Elle Leane 2003-04

Elizabeth Leane portrait outdoors showing a woman with short hair and forest behind
Elle Leane

Elle Leane travelled to Antarctica as an arts fellow in the summer of 03/04.

Dr Elle Leane is a lecturer in the School of English, Journalism and European Languages at the University of Tasmania. After completing a BSc in Physics and a BA from the University of Adelaide, where she won numerous prizes, she was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to complete a PhD in English Literature at Oxford University.

Dr Leane's proposal involved studying the links between science and literature, particularly science fiction and utopias; and Antarctica. She has already published journal and conference papers on these subjects and proposes to publish further works, including a monograph, exploring literary representations of Antarctica.

Antarctic impression

My research over the last couple of years has focused on the literature and culture of the Antarctic, and travelling south has allowed me to ground this research in concrete experience. On Macquarie Island, I was lucky enough to join in an overnight hike to Bauer Bay, on the western side of the island. There, sitting in a remarkably cosy field hut, and listening to the snorting and burping of nearby elephant seals, I read through log-books dating back to the 1960s. Expecting to find only dry, impersonal accounts of distances and weather conditions, I was delighted to come across impassioned and sometimes poetic responses to the island and its wildlife. This experience, and many others during my voyage, confirmed my opinion that the Antarctic and subantarctic are regions which foster creativity—often in unexpected ways—in many of those who travel or live there.

Elle gained an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant for 2004-2006 to support the researching and writing of her book.