What made you interested in doing this project?
I’m always interested in new ways to get a message across about our changing environment, and especially glaciers.
What do you hope to achieve together?
I think what I would like to achieve is firstly, to become better at communicating my research in more accessible way and secondly, to raise awareness of the impacts of melting glaciers on vulnerable communities and ecosystems around the world (starting with Peru).
Have you done anything similar before?
Did you enjoy art / science in school?
Yes, when I left school I nearly became a musician rather than a scientist. My mother was a professional actress and my father was a biochemist. In many ways for me this collaboration with Erika brings together those two aspects of my own heritage.
What do you think are the biggest barriers at the moment for communicating science?
Time and value. We are valuing communicating science much more than we did 20 years ago and that’s a good thing, but there is still a long way to go and it’s not easy as an academic to know where to start and how to find the time. Opportunities like the Hay Festival-NERC collaboration I think raise the value and give academics a mechanism and structure to engage with science communication, with a clear end product.
Which scientists / artists do you look up to?
I try not to look up to people. I admire anyone who manages to step slightly outside of their “known zone” and take a risk in doing something a bit different.
What other examples of art meeting science have inspired you?
This is a new area for me.
Professor Jemma Wadham is an expert in glacial retreat and is taking part in the Hay Festival's Trans.MISSION II project, merging science with art to find new ways of communicating cutting-edge research. Her collaboration with writer and theatre director Erika Stockholm (pictured together above) will launch at Hay Festival Arequipa in Peru, 7-10 November 2019.