Virtually Shackleton 2021

Watch it back on YouTube

100 years ago, the Quest was between Lisbon and Madeira on what was to be Shackleton’s final expedition.

The  21st Shackleton Autumn School and 2nd ever ‘Virtually Shackleton’, was a truly international online event. It drew hundreds of people from around the world with a shared interest in the Boss. 

Thanks to the continued support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, ‘Virtually Shackleton’ was once again free of charge to attend.

View the Schedule

Here’s what we got up to on Saturday, October 30th 2021.






Opening of VS2021

10.20 – 11.20

Jan Chojecki

John Quiller Rowett and the Quest

11:30 – 12:00

Jo Woolf

Sir Ernest Shackleton at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society

12:10 – 12:30

Meredith Hooper

Jean de Pomereu

Frank Hurley’s Endurance Photographs: Preservation and Printing

12:40 – 13:10

Brad Borkan

David Hirzel

Book Launch – Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results

13:10 – 13:30

Angelina Foster

Printmaking at the Sign of the Penguins 

14:00 – 14:50

Bob Headland

The non-Existent Islands of the Southern Ocean

15:00 – 15:20

Alan Noake

Shackleton’s Scouts

15:30 – 15:50

Jonathan Hal Reynolds

Shackleton’s Endurance Diary

 16:00 – 16:40

Seb Coulthard

 The James Caird

16:50 – 17:30

Isobel Williams

John Dudeney

Sir Clements Markham: Both Loveable and Malignant

17:40 – 18:20

Mirador Media

Shackleton Museum Redevelopment

18:40 – 20:00


Virtual Pint in O’Briens!

20:00 – 21:10


Southward on the Quest

(All times were local Irish time which is GMT+1).

Meet the Speakers

  • Brad Borkan has always been fascinated with how people and businesses can make better decisions. With a graduate degree in Decision Sciences, Brad is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He has presented at business and Antarctic conferences,  appeared on US-based cable TV, and on numerous historical and business-focused podcasts. Brad’s expertise lies in the themes of leadership, teamwork, and winning against the odds. Brad has co-authored, with David Hirzel: When Your Life Depends on It: Extreme Decision Making Lessons from the Antarctic,  Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results.: How an Explorer, an Engineer and a Statesman Shaped our Modern World.



  • Meredith Hooper was born and raised in Adelaide, Australia. She graduated in history from the University of Adelaide, then studied imperial history at Oxford. She is a member of the Association of British Science Writers, Royal Institution, and the  British Society for the History of Science. In 2000, the National Science Foundation and the Congress of the United States awarded Hooper the Antarctica Service Medal. In 2014, Meredith was named the Australian of the Year in the UK. A prolific author with a range of exploration-related topics, she is also the mother of film director Tom Hooper. After seeing a 2007 reading of an unproduced play, she told her son she thought he should consider pursuing it for a film adaptation; the project became his Academy Award-winning film, The King’s Speech.


  • Dr Jan Chojecki is the grandson of John Quiller Rowett, who financed the Shackleton-Rowett (Quest) Expedition of 1921-22. He has a degree and PhD in Natural Sciences and has spent his career working in public sector technology transfer. In his hobby role of family archivist, he has published the WW1 letters of his great uncle in “We Are All Flourishing – the Letters and Diary of Captain Walter JJ Coats MC, 1914-1919” (Helion 2016) and currently he publishes a web blog on the Quest expedition and on Twitter.


  • Angelina Foster is artist-in-residence at The Tanyard, Ballitore, Co Kildare. Her passion is to foster interest in Ireland’s words, heritage and culture and to make them available to all through accessible and engaging art experiences, giving everyone the opportunity to explore their own creativity. As an artist and a printmaker, her practice is based on collaboration with people who have a shared love of heritage.In 2021, Angelina was awarded funding from the Begin Together Arts Fund in collaboration with The Shackleton Museum, to research Shackleton’s printmaking practices in Antarctica.



  • Seb Coulthard was born in London, raised in Quito, Ecuador, and completed his higher education in England. He is an award-winning sailor, engineer, and adventurer with 15 years of service in the Royal Navy (retired 2016). In 2013, Seb joined the Shackleton Epic Expedition, the most audacious and faithful re-enactment of the celebrated 830-mile boat journey undertaken by Sir Ernest Shackleton aboard the James Caird lifeboat from Elephant  Island to South Georgia. Afterward, he commissioned the build of the most accurate seaworthy replica of the James Caird. Future plans are for this boat to form part of the Shackleton Museum in Athy. Seb is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a joint Royal Yachting Association and Union Internationale Motonautique powerboat world record holder. 



  • Dr Jean de Pomereu’s Antarctic work is multifaceted. It comprises historical research, photography, publishing, curating and science reporting. As co-editor with Salto Ulbeek Publishers, Jean has overseen the publication and exhibiting of the first platinum-palladium prints and portfolios made from the original negatives of Frank Hurley, Herbert Ponting, and Captain Scott. Jean’s own photographic work has been widely exhibited and his historical research centers on two separate but intertwined questions: one is the visual culture of Antarctica, the other is the scientific and political history of the ice sheets. Jean is an Associate of the  Scott Polar Research Institute and is about to start a EU-funded Marie Curie  Individual Fellowship at SPRI. 



  • Dr John Dudeney joined the British Antarctic Survey in 1966 as an atmospheric scientist, rising to Base Commander at Vernadsky Station in 1968. His career took him through research roles until retirement in 2006 as Deputy Director, BAS. His experience is wide-ranging including leadership, logistics, crisis management, policymaking, and international governance of the Antarctic. He now lectures and publishes on a range of subjects relating to  Antarctica. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the American Geophysical Union. He has received the Polar Medal with clasp, and in 2004 was awarded an OBE for services to science. In 2020 a range of nunataks in the Sweeny Mountains was named after him. 


  • Alan Noake is Assistant County Commissioner (Global Projects) for Kent Scouts. He is happily married to wife Andrea, no kids, lives in the sticks near Sandwich in Kent UK, tutors in maths and is an experienced ICT consultant. He was a World Scout Jamboree Unit Leader in 2007, was one of the leaders on the Kent Scouts Expedition to South Africa in 2009 and led the Kent Scouts Expedition to Ghana in 2018. When he is not Scouting or working, he loves spending time with family & friends, is passionate  about international travel and is fanatical about all things to do with Antarctica! His book Shackleton’s Scouts is available here.



  • Bob Headland 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 Antarctic. Bob is a well known reference point for a wide range of polar matters, and has numerous publications in his own name, including the definitive ‘Chronology of Antarctic Exploration’. He has been associated with Athy’s Shackleton Autumn School since its foundation.


  • Isobel Williams qualified in medicine at St George’s Hospital, University of London and progressed to be a Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine in the National Health Service. Dr Edward Wilson (who went with Scott on both his Antarctic Expeditions) had been a student at St George’s some 70 years before and there were many examples of his beautiful paintings in the Medical School. This stimulated Isobel’s interest in the Antarctic which has continued throughout her career. 


  • Jonathan Hal Reynolds is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is the host of ‘The Explorers Roundtable’ podcast, which was created as a place for explorers to engage with scholars in discussions relevant to the science, history, and literature of exploration. He is also the founder of Elite Expeditions, an educational travel company partnered with National Geographic  Magazine. He currently lives in Texas where he teaches Literature at Baylor  University and writes novels for Harper Collins Publishing in NYC. 


  • David Hirzel is a maritime historian and author. His passion is early Antarctic exploration, expressed in his books such as the Sailor on Ice series about Tom Crean, one of Shackleton’s hardiest men. When not writing or sailing in San Francisco Bay, David pursues his career in residential architecture. David is a popular guest lecturer for Viking and other cruise lines. David has co-authored, with Brad Borkan : When Your Life Depends on It: Extreme Decision Making Lessons from the Antarctic, Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results : How an Explorer, an Engineer and a Statesman Shaped our Modern World.



  • Jo Woolf lives in Argyll, Scotland, and is Writer in Residence at  the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Her book, ‘The Great Horizon – 50 Tales of Exploration’ focuses on the lives of 50 explorers and draws on original material in RSGS collections. She also writes about the history and nature of Argyll in her blog, ‘The Hazel Tree”.