Polar Week: Reflections on UKPN Festivals

Background to festivals

The last 2 years have been somewhat uncertain with the pandemic, but the UK Polar Network (UKPN) festivals team have been busy as ever organising online events, as well as gradually returning to in-person ones. There are multiple reasons for UKPN hosting festivals, including delivering scientific communication to the general public and providing a platform to early career researchers to develop their networks and experience.  

UKPN at the National Maritime Museum

In October 2021, coordinators Chloe and Connor organised a festival facilitated by the National Maritime Museum (NMM) in Greenwich, London, with around 10 UKPN volunteers delivering science talks, hosting workshops and guessing where the Titanic sank over a 4-day period. The talks included the volunteers discussing their career as a researcher and polar impacts in a changing climate, with workshops incorporating polar adaptions, glacier flow (cornflour and water!) and dressing up as a polar scientist in field kit. 


Each day started at around 9 am and ended at 4 pm with events running simultaneously. At any one time, the UKPNs 3D polar maps were being adored on the ‘Great Map’ section of the museum, while downstairs talks were taking place, glaciers constructed and animals were being forged by children with some rather interesting adaptions! Seeing the children engaged with the events left us with a ‘this is why we do this’ kind of moment and hopefully, some will remember their experience and be encouraged to continue the passion we saw over the 4 days.

This was our first in-person event since the pandemic struck and we received fantastic feedback from the museum saying visitors returned each day for our activities, bolstering their numbers as well as increasing our visibility to the general public. It would be remiss of us to highlight this event without a mention of our fantastic volunteers who developed materials and ideas prior to the event, as well as delivering the content. We had a range of people, including undergraduate and postgraduate students, PhD and postdoctoral researchers and teachers. For a lot of our volunteers, it was their first experience delivering outreach and they took to it like a duck to water! The reason we’re mentioning this is because we offer volunteering positions all year round to help with science festivals and if you’re interested, please do get in touch and/or keep an eye out on our mailing list for opportunities.

Upcoming festivals for UKPN

Just recently, we hosted 3 online events over 2 days at the Cardiff Science Festival in February 2022. In June of this year, we’re headed down to the Cheltenham Science Festival to deliver 5 polar workshops to both school and home-schooled children, including albedo experiments, Antarctic food webs and a changing Arctic.

Due to the success of the NMM event, we are currently working on making the event an annual one where UKPN can utilise the fantastic space of the museum and have a permeant base for delivering outreach, so stay tuned!

Some of the previous events we have hosted activities at:

  • British Science Festivals (Birmingham, Aberdeen Newcastle)
  • Regional Science Festivals (Dundee, Southampton, Cardiff, Edinburgh)
  • Blue Dot Festival
  • World of Music Arts and Dance

Get in touch

We strongly encourage organisations who are interested in UKPN delivering outreach to their audience to get in touch with us (festivals@polarnetwork.org). As said previously, our volunteers are often the highlight for both the festival and the general public delivering superb scientific communication, so if you are interested in any opportunities, once again get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you!


Polar Early Career Conference flyerAbstract submission and registration open! Find out more here.

Locked into ice: my scientific journey across the Arctic (live-link session 23 October)

Another exciting ooportunity below – the MOSAiC live-link session is scheduled for 23 October (17:00-18:00 UK time)

What does it feel like to be locked in ice, drifting across the Central Arctic Ocean in the middle of the polar night? Why is it both fascinating and challenging to do scientific research from a frozen ice-breaker? How do you build an ice camp on a moving Arctic floe? What mysteries does the Central Arctic Ocean hold, and in what way are Arctic researchers helping to solve them?

Join us for a live-link with Dr. Markus Frey from British Antarctic Survey who has just returned from the MOSAiC expediton, the largest year-round multinational expedition in the Central Arctic Ocean. Get an insider view into the life and work of an Arctic researcher.

Direct link for the English-speaking audienceshttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/85010418004?pwd=T3NZNStCL0doNlRKcU5vdjU3dzNCQT09

Webinar alert! UK-Russia Arctic Science Links webinar with Tomsk State University (22 October)

On 22 October, 10-11:15am UK time, SIN Russia and the NERC Arctic Office are organising a UK-Russia Arctic Science Links webinar jointly with Tomsk State University “A journey along the Siberian mega-transect: Discovering Tomsk State University and environmental research“. This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from Russian researchers on their ongoing and future scientific projects linked to Arctic research and climate change as well as learn more about their research infrastructure and explore potential for joint work.

From environmental monitoring in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions to Siberian rock glaciers to research into the Northern Hemisphere’s largest swamp system (the Great Vasyugan Mire) – Tomsk State University covers it all and much more! We will take you on an exciting journey to discover the University’s BioClimLand multidisciplinary research centre, environmental research across Siberia’s mega-transect and opportunities for fieldwork and networking across Siberia through the Siberian Change Network (SecNet).

For more details on the webinar, including registration, please visit https://www.arctic.ac.uk/news/a-journey-along-the-siberian-mega-transect/

Inspired by science

"Arctic-focused youth find inspiration at the UK Polar Network"

You'll see a familiar face in the WWF's first magazine of the year. This edition of The Circle showcases the voices of the youth and their movements forwards. Our own festival co-coordinator, Chloe Scott, discusses ways to support the interested youth; those disproportionately affected by climate change, and so those who deserve the opportunity to be involved in future decisions. 

The Circle: Youth In Action

ASSW / AOS Online - Registration open!

The online Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) launches tomorrow followed by the Arctic Observing Summit (AOS)!

The ASSW is an international assembly convened by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), fostering communication and collaboration between international policymakers, scientists, indigenous people, businesses and NGOs in discussing and addressing key Arctic issues.

This year event will be held online on 27 March - 2 April, and registration is currently live and open to everybody.

Key links:

Most of the events will be held in Zoom and you can find detailed guidelines on how to use this platform for ASSW/AOS here: https://aos2020agenda.org/how-to-join/

We in UKPN are glad to be involved in different parts of the event this year, invite you to join us and are looking forward to connecting with the world-wide Arctic community!

ARCTIS 2020: brief review

We are happy to report, that the second Arctic Interdisciplinary Studies 2020, ARCTIS 2020, field course in Khanty-Mansiysk city and vicinity, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region, West Siberia, Russia was successfully held in February 2020, co-organised by the UKPN and APECS Russia.

As per tradition, the course included various disciplines: Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Terrestrial, Marine (Hydrology) and Social & Humanitarian, which were covered via lectures, practical sessions and fieldwork, including a trip to the Mukhrino research station.

The course also benefited from a stakeholder meeting, trips to local museums and get together events. "The course was a success and everyone, including participants from the UK and Russia, lecturers and organizing committee enjoyed it", shared Saule Akhmetkaliyeva, Head of UK Arctic – Russia ECR group for UKPN

We are looking forward to receiving more photos and feedback on the course, keep your eyes open for future posts!

A polar pint advert

A Polar Pint

A polar pint advert

Tickets are now live to our Polar Pint of Science events:

     Bristol                                         Cambridge                                      Edinburgh

In collaboration with Pint of Science and supported by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust as part of their Antarctica In Sight programme, come and enjoy an evening of Arctic and Antarctic celebration. There’ll be a quick-fire quiz with a variety of prizes, so make sure to bring some knowledgeable friends!


Outreach webinar

Outreach webinar advert


It is now well-recognised that science outreach is an essential soft skill for any researcher. Do you understand the necessity but feel too underprepared to get involved? We're offering online training for anybody interested in taking their science into the classroom and adding a polar theme. The training will be led by a science communication expert and a school teacher to allow both worlds to come together. The focuses will be science communication for children and activity preparation, with tips on public speaking.

Monday 17th February 10am – 12pm

Register here: http://tiny.cc/UKPN-webinar-registration

Writing Successful Proposals: a guide for ECRs

Don't miss our upcoming workshop!

Writing successful proposals

The UK Polar Network will be holding a workshop at the Arctic Sciences conference in Loughborough in September. We are offering an optional social media for conferences session on the evening of the 10th, a morning workshop on proposal writing, and a free lunch. Don't forget to register before 8th August.

To register, click here 

For more information on the UK Arctic Science Conference, click here