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Glaciologists and primary school children pass judgement on each other

At last week’s UK Antarctic Research Symposium in Bristol, scientists were visited by a group from the local Hareclive Primary School. The students, all members of the Room 13 art project based at the school, had judged the photo competition for delegates at the Symposium and the International Glaciological Society British Branch meeting held earlier in the week.

Prize photo by Mark Brandon

Prize photo by Mark Brandon

Joint first prize went to Mark Brandon of the Open University, UK, for his picture “A blue berg waiting to calve” at Jokulsarlen, Iceland, and to Jan De Rydt of the British Antarctic Survey for “Early morning sun halo whilst measuring the ice thickness of the glacier” at Pine Island, Antarctica.

Close runner-up was Martin O’Leary from Swansea University’s photo entitled “With around two thousand inhabitants, Tasiilaq is the largest settlement on the east coast of Greenland. The lack of light pollution, along with its location on the Arctic Circle, make it an ideal place to see the northern lights. Here, researchers take pictures and enjoy the display, after a successful field season”.

Photo of early morning sun halo whilst measuring the ice thickness of the glacier at Pine Island, Antarctica.

Prize photo by Jan De Rydt

In third place was Michael Meredith, also of the British Antarctic Survey, for “The view from the library. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on reading about Antarctic science, when the real thing is just out the window distracting you….” taken at Bransfield House on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Each of the 16 judges assigned marks out of ten to the 32 photos entered in the competition. In turn, delegates at the UK Antarctic Research Symposium and the International Glaciological Society British Branch meeting voted for their favourite artwork created by the children, using an arguably-less-rigorous one vote per delegate system. The standard was extremely high and the top three places went to pictures of penguins.

Art work by students from Room 13 Hareclive

Room 13 artwork

The school students were inspired to create the art following a pre-conference outreach visit from Bristol University ice researchers, led by Tamsin Edwards, in which they discussed life in the Arctic and Antarctic, re-created one of explorer Shackleton’s lifeboats in the playground, and tried on polar clothing.

“Thank you for taking us seriously,” said Lily from Hareclive Primary School at the end of her speech to delegates.


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