'Antarctic Impressions’ — an exhibition that showcases for the first time the Antarctic Humanities Program — will be officially opened at Parliament House in Canberra today.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Antarctic Dr Sharman Stone said that the Humanities Program was a perfect vehicle to help promote Australia’s vital role in the protection of Antarctica and of our science program.

“Each year visual artists, writers, historians, journalists, poets, musicians, film makers, teachers and those from similar occupations are offered the chance of a berth to Antarctica. So far, almost 70 have participated in the scheme,” said Dr Stone.

“Australia’s claim of 42% of the Antarctic continent places us in the rare and privileged position of playing a major part in its responsible management,” Dr Stone said.

“The majority of Australians will never have the opportunity to go to Antarctica but are hungry to learn more about it and to better understand our scientific research there. This is why the Humanities Program is so important.”

Dr Stone said that those selected to go to Antarctica were Australia’s best public communicators and were well placed to promote to a wider audience an appreciation of Antarctica as well as the Australian Antarctic program.

“This is the first exhibition to bring together works that have resulted from the AAD’s Humanities Program since it began in 1984.

“Antarctica in all its moods — its harsh climate, fragility, unrivalled and stark beauty, its vastness and tranquillity — is reflected in this unique collection of interpretations.

"Those interpretations are as diverse as the Humanities Program participants themselves.

“This exhibition demonstrates that there is no limit to the individual’s ability to convey personal impressions of this breathtakingly beautiful continent that holds a special place in the hearts of all Australians,” Dr Stone said.

The display includes paintings, photographs, educational resources, books, travel guides, histories, video excerpts from documentaries and interactive exhibits.

“It is particularly pleasing to see such a comprehensive representation of the work of Humanities Program participants over the past ten years.”

Dr Stone encouraged those eligible to consider applying when next applications are called saying that all are judged on their merits.

Dr Stone said that a current review of the Humanities Program would determine how it might be shaped in the future to ensure it continues to deliver great results.

The exhibition, at the Presiding Officers’ Gallery, Parliament House, Canberra continues until mid-June.