Conferences – looking back

Since end of August I attended two conferences and one of them was SCAR in Kuala Lumpur. I had the chance in the mini-symposium MS05 to talk about my COMNAP fellowship. That was a great success because about the concept of the mini-symposium all the participants could attend it and so I had the biggest audience ever. After the talk came encouraging comments from the audience.

Another interesting experience was chairing the data sharing session on Monay. On Wednesday was a joined meeting between the Humanities and Social Science Expert groups. Intense discussions were going on and the new joined meeting in Hobart in July 2017 was introduced.

On the last day of the conference I was the second last speaker of the history session. I was pleased with the outcome of my talk – even with technical hassles I could finish in time.


This week was the Historic Antarctic Sealing Conference in Cambridge, UK. It was a fine conference were all the presentations were very interesting, informative and inspiring. Lots of discussions were going on and it is a very intense topic with far richer research than one would think at the first glance. On the second day was a great dinner in Jesus College. During the conference was also the opening of the Exhibition “Deep Freeze”.

Side programs were a visit at BAS (British Antarctic Survey) Archives and a trip to Ironbridge. What a wonderful day that was with all the historic information from a very inspiring tour guide and a lovely Afternoon Tea in a private home.




Ironbridge, late 18th century – still standing

Between the conferences I was working in the archives of SPRI

There were also meetings and helping in the background and lots of reading, transcribing and researching.




SCAR Humanities & Social Science


Networking is an important element for researcher. This is a link to the SCAR webpage where one can look for information about researcher of Humanities and Social Science within the SCAR system.

The next SCAR History, Humanities, and Social Science Meeting will happen in Colorado, USA, May 20 – 23 2015. Look for details under the link below.

Title: “Antarctic Wilderness: Perspectives from History, the Humanities and the Social Sciences”



Report from SCAR workshop Auckland 2014

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The report from the SCAR workshop “Connecting the past-present-future: studies and methods in history for Antarctic research and science“., Auckland 2014, is now available. The guest speaker was Susan Barr from Norway, Fram Museum.


SCAR workshop reminder

SCAR Workshop
Connecting the past – present – future: studies and methods in history for Antarctic research and science.
Tuesday, 26th August, 18:15 (6:15pm) – 2 hour session

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A small selection of discussion points for the workshop
This panel session grew out of research that focused on mining meteorological data from polar diaries, an enterprise that threw up a variety of challenges. It also offered opportunities, such as finding hidden information. Unique access to certain resources often gives persistent or fortunate historians a competitive edge by providing new information of perspectives on otherwise oft reported events.

As with any research project, whether in the natural or social sciences, it is critically important to frame the research question before embarking on any literature or archive research. Careful preparation and clear targeting of resources that seem most likely to yield useful information will save time in the long run. Not many of us have the luxury to apply open ended effort on archive research. By discussing the range of approaches taken by participants, we can identify similarities and opportunities to work together to avoid duplications.

This is only a small example what we have to consider when working with written accounts, and we welcome input from all workshop participants.

The challenges:
• Assessing the veracity (accuracy and intrinsic value) of any diary comments or descriptions requires triangulation with other sources
• Correspondence is an important source of material to verify accounts, as both personal and official letters can provide additional information
• Translations from the original written diary (German, French, Japanese, etc.) can be critical
• Knowledge of historic background and social issues as well as the biographical background of a diarist are important to put the content of a diary in a wider context
• …

• Is there value in establishing a single register of polar diaries, including details such as location, online address, format, accessibility, ownership and a short synopsis?
• Is there value in establishing a register of historians who have transcribed diaries, correspondence or reports and who are willing to share their work? There is considerable duplication of effort transcribing materials of this sort.
• What are the expectations of different research groups of how the diaries should be prepared for their specific questions?
• What could be a useful platform to communicate the diaries?

Our team has much more in mind what to discuss with you. We are open for to any comments and contributions towards the intended workshop. These are only few examples what makes this workshop so precious.

We are looking forward meeting you at the workshop.
The team
Ursula, Andrew, Susan