Antarctic Flags Project 2022-2023 Round-up

2022 was our biggest year yet for the Antarctic Flags Project which pairs schools with scientists and support personnel travelling to Antarctica, who carry copies of flags designed by students to fly on the continent, returning photos and certificates to the schools upon the conclusion of their expeditions.
We sent over 300 flags to Antarctica from 230 schools in 13 countries, including UK, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Spain, USA, Portugal, Thailand and Peru! All flags have now made their journey back from Antarctica to the schools eagerly awaiting their return.

A selection of flags designed by schools across the globe to celebrate Antarctica. Credit: UK Polar Network

This was the eighth year of the project, and more flags were sent to us this year than ever before. We could call it a record-breaking year!

The project takes place as a celebration of Antarctica Day, which marks the signing of the Antarctic Treaty on December 1st 1959, a document declaring that Antarctica would be off limits to military activity and setting it aside as a place for peace and scientific discoveries. Since 2010, December 1st has been celebrated each year to mark this milestone of peace and to inspire future decisions.

Students are given free reign to design their flags, taking into account the flora, fauna and landscape of Antarctica as well as the flags of the countries which have signed the Antarctic Treaty. It is clear that students of all ages put a lot of thought into their flags and we had an incredible range of beautiful designs using a range of mediums.

The flags were taken on board RRS Sir David Attenborough and Polar Stern and to a range of Antarctic research stations including Rothera, Halley and King Edward Point. The volunteers who helped to display our flags hailed from the British Antarctic Stern, The Alfred Wegener Institute and Oregon State University.

Some of the flags in Antarctica with research scientists, field assistants, station staff and research ship crew members!

The Antarctic Treaty has expanded to include 54 countries and is a rare example of international cooperation. The Treaty governs much of the politics, activities and responsibilities within the Antarctic continent and waters south of 60 degrees latitude. For example, all scientific observations should be made freely available to all researchers, no military bases or weapons testing are allowed, and the dumping or burning of any rubbish is prohibited.
Alongside designing the flags, we encourage schools to learn about Antarctica, its governance and the Treaty in their lessons. This year we received a diverse range of flag designs, from penguins (by far the most popular!), orcas, icebergs and mountains to designs representing peace and international cooperation.

Watch this space for more beautiful flags and more global connections between science, schools and Antarctica. Look out for details on how to take part in our next Antarctic Flags project in October 2024!

For more information about the Antarctic Flags project, read Chapter 11 of ‘Antarcticness: Inspirations and Imaginaries’, published by UCL Press and available at:

Fiona Sheriff and Ainsley Hatt, UKPN Antarctic Flags Co-ordinators 2022-2023
Twitter: @UKPolarNetwork, @fiona_616, @HattAinsley