The two conferences previously mentioned in other blogs we have written (the South Pole-sium v3 in Oslo and the meeting of the Shackleton Appreciation Society in Dundee, Scotland) with their hopefully biennial convocations, each have a social and educational value far in excess of their modest cost.  Although neither—relatively informal as they are—will add much luster to your academic portfolio, you may well learn as much from the brief presentations by passionate aficionados, as you might from more formal, academically structured symposia.

Some of them are presented by well-known authorities in the field.  This year’s South Pole-sium in Oslo included (among many others) talks on:

  • “Thomas Bagshawe:  An Unsung, Forgotten Hero” by Bob Burton, an entertaining recounting of one of the most minimally funded, carelessly planned, yet most successful expeditions on record. Bob is a world-renowned Polar historian, a very popular Antarctic cruise ship lecturer, and one of the rare recipients of a Polar Medal for his outstanding contribution in many areas related to Antarctica and South Georgia.
  • Peggy Nelson’s take on publishing historic polar stories in modern online media like Twitter. Here is a link to her remarkable work.
  • Professor James McCarthy from Harvard University breaking the myth that Roald Amundsen was not interested in science.

It was at this event that we formally launched our own book: When Your Life Depends on It: Extreme Decision Making Lessons from the Antarctic.

At the Shackleton Appreciation Society’s meeting in Dundee a week later, some of the highlights were:

  • “Ernest Shackleton—the Man and the Myths” and “Tom Crean—Unsung Hero of Antarctic Exploration” from renowned author Michael Smith
  • “Shackleton’s Boat Journey” from Seb Coulthard who was part of Tim Jarvis’ 6-man team who recreated the famous boat journey in 2013 in the 22’ James Caird replica which was named as the Alexandra Shackleton. Seb is a popular and lecturer.
  • Stephen Scott-Fawcett (organizer of this event, president of the James Caird Society, and editor of the estimable JCS Journal) on “The Ross Sea Party—Debacle or Miracle”

At this event, we were able to do a second phase of our book launch  (When Your Life Depends on It: Extreme Decision Making Lessons from the Antarctic), this time by David Hirzel presenting an article entitled “Shackleton’s Genius—Reframing the Image of Success, a Critical Skill for the 21st Century”

These are just some of the highlights.  There were more talks given than we have the space to list, so we suggest you keep your eyes open for the (we dearly hope) next such convocations two years hence.

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