Trans.MISSION II – Peru

The Shallap Glacier
Laguna Shallap

The Peruvian strand of the Trans.MISSION II collaboration between Hay Festival and the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) features Peruvian writer, theatre producer and actress Erika Stockholm and the Cabot Institute’s Professor Jemma Wadham and her team of glaciology experts. Using Professor Wadham’s work as inspiration, Erika Stockholm has created a piece of creative writing to spotlight Peruvian glacial retreat and its impact on water security and resilience to natural hazards. The story is called "Glacier Shallap - or the sad tale of a dying glacier".

Erika Stockholm said: “We want to explore the problem of melting glaciers from a more emotional perspective through a story that connects fact with feeling. Our aim is for non-specialists to understand what is happening and to consider how to reverse this tragedy of climate change.”

Professor Jemma Wadham said: “I’ve been passionate about glaciers and their changing wildernesses since the age of 14 and have seen first-hand the impacts of climate warming on our glaciers. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Erika to create powerful stories about changing glaciers in the tropical Andes of Peru, touching people in a way that would be difficult to achieve using scientific facts alone.”

Erika Stockholm is a Peruvian writer, theatre producer and actress and President of the Asociación Cultural ¡Al teatro por primera vez! This non-profit association’s main aim is to encourage and promote culture to children, teenagers and adults with few resources to take part in cultural and artistic activities. She has published 10 children's books, among them María Julia y el árbol gallinero and, most recently, La misteriosa travesía de Orión. Her stories have been translated and adapted to theatre, and used as a model in workshops on literature and creativity.

Jemma Wadham is Professor in Glaciology and Director of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol (currently on secondment). She researches hydrological and biogeochemical processes that occur within glacier and ice sheet systems and in their fore fields, which have a potential regional or global impact. She has published more than 100 scientific articles and book contributions and is currently leading field expeditions to glaciers in Peru, Chile, Greenland and the Himalayas.

The work was launched at Hay Festival Arequipa in Peru, 7–10 November 2019. Trans.MISSION II is the first international public engagement collaboration project for NERC, with new pieces of work to be launched at subsequent events in Cartagena, Colombia (30 January–2 February 2020) and in Hay-on-Wye, Wales (21–31 May 2020). 

Trans.MISSION II is a global project pairing leading environmental researchers with award-winning storytellers to communicate cutting-edge science to new audiences. At a time of unprecedented public interest in how human actions affect the environment, Trans.MISSION II will pair NERC researchers from Peru, Colombia and the UK with artists and storytellers in each country to create stories about ongoing research projects.

Download a transcript of the story: Glacier Shallap – or the sad tale of a dying glacier

Watch Erika Stockholm reading her powerful story: Glacier Shallap – or the sad tale of a dying glacier