A Voyage to Antarctica Podcast

In the second season of this podcast, we’ll be delving further into the extraordinary human stories of the wildest, windiest place on our planet. We’ll hear from explorers, scientists and writers who’ve built their lives around this incredible continent. Our guests include explorers Felicity Aston and Dwayne Fields, writer Philip Hoare and space scientist Suzie Imber.

Together, we’ll uncover untold histories, and gain insight into the cutting-edge research happening here, on the front-line in the fight against climate change. All from the people who’ve been there and make it happen. 

We hope that, like us, you’ll come to understand just how much Antarctica matters to us all.

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Season 2

Episode 1: Epic Endurance Felicity Aston

We’ve all learnt a thing or two about endurance over the last year, but few people know what endurance means better than this week’s guest, Felicity Aston, an Antarctic scientist, turned polar explorer.

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Episode 2: To Antarctica and Beyond! Suzie Imber

As a continent of research and science, Antarctica gives us an insight into the history and future of our planet. But research happening there is also revealing the secrets of our universe. So this week, we’re going to Antarctica and far beyond with space plasma physicist Dr Suzie Imber.

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Episode 3: The White Continent? Part 1 Dwayne Fields

In part 1 of this special two part episode, Alok Jha talks to polar explorer Dwayne Fields: the first black Briton to walk 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole in 2010. In his youth, he was a victim of knife and gun crime and as a result of his experiences, decided to change his life and become an explorer.

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Episode 3: The White Continent? Part 2 Dr Ben Maddison

In part 2 of The White Continent? Alok Jha delves further into Antarctica’s colonial history with historian Dr Ben Maddison, to discover some untold stories of the continent. Ben’s book Class and Colonialism in Antarctic Exploration looks at the the discovery of Antarctica ‘from below’, focusing on the sailors, sealers, whalers, cooks and engineers, who were all essential in bringing the upper-class ‘hero explorers’ to the continent and supporting their expeditions.

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Episode 4: Ancient Ice Dr Kelly Hogan

Alok Jha talks to Dr Kelly Hogan, a Marine Geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey to find out what studying the remains of ancient ice sheets in Antarctica can tell us about climate change and the future of the planet.

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Episode 5: Songs from the deep Philip Hoare

Alok Jha speaks to the award-winning writer Philip Hoare about his life-long love for and obsession with whales and their history in Antarctica.

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Episode 6: From Seals to Stormzy Prem Gill

In the final episode of series 2, Alok Jha talks to Polar Conservationist and explorer Prem Gill to find out what Antarctic seals and Grime music have in common. Prem is a PhD candidate leading the "Seals from Space" project with the Scott Polar Research Institute, British Antarctic Survey & World Wildlife Fund, and a researcher working on Frozen Planet.

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That's a wrap!

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Join the conversation now #AVoyageToAntarctica

Alok Jha Podcast host

"Antarctica has a lot to teach us. I've been lucky enough to visit this magnificent continent and for these new podcasts, it’s been fascinating to learn more about its history, climate, ecology, social life, politics and much more from some leading experts. I’m looking forward to listeners joining us on this journey."

Alok Jha Podcast host

"Antarctica has a lot to teach us. I've been lucky enough to visit this magnificent continent and for these new podcasts, it’s been fascinating to learn more about its history, climate, ecology, social life, politics and much more from some leading experts. I’m looking forward to listeners joining us on this journey."

Catch up Season 1

Episode 1 To The Ice: Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Alok Jha talks to Sir Ranulph Fiennes about the explorers of the past, his experiences of Antarctica and what it actually takes to go there. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is an explorer, author, fundraiser and public speaker. He was described by The Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer” in 1984, and, since then, he has broken many more world records and led many more expeditions to remote regions. He became, with Charles Burton, the first man ever to have travelled around the Earth's circumpolar surface. His record-breaking expeditions include travel by riverboat, hovercraft, manhaul sledge, skidoo, Land Rover and ski, and have raised many millions of pounds for charity.

Episode 2 Clues to the Climate Crisis: Professor Dame Jane Francis

Antarctica is at the front line of the global climate crisis; in this episode Alok Jha talks to Professor Dame Jane Francis about the history of the continent, and the extraordinary climate research happening there. Professor Dame Jane Francis is a geologist by training, and a palaeobotanist at the British Antarctic Survey. Her research interests include ancient climates and fossil plants from the Arctic and Antarctic, which she uses to decipher ancient polar climates. She was awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to British polar research and was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to UK polar science and diplomacy.

Episode 3 How Penguins Can Predict the Future: Ruth Peacey

Alok Jha talks to conservation filmmaker Ruth Peacey about the history of penguins in the Antarctic, and what studying penguins can tell us about the future of the planet. Ruth Peacey worked with the BBC for over ten years on series including Natural World, Springwatch, Life in the Air and Planet Earth 2. In her spare time, she started documenting the issues surrounding bird persecution in the Mediterranean, which led to a series of projects called ‘Massacre on Migration’. She now specialises in investigating conservation issues all over the world, using videos and social media to shine light on areas of concern. In 2017, Ruth won Birdwatch Magazine’s ‘Conservation Hero’ award for her work.

Episode 4 No Shops and No Hairdressers: Sara Wheeler and Camilla Nichol

We hear plenty about the glories of men like Scott and Shackleton who lived in and explored Antarctica, but what about the women? This week, Alok Jha talks with travel writer Sara Wheeler and UKAHT CEO Camilla Nichol to find out the untold stories of the first women to engage with Antarctica — from the first explorers to the undocumented wives of whalers, and the struggles of women scientists, who were not allowed to conduct research there until the 1970s. Sarah was the U S National Science Foundation's first female writer in residence at the South Pole. She wrote international bestseller Terra Incognita, and Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Camilla is chief executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. She is a geologist and has worked in the museums and heritage sector for more than 20 years. She's held positions at the Leeds museums and galleries and New York museums trust. When she was working for the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University, she helped uncover a collection of Antarctic rocks collected by James Wordie on Elephant Island. Camilla is a fellow of the Royal geographical society

Episode 5 Antarctica In Mind: Peter Liversidge, Lucy Orta and Marc Rees

In this penultimate episode, Alok Jha talks with contemporary artists Peter Liversidge, Lucy Orta and Marc Rees to find out how Antarctica has inspired them in their work, and why the icy continent has been a particularly inspiring place for so many artists, even before the first sighting 200 years ago.

Episode 6 The Future of Antarctica: Professor Klaus Dodds

In the final episode of the series, Alok Jha talks to Professor Klaus Dodds about Antarctica’s unique geopolitical position, The Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica’s potentially precarious future and what we can all do to protect it. Klaus Dodds is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. His many books and articles have been concerned with the geopolitics and governance of the Polar Regions as well as the cultural politics of ice. These include: The Scramble for the Poles, Ice: Nature and Culture and The Arctic: What Everyone Needs to Know. He has visited Antarctica four times and also travelled extensively in the Arctic.

Want to get involved?

We are interested in working with individuals and organisations across the cultural and heritage sectors in the UK. If you have a project or an idea that you would like to discuss, please get in touch.

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