Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London

Since 3 weeks, I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London. I have been invited to apply for the fellowship position because of my work which bridges history and geography; especially with my approach for the NZ Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship but also for my work I have done for environmental research. This Fellowship position will give me a number of opportunities for future funding applications for humanities research and also to broaden my possibilities for publications.



Wilhelm Filchner and Alfred Kling looking for “new land” (Second German Antarctic Expedition 1911/12 (Filchner: 1923)






Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London

Since few days I am now a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in London. I have been invited to apply after my meeting with Alasdair MacLeod (Head of Enterprise and Resources) at 13 April 2018. It seems that the NZ Winston Churchill Fellowship pays off. With this RGS-Fellowship I have lots of opportunities to stay connected with the European research community and also have access to valuable articles etc. which would only be possible with lots of financial constrains. That will also help me to get my research out to a wider community.


Sir Clements Markham was very influential when it came to the Antarctic expeditions during the Heroic Era – this bust stands at the building entrance of the RGS (picture taken by me)


Report writing starts

I am back in New Zealand and start to sort all my material I gathered in the archives, during the interviews, and all the meetings. I am very glad that I had the chance to meet all these people and visited these places (archives, museums, libraries, and institutes) to work on my project. The amount of material is amazing but as it happens so often, there are more questions than answers which appear when thinking of the report writing. So I am in the stage of organising my report for the best possible outcome.

Thank you to everyone involved for the help and support I experienced and the positive atmosphere. It was a great trip with lots of new insights.  However, the “real” work starts now in processing the material I brought home.




My workspace in the library of the Scott Polar Research Institute 5 – 25 April 2018


Meetings, Archives, Interviews

I had lots to do and I am constantly working in the SPRI archives, and writing and organising for my NZWCM Fellowship. All falls into place with my meetings and interviews and I got some great insights. That is the reason for my long “silence” on this page – but in the meantime I had great meetings with

Last Wednesday, 11 April, I gave a public talk for the Friends of SPRI: Cold Cases in Antarctic History. It was a success and I have been invited to give another talk when I come back to Cambridge again. I hope that will be soon.

Tuesday, 10 April, I have been to the launch of the Weddell Sea Expedition at the RGS. This expedition will take place in January – February 2019. Wolfgang Rack will be involved in this expedition as well.


Royal Geographical Society, 10 April 2018



Bremerhaven – NZWCM Part 2

One week in Bremerhaven was an interesting time. At first I had successful meetings with Christian Salewski, the archivist from the Alfred Wegener Polar and Marine Research Institute (AWI). I learned very much about the new Polar Archive.

My talk at the German Maritime Museum (DSM) was very well received. I presented my research and my current project.

The following day I had interesting meetings with Jasmin Hettinger, citizen science (DSM), and Martin Weiss, Postdoctoral Researcher (DSM). All the information will be a big part of my final report for the NZWCM Fellowship.


Working – at first in the Antarctic (2016) and now how other countries research, collect and communicate their Antarctic history – NZWCM (2018)



Upcoming talk in Cambridge

My preparations are coming along, finally, and the countdown started: 4 March I will leave Christchurch – heading towards Washington, Columbus (Ohio), Bremerhaven, Cambridge, and London. All the meetings are organised and I have a long list of questions and ideas for my project: Frozen history – how other countries research, collect and communicate their Antarctic history. It is getting bigger with each contact I made so far and I am looking forward to starting it.

I also have some side events and one of them is a presentation in Cambridge on Wilhelm Filchner, the German polar explorer (1911-1912); 11 April, Friends of SPRI 6-7 pm.


Friends of SPRI talk_11 April 2018

Third announcement on that page 🙂



Race to the South Pole: an historian’s view

In December, I got an invitation from the NZ Antarctic Society, Wellington Branch, to be part of the speakers series in February.  The speakers series is part of the exhibition: “Lessons from the Antarctic” How Amundsen won the race to the South Pole. It is organised by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the NZ Antarctic Society.

My talk was on the race to the South Pole in its historical context. The title “We took risks. We knew we took them” from a quote from Scott’s diary, should show the audience that it was a risky business (and is still today) in exploring the Antarctic and that the early explorers were well aware of that. The historical context is often overlooked. The economic, political and scientific aims at going South were strongly linked with each other and I wanted to demonstrate this on several examples related to the “race”.

The event on Wednesday started with a movie about the Amundsen expedition and was followed by my talk. There were over 100 people in the audience and they got very engaged in the discussion afterward.

The Norwegian Honorary Consul General, Graeme Mitchel, thanked me at the end of the evening and presented a beautifully handcrafted polar bear of clear glass that looks like a piece of clear ice.