Antarctica is considered by many to be the most isolated and inhospitable place on Earth. Visitors are largely restricted to the few who can afford the high cost of visiting as a tourist, or to those scientists and support personnel who participate in national Antarctic programs. As a consequence, Antarctica is experienced indirectly by most people — through the work of visiting scientists.
As well as promoting Antarctic science directly to the community, the Australian Antarctic Division looks for other ways of informing and educating Australians about Antarctica and Australia’s activities there. The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship (formerly Australian Antarctic Humanities Program) provides an alternative, enabling those with a non-science focus to experience Antarctica first-hand so that they may convey their appreciation and understanding to other Australians.
That Antarctica be valued, protected and understood is the Australian Antarctic Program’s vision. Considered uppermost during the competitive selection process is the capacity for artists to communicate this to the broader Australian community and internationally.
Since the mid 1980s, more than 70 people have travelled south with the Humanities program. Their disciplines have included the visual arts, imaginative writing, education, history, social research and music as well as print and broadcast journalism.
From a diverse international field of applicants, the following six people were awarded Fellowships for the 1993–04 season:
Danielle Wood, a journalist and winner of the 2002 Vogel literary award plans to write her second fiction book set on MacquarieIsland.
Nin Brudermann, an Austrian artist based in New York, is working on a worldwide project of images taken of and from weather balloons launched from remote places.
Tim Low, a widely published nature writer and photographer with an interest in introduced species, will document the ecological and geological links between Australia and Antarctic through a book about birds from the two continents.
Sue Lovegrove, a PhD-qualified visual artist with works in the National Gallery of Victoria and Parliament House, will complete a series of 15 to 20 paintings.
Elle Leane, a Rhodes scholar with a PhD from Oxford University will study the links between science and literature, particularly science fiction and utopias.
Bernadette Hince, natural history writer, science editor and compiler of the Antarctic Dictionary, will compare and contrast the ecological history of the subantarctic islands of France, New Zealand and Australia.
Cathy Bruce, Information Services, AAD