Unspoilt World? Arctic geopolitics and modern exploration

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Monday 2 December

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • The Arctic has long captured explorers interest but what does the future hold for this region?

    Credit: ©Royal Museums Greenwich


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members, Ri Patrons and RMG Members £7

Event description

The Arctic is often seen as an inhospitable, unexplored area, yet people have lived there for 1000s of years. As the region heats up, so do discussions surrounding the exploration and potential exploitation of arctic resources. Join us for a panel discussion with arctic researchers, ecologists and explorers as they debate current research and commercial exploration of the arctic region. 

This event is part of the contemporary maritime series in partnership with the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The first talk is on 16 September 2019, Stranger tides: Treasure, plastic and circumnavigating ducks.

About the panel

The event host is:

Helen Czerski is a physicist, first and foremost, but she’s acquired a few other labels along the way: oceanographer, presenter, author and bubble enthusiast. She was born and brought up near Manchester in the northwest of England, and spent her childhood playing by the canals and along the old railway routes of the early Industrial Revolution. Maths and science (especially physics) always felt as though they would be her focus in the long term, and she studied Natural Sciences (Physics) at Churchill College, Cambridge, finishing with a first class degree. A year later, she returned to Cambridge to study for a PhD in experimental explosives physics, motivated by the opportunity to use high-speed photography to explore the physical world further.

The event speakers are:

Klaus Dodds is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway University of London. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Editor of Territory, Politics and Governance (a journal published by the Regional Studies Association). Klaus is a political geographer who specialises in ‘cold geopolitics’ and has travelled extensively in the Arctic and journeyed to the Antarctic. He is the author of many books including Ice: Nature and Culture (2018 Reaktion) and served as a specialist adviser to two parliamentary committee examining the Arctic (the House of Lords in 2014-5 the House of Commons 2018). He also serves as the UK representative on the International Arctic Science Committee’s Social and Human Working Group.

Claire Warrior is Senior Curator (Exhibitions) at Royal Museums Greenwich. She decided that she wanted to work in museums while at university, and has been lucky enough to see that hope become reality. Her first full-time job was at the Pitt Rivers Museum, where she completed her Masters, and where her interest in First Nations and Inuit material culture began. Moving then to Liverpool, where she looked in museum boxes to check that their contents really were what they said they were, and finally to Greenwich, she studied for her PhD at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge; her thesis looked at the ways in which family histories and national histories intersect in polar exploration and in museums. She has appeared as an expert on polar exploration histories on a wide range of TV programmes, including pushing a library trolley in The Hunt for the Arctic Ghost Ship and trying not to talk too quickly (twice) on Sunday Brunch.

Bob Baxter is a biologist at the University of Durham, UK with a passion for all things Arctic and Alpine. He was born and brought up near Beverley in East Yorkshire before studying at a vibrant and bustling Manchester University of the 1980s. Here he studied Botany (plant sciences) and gained a first class degree, followed by a PhD in impacts of atmospheric pollutants on upland plant communities of the southern Pennine hills. At this time, a chance opportunity to travel and work in northern Sweden sealed his fate: a love for the Arctic and its ecology blossomed and has continued to do so for over 30 years

Michael Bravo, early in his career travelled to the Arctic to take state-of-the-art satellite communications to the world’s highest latitudes. Once in the North, he became captivated by another medium of communication - the oral traditions and memory of the Inuit people of the High Arctic. He experienced these firsthand living in an Inuit community, travelling on the land with hunters, and working collaboratively with Inuit filmmakers presenting their history in their own language as well as for international audiences. In the years that followed, Michael has returned many times for friendship as well as research. He has authored an online Pan-Inuit Trails Atlas, a ’songlines-like’ narrative, spanning the Canadian Arctic drawing on maps drawn by Inuit from land claims and historical literature. His latest book, North PoleNature and Culture (2019) has been praised by New Scientist as a “rich and insightful” book that “charts the layers of meaning that the pole has accumulated in our minds”, and by the Spectator for its “sumptuous full colour portraits… and early maps”. He is a frequent contributor to the media including this year's Stoke Newington Literary Festival and recent programmes on BBC Radio 3 and the World Service.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the 

The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email: events@ri.ac.uk.

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing events@ri.ac.uk.

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop. 

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