, and engagement with Antarctica through the history of human endeavour in the region. The Trust was set up in 1993 and today looks after the UK’s Antarctic historic sites and objects and invests in global public programmes and education enabling a diverse audience to discover, understand, value and protect this stunning and important part of our planet.The Antarctica In Sight programme is supported by Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 
  • 1. Sir Ranulph Fiennes: To the Ice

    Alok Jha talks to Sir Ranulph Fiennes about the explorers of the past, his experiences of Antarctica and what it actually takes to go there.Sir Ranulph Fiennes is an explorer, author, fundraiser and public speaker. He was described by The Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer” in 1984, and, since then, he has broken many more world records and led many more expeditions to remote regions.  He became, with Charles Burton, the first man ever to have travelled around the Earth's circumpolar surface. His record-breaking expeditions include travel by riverboat, hovercraft, manhaul sledge, skidoo, Land Rover and ski, and have raised many millions of pounds for charity. He is the author of numerous books, including a biography of Robert Falcon Scott. He is also Vice Patron of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. 
  • 2. Professor Dame Jane Francis: Clues to the Climate Crisis

    Antarctica is at the front line of the global climate crisis; in this episode Alok Jha talks to Professor Dame Jane Francis about the history of the continent, and the extraordinary climate research happening there.Professor Dame Jane Francis is a geologist by training, and a palaeobotanist at the British Antarctic Survey. Her research interests include ancient climates and fossil plants from the Arctic and Antarctic, which she uses to decipher ancient polar climates. She was awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to British polar research and was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to UK polar science and diplomacy.
  • 3. How Penguins Can Predict the Future

    Alok Jha talks to conservation filmmaker Ruth Peacey about the history of penguins in the Antarctic, and what studying penguins can tell us about the future of the planet. Ruth Peacey worked with the BBC for over ten years on series including Natural World, Springwatch, Life in the Air and Planet Earth 2. In her spare time, she started documenting the issues surrounding bird persecution in the Mediterranean, which led to a series of projects called ‘Massacre on Migration’. She now specialises in investigating conservation issues all over the world, using videos and social media to shine light on areas of concern. In 2017, Ruth won Birdwatch Magazine’s ‘Conservation Hero’ award for her work.
  • 5. Antarctica in Mind

    In this penultimate episode, Alok Jha talks with contemporary artists Peter Liversidge, Lucy Orta and Marc Rees to find out how Antarctica has inspired them in their work, and why the icy continent has been a particularly inspiring place for so many artists, even before the first sighting 200 years ago. 
  • 6. The Future of Antarctica

    In the final episode of the series, Alok Jha talks to Professor Klaus Dodds about Antarctica’s unique geopolitical position, The Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica’s potentially precarious future and what we can all do to protect it. Klaus Dodds is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. His many books and articles have been concerned with the geopolitics and governance of the Polar Regions as well as the cultural politics of ice. These include: The Scramble for the Poles,  Ice: Nature and Culture and The Arctic: What Everyone Needs to Know. He has visited Antarctica four times and also travelled extensively in the Arctic.
  • Season 2 Trailer

    In the second season of this podcast from the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, we’ll be delving further into the extraordinary human stories of the wildest, windiest place on our planet.  We’ll hear from explorers, scientists and writers who’ve built their lives around this incredible continent. Our guests include explorers Felicity Aston and Dwayne Fields, writer Philip Hoare and space scientist Suzie Imber. Together, we’ll uncover untold histories, and gain insight into the cutting-edge research happening here, on the front-line in the fight against climate change. All from the people who’ve been there and make it happen.  We hope that, like us, you’ll come to understand just how much Antarctica matters to us all.
  • 1. Epic Endurance

    Alok Jha talks to legendary explorer Felicity Aston about what endurance means to her. In 2012, Felicity became the first woman to ski solo across the Antarctic landmass, a journey of over 1000 miles that took her 59 days and earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Felicity has gone on to organise and lead numerous expeditions to remote places around the world, but particularly to the Polar Regions. Her expeditions have included the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, a 6000km drive to the South Pole and leading international teams of women on ski expeditions to both the North and South Poles.She has been appointed MBE for services to polar exploration and awarded the Polar Medal for services to the Arctic and Antarctic.