AntSoc presentation: Oral History Program

New Zealand Antarctic Society

Oral History Program

Jacqui Foley

Tuesday 26th July, 6pm

Lecture theatre A4

You are invited to an interesting talk on the current Oral History Project of the Antarctic Society. Beginning in 1997, Jacqui Foley has interviewed most of the 48 members of different Antarctic expeditions, and their wives. The project gives a valuable insight into work and life in the Antarctic since the 1950s and the support these members received from their families.

Jacqui Foley is a freelance oral historian for more than 20 years. She works also for museums and trusts and is involved in several other history projects. Jacqui has received a number of Oral History awards. She lives in Tokarahi, North Otago.

All welcome



Public Talk

Last Tuesday, 5 July, I have been invited to give a talk at the Probus Club Fendalton, Christchurch, on my time as tutor in the Antarctic. It was a lovely atmosphere between the women. Approx. 60 women were present and they very really interested in my presentation. I presented some slides and had everyday items we use in the Antarctic to show them. Lots of good questions were asked. Many women came to me afterwards and told me that they were astonished how much Christchurch is involved in the Antarctic business and that they have not known before about that. It seems that from now on, more people will know about this connection.

My next talk is at 8 August. The Rotary Club in Halswell invited me for a similar talk.


A relaxed tutor is reading in front of the tent on Christmas Day 2015

Scott Base, here I come – again…

Tomorrow is another departure to the Antarctic. At 8:30am is reporting time at Antarctica NZ and I hope all goes to plan. Another PCAS course is going down and I am the History Tutor this year again. I hope the Discovery hut is furnished again (not like last year, when all was under conservation work) so that the students get a better idea of the conditions 100 years ago.



History lecture in the Discovery Hut, Dec. 2014; courtesy: James Stone

I will also deliver my lecture on Antarctic History at Scott Base.

The 21 quilts (see previous note) for the exhibition are also ready to go and I hope many people at Scott Base will see them and that also people from McMurdo will come along and have a look and maybe participate at the viewer’s choice.

I will post more at Scott Base and hope it will be that exciting than last year’s event.


Research stay in Europe

Some busy  weeks are laying ahead. I will be in Europe to work in the Archives in Austria and England again.


My workspace at SPRI in 2013

I give a talk on my research at the Austrian Society of History of Science (Oesterreichische Gesellschaft fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte) at 16th April at 6pm (Vienna University Archive, Postgasse 9, 1010 Wien). I have been invited for a talk after I gave a talk in June last year at the Institute for Austrian History (Institut fuer Oesterreichkunde, IOEK).

The next step: I will spend some time in Cambridge again in the Archives at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) to do research on Nimrod Expedition 1907 – 1909 especially on the diaries and meteorological logs of the Ross Sea Party.  This is a part of my COMNAP Research Fellowship project which started in 2012/13. In the meantime I gave 10 talks on the development on that project, had 3 poster presentations and 6 publications in journals and webpages.

In May I attend a workshop in Colorado: SCAR History Expert Group and the SCAR Social Science Action Group. I will give an oral presentation on the development of an digital platform where information can be exchanged on the whereabouts of diaries and documents of Polar expeditions. The idea has been discussed at the SCAR Open Science Conference last year. (see report) The platform is in the early state of its development, but at least it is a start.


Me, teaching Antarctic History in the “Discovery Hut” at Hut Point, Antarctic December 2014.

Antarctica – Here I come

At 16th December it will happen. I am on the first flight (of two) to Scott Base. Last week the PCAS students and 3 tutors were 3 days in Cass for the field training and after that we had 2 days of intensive out door first aid training. We will do some field work in the Antarctic and I get already instructions for the radar and some other handy advice. I really hope to see the huts. As historian it is even a professional task to see them.


This is Filchner’s hut. It was in the Weddell Sea, so on the other side of the place where I will be, but I hope that our camp will not end up like this.


This happened because the hut was built on an iceberg which turned over, consequently this hut is on no conservation plan…fortunately no one was hurt and only one dog went missing.

Scott Base is at its place since 1957 and on solid ground, so I think this will not happen.

SCAR Workshop – Auckland 2014

Workshop: for Humanities, Social Science, Scientists and Artists
Date: 26th August 2014, 18:15 (6:15PM) – 2 hours session

  • Title: Connecting the past – present – future: studies and methods in history for Antarctic research and science
  • Convener: Ursula Rack, New Zealand
    Co-convener: Andrew Atkin, Australia; Susan Solomon, USA

 This workshop is intended for humanities researcher, scientists, social scientists and artists who are interested in interdisciplinary research. Primary sources such as historical records, diaries, letters, reports, and oral and visual documents provide valuable data bases and contextual insights that enhance our knowledge and understanding of the Antarctic. Transcription, translation, and interpretation of these sorts of data by humanities researchers working in conjunction with scientists can provide valuable knowledge for both historians, and scientists.

For example, diaries contain information on weather, social interactions, medical conditions, and observations by expedition members on their long-duration expeditions. But much of this material is written within specific cultural contexts and the researcher has to be aware how to read and interpret this material, in order to draw valuable conclusions and also to understand the opportunities and limitations of such data sources. Scientific programmes today have benefited from the accounts of the past to interpret the present and better predict the future changes in the remote high Southern latitudes. In addition to written accounts and narratives, historical material contains valuable numerous data points (through direct observations and inference) which can be utilised by scientists, using modern software, to enhance existing data sets.

The workshop will explore ways in which historic material and modern digital communications can be incorporated into polar libraries and archives as resources for polar scientists and those working in the humanities.

For more information or to register for the SCAR OSC conference, visit