Polar Visual Culture: An International Conference

Polar Visual Culture: An International Conference will take place in the Arts Building Lecture Theatre at the University of St Andrews on 17-18 June 2011.


Convened by Natalie Adamson and Luke Gartlan, this conference brings together a diverse, internationally recognised group of scholars to present new research on the visual culture of polar exploration. The polar environment, and its potential destruction, is now receiving heightened attention in the mass media, with extensive scientific study and urgent results on climate change reported daily. The conference aims to focus attention upon the unique, prolific and hitherto under-examined visual culture - with a strong focus on photography, but also including film, painting and graphic illustration, expedition and frontier narratives, installations and poetic geographies - that the expeditions to the two polar regions have inspired since the early nineteenth century, and which forms a fundamental part of our perception of these environments.


We invite all those interested in these themes to register for this important conference and join us in St Andrews. 


For further information, a list of speakers, and registration details, see the conference website:



And for the conference poster: PVCposter.pdf


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  • Thanks, Luke. Good luck with the conference, and looking forward to reading the abstracts nearer the date.
  • We have two contemporary artists speaking about their photography at the conference--Ilana Halperin and Camille Seaman--each of whom have worked in the Arctic and Antarctic. 



    Alexandra Neel and Alistair Rider will also be talking about contemporary responses to the polar regions, so the 21st century will be well represented at the conference along with the historical materials. The abstracts will be added to the website closer to the event.

  • On a more modern (21st century!) take, Canon UK is hosting polar photographer Sue Flood’s first solo exhibition Cold Places – From Pole to Pole from 17th March to 9th April 2011 at Getty Images Gallery in London. 

    Sue Flood has spent 15 years travelling to the Arctic and Antarctic documenting these fragile ecosystems. 

    She has been working with polar wildlife and indigenous communities, including over 15 years of experience working with the BBC on series such as Planet Earth and The Blue Planet, as well as Disneynature’s movie Earth.
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