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

Dr Elizabeth 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.

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

By 2013, Dr Leane had used her experiences in the Antarctic and sub Antarctic to help depict the areas in her literacy works, “Since my AAAF journey to Casey and Macquarie Island in 2004, I have continued my work on representations of Antarctica in literature. My book Antarctica in Fiction: Imaginative Narratives of the Far South was published in 2012. I’ve co-organised two conferences, ‘Imagining Antarctica’ (Christchurch 2008) and ‘Antarctic Visions’ (Hobart 2010), and co-edited a collection of essays, Imagining Antarctica: Cultural Perceptions of the Southern Continent. I’m currently writing South Pole for Reaktion Books’ series ‘Earth'. I maintain an online bibliography of Antarctic literature and I’m Arts Editor of the Polar Journal. I’ve recently been awarded a four-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, for a project entitled ‘Integrating the Humanities into Antarctic Studies’. I’ll be based partly in the School of Humanities and partly in the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, at the University of Tasmania. My AAAF has fed into all of these projects and I’m extremely grateful for the experience".