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September 26, 2011

Schedule Announced For 2011 Shackleton Autumn School

The following schedule has been announced for this year's Ernest Shackleton Autumn School in Athy. More information can be found at

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shackleton-autumn-school Friday, 28th October

Official Opening & Exhibition Launch - 7.15pm in Athy Heritage Centre – Museum.

 7.45pm Book Launch

In association with the Erskine Press the school will host the launch of Simon Beaufort's book 'The Nimrod Murders'

Exhibition Daily Exhibitions – Athy Heritage Centre - Museum
10.00am – 5.00pm - Cold Recall-Reflections of a Polar Explorer, Roald Amundsen

The exhibition was developed by the Fram Museum, Oslo, Norway to showcase images from the lantern slides that Roald Amundsen used in public lectures about his expeditions through the Northwest Passage and to the South Pole with particular emphasis on Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole. The texts in the exhibition are primarily abridged versions of Amundsen’s own manuscripts from these lectures. The exhibition is also complemented by Amundsen material from a number of private collections

Antarctic Adventurers – the Antarctic adventurers will recreate a three man sledging party from the early years of Antarctic exploration.

Saturday, 29th October

 Lecture Series Athy Heritage Centre – Museum

10.00am “Notes from a Shackleton Scholar: Heritage Tourism in the South Atlantic” Emma Jane McAdam - Admission €7

11.30 “'Murder on Shackleton's Nimrod:Writing Antarctic Fiction' ” Beau Riffenburgh & Liz Cruwys - Admission €7

2.00pm “Roald Amundsen’s and his crew members’ South Pole diaries” Geir Kløver - Admission €7

Book Launch Athy Heritage Centre - Museum

3.00pm In association with the Collins Press the school will host the launch of 'Ordeal by Ice: Ships of the Antarctic' by Rorke Bryan

 4pm “The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott” David Wilson - Admission €7

8pm Autumn School Dinner
in Carlton Abbey Hotel, Athy

Sunday, 30th October Athy Heritage Centre – Museum

Lecture Series

10.00am “The Cinematic Race to the Pole” Jan Anders Diesen - Admission €7

Book Launch Athy Heritage Centre - Museum

11.00am In association with Reardon Publishing the school will host the launch of 'Edward Wilson's Antarctic Notebooks' by David & Christopher Wilson

12 noon “Did Shackleton Care about Science" Dr Edward J Larson - Admission €7


Film Athy Heritage Centre – Museum

2.30pm “The Great White Silence.

Captain Scott described Herbert Ponting as 'an artist in love with his work', and after the expedition's tragic outcome Ponting devoted the rest of his life to ensuring that the grandeur of the Antarctic and expedition's heroism would not be forgotten - the images that he captured have fired imaginations ever since. The BFI National Archive - custodian of the expedition negatives - has restored the film using the latest photochemical and digital techniques and reintroduced the sophisticated use of colour. The alien beauty of the landscape is brought dramatically to life, showing the world of the expedition in brilliant detail.

Presented by Luke McKernan - Admission €7

4.30pm Open Forum chaired by Bob Headland


Drama Athy Community Arts Centre

9.00pm “Catalpa”
Based on the true story of the daring whaleship rescue of six Irish prisoners from Fremantle penal colony in 1876, Catalpa is a story in the great epic tradition of Moby Dick and Gone With The Wind - with a passing glance at The Great Escape. Donal O’Kelly plays over thirty characters in this one-man epic, including the mastermind of the Catalpa mission - Kildareman John Devoy.

Written and performed by Donal O’Kelly, with live music by Trevor Knight.

Admission €10


 Monday, 31st October 2011

 Field Trip Assemble at The Heritage Centre – Museum

 10.00am Bus tour through Shackleton country. A Visit to Ballitore and the home of Mary Leadbeater, writer and ancestor of Ernest Shackleton, the Quaker Meeting House and the Shaker Store.

Fare €10

Information on Contributors

Emma Jane McAdam

A Falkland Islander by birth, Emma Jane returned to the Islands to carry out the research for her undergraduate dissertation in the Falkland Islands Archives. In 2000, Emma Jane was awarded a Shackleton Scholarship to carry out the research for her postgraduate degree in the Islands, focusing on the potential for heritage tourism in the Falklands. Her work and subsequent report was instrumental in the establishment of the Visitor Centre in Stanley. As a museum professional, Emma Jane has worked in the Scottish museums sector for almost 10 years and is currently Curator at the University of St Andrews.


 Dr Beau Riffenburgh

 Dr Beau Riffenburgh is a historian affiliated with the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. His research specialises in the history of exploration, particularly that of the Antarctic, Arctic, and Africa. A native Californian, he had a successful career in publishing before moving to Cambridge, where he earned his PhD and then served for 15 years as the Editor of Polar Record. His books about exploration include the critically acclaimed Myth of the Explorer; Nimrod, the account of Ernest Shackleton’s first expedition; and the award-winning two-volume Encyclopedia of the Antarctic. He has more recently published two books about Douglas Mawson and his Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

Dr Liz Cruwys

Dr Liz Cruwys is a marine biologist from the University of Cambridge, whose academic research investigates environmental contamination in pinnipeds. She has also conducted research into medieval history and architecture, and has written books on castles and cathedrals. This medieval background and her experience on the Leeds police force have given her important insights for the 25 mystery novels she has published under the pseudonym Susanna Gregory. Including her scholarly works, she has written or contributed to more than 60 books, including nine novels with Beau Riffenburgh under the pseudonym Simon Beaufort.

 Geir O. Kløver

Geir has been the director of the Fram Museum in Oslo since 2005. He has recently edited and published the diaries of Roald Amundsen and 14 of the other crew members of the Norwegian South Pole Expedition 1910-12. He is currently editing the collected diaries of Fridtjof Nansen and the crew members of the First Fram Expedition. From 1997 to 2005, Geir worked as project director in a Norwegian human rights NGO providing media and communication support to Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. He worked primarily on projects related to Tibet, Burma, East Timor, the Korean peninsula and the AIDS issue.


Dr David Wilson

David is a great nephew of Dr Edward A.Wilson, who perished with Captain Scott's polar party David has a long association with polar matters. The author of a numbers of books, his most recent is The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott. He makes frequent trips to the Antarctic as a historian and ornithological field guide and he is currently Chairman of the Scott 100 Centenary Committee.


Christopher Wilson

Chris is a great nephew of Dr Edward A. Wilson. Before taking early retirement, Chris worked for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, serving as warden of Ireland's premier wildfowl reserve, 'Wexford Wildfowl Reserve'. He regularly contributes to a wide number of wildlife magazines, makes radio and television programs and is an accomplished photographer. His publications include: High Skies - Low Lands - An Anthology of The Wexford Slobs and Harbour and 'Wildfile' - A Guide to Irish Wildlife. Chris lectures extensively on birds and other wildlife groups of Antarctica, Ireland and Australia.


 Rorke Bryan

Rorke Bryan has had a lifelong interest in Antarctica, triggered by seeing 'Scott of the Antarctic' as an eight-year old in his native Dublin. The son of a merchant mariner, he has visited many parts of the world during his career with the British Antarctic Survey and in environmental conservation, forestry and development at the Universities of Alberta and Toronto. His interests include sailing, mountaineering and skiing.


 Dr. Jan Anders Diesen

Professor of film history at Lillehammer University College, Norway, Jan Anders is an expert on silent Norwegian films and on documentary films. For the last 5 years he has been researching the silent films from polar expeditions, and has published books and articles on Roald Amundsen´s films. To put these Norwegian films into an international context, he has over last three years visited polar archives around the world. He is currently working on a book on explorer´s films from Borchgrevink, Fiala and Bruce to Amundsen, Nobile and Byrd.


Dr Edward J. Larson

He is the Professor of History and holds the Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University. His many books include Summer for the Gods - The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in History: Evolutions Workshop: God and Science on the Galapago's Islands and he has just published An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science.


 Luke McKernan

Luke McKernan is Lead Curator, Moving Image at the British Library. He is a film archivist and a historian of early and non-fiction film, with a particular interest in films of travel and exploration. He has written books on newsreels, 1890s film and Shakespearean film, and his polar publications include a chapter on Antarctic filmmaking in South: The Race to the Pole and the commentary on the BFI DVD release of South: Sir Ernest Shackleton's Glorious Epic of the Antarctic.


 Bob Headland

Bob is a senior research associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge. He specialises in the history and geography of both polar regions. His work with the Antarctic Heritage Trust involves the preservation of the historical huts and other aspects associated with the exploration of the discovery of the Antarctic. His most recent publication is A Chronology of Antarctic Exploration.


Donal O'Kelly

Donal O’Kelly is a writer and actor. His plays include his solo shows Catalpa, Jimmy Joyced! and Bat the Father Rabbit the Son. Other plays are The Cambria, The Adventures Of The Wet Señor, Vive La, Operation Easter, Asylum! Asylum!, The Dogs, Farawayan and The Hand. As an actor, he has appeared in Translations, Juno and the Paycock and The Tempest in the Abbey, played Lucky in the Gate Theatre’s Waiting For Godot, and on screen played leading roles in Kings, The Van and Spin The Bottle, as well as RTE’s Paths to Freedom and Fair City.

Antarctic Adventurers

The Antarctic Adventures are a group of British re-enactors who specialise in recreating the world of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen. They perform regularly for museums and English Heritage. They recreate a three man sledging party of the 1901 – 1913 period with clothing, sledges and equipment of the time used by Scot and Shackleton.