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I have a long interest in how science and the arts can come together to inform and inspire the public to care more about the environment. Motivated by the International Polar Year 2007-08, I have collaborated with Dartmouth faculty, staff and students on a number of public exhibitions aimed at informing the public about Dartmouth’s long history as a leader in polar research. These exhibitions include:

Screen shot 2016-09-09 at 10.18.22 AMPolar Connections: Dartmouth and the Cold Regions, Nov. 2007-March 2008, Baker-Berry Library at Dartmouth College. This exhibit recounted the history of Dartmouth’s involvement in polar research beginning with John Ledyard in the 1770’s and extending into the International Polar Year 2007-08. We also produced a comprehensive web site for the exhibit.


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Navigating the Northwest Passage: Just Missing the Ice, May 25-July 31, 2007, Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College. This exhibition, featuring the Stefansson Special Collection, recounted the search for the fabled Northwest shipping passage through the Arctic sea ice by drawing on materials (books, letters, photographs) from the Sir John Franklin Expedition on up to the first commercial ship to navigate the passage, the Manhattan.



Screen shot 2016-09-09 at 10.18.59 AMThin Ice: Inuit Traditions within a Changing Environment, Jan. 27 – May 13, 2007, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. This interdisciplinary exhibition explored traditional Inuit life through the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century art and artifacts that indigenous Arctic peoples used to survive within this challenging environment. With the understanding that the Arctic environment is undergoing rapid transformation from climate change and the significant melting of sea ice, the exhibition highlights the impact of such change on Inuit ways of life and their relationship to the region in which they live. The Hood Museum web site offers more information on the exhibit, including panoramas of the installation. An illustrated catalogue accompanied the exhibition.

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Together in the Great Alone… Thomas Orde Lees, Ernest Shackleton and the 1914-16 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, September 5- October 23, 2011, Baker Library Main Hall, Dartmouth College. An examination of the experience of extreme isolation and perseverance, focusing on the diary of Thomas Orde-Lees, written during Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic (Endurance) Expedition. Curated by Ross A. Virginia and Dennis Grady (Dartmouth Library)



Science and the Arts

The Institute of Arctic Studies and IGERT have collaborated with the Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts and the Hood Museum of Art to bring several performance artists to Dartmouth with polar and environment as their theme. Examples include:

DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid

Screen shot 2016-09-09 at 10.19.39 AMPaul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Arctic Studies where he created The Book of Ice, a companion piece to his multimedia performance piece Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica commissioned by BAM for the 2009 Next Wave Festival; The Hopkins Center/Dartmouth College; UCSB Arts & Lectures; Melbourne International Arts Festival; and the Festival dei 2 Mondi in Spoleto, Italy.

With video projections and a score composed by DH Spooky, performed by a piano quartet, Terra Nova:  Sinfornia Antarctica is a portrait of a rapidly transforming continent.  An early production premiered at Dartmouth.  In The Book of Ice, “Miller uses Antarctica as a point of entry for contemplating humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The two additional contributors to The Book of Ice—Columbia University’s Brian Green, best selling author of The Elegant Universe, and Ross A. Virginia, Director of the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College—add several layers of analysis to the books exploration of the theme of science and graphic design.”

Phantom Limb 69°S

Screen shot 2016-09-09 at 10.19.54 AMIn 69°S, Phantom Limb Company’s Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko recreate one of the greatest survival stories of all time, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1916 Antarctica expedition. Three-foot-high marionettes share the stage with icebergs and a shipwrecked vessel, with inspiration drawn from historic records, a trip to the South Pole, and conversations about the continent’s future with polar scientists and environmental researchers.

Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts co-commissioned the work.

Jessica and Eric gained inspiration from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees, a member of Shackleton’s Expedition. This diary is part of the Stefansson Special Collection on Polar History. With Dennis Grady, Graphic Artist, Dartmouth Baker-Berry Library, we created an exhibition, Together Alone, that contrasted my modern era experience of reaching and working in Antarctica with Orde Lees’ own words and sketches from his journal.