Pick up a postcard from the Penguin Post Office in Antarctica

Postcards designed by London schoolchildren will be stocked in the world’s most southerly post office

Wednesday 14 Dec 2022

Polar-inspired postcards designed by students from Cardwell Primary School in Woolwich, London and two illustrators are en route to Antarctica to the world’s most southerly post office, as part of a project funded by The Alan Turing Institute and Polar Impact.

Postcard designs from illustrators Emma Armitage and Farid Hussein Perez
Postcard designs from illustrators Emma Armitage and Farid Hussein Pérez

The three winning schoolchildren’s designs were announced recently at the National Maritime Museum. All designs created for the competition are currently on display at the National Maritime Museum as part of a pop-up exhibition.

The polar landscape provided creative inspiration, with icebergs, penguins, seals and orca whales all featured on the artwork.

Images of winning designs from the school children
Images of winning designs from the school children

The project aims to encourage students to consider careers in polar science and to picture how the polar regions relate to their lives.

The postcards are travelling with polar researchers from the British Antarctic Survey, the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling and Imperial College London. Some are making the journey on the RRS Sir David Attenborough ship.

Polar explorers holding winning designs of the children's postcards
Polar researchers with the children's winning designs in Antartica

From January the illustrators’ postcards will be posted back to schools so students can follow the intrepid journeys of the polar scientists through an interactive QR code. The postcards will also link to resources that will encourage the children to imagine themselves as polar explorers.

Every year over 70,000 items are posted to around 100 countries from Port Lockroy in Antarctica - affectionately known to some as the Penguin Post Office due to the 1,500 resident Gentoo penguins.

The project has been run by Polar Impact, whose aim is to support, connect, and highlight the stories of Black, Asian, Indigenous, people of colour, and minority ethnic professionals in the polar research community.

Premdeep Gill, Enrichment Student at The Alan Turing Institute and Polar Impact founder, said: “Involving more people and perspectives in polar research is essential to ensuring we develop the most robust and inclusive plans to protect our polar regions.”

“We hope this project inspires people to consider polar science as a career option. Being able to see the journeys of polar scientists will help bring to life what polar researchers do and will hopefully encourage them to think that is something they could do too.”

Notes to editor:

This project has been supported by Royal Museums Greenwich, The Satellite Data in Environmental Science – Centre for Doctoral Training (SENSE CDT) and its EDI Champion and National Geographic.

The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection telling stories of Britain’s epic relationship with the sea, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The National Maritime Museum is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the Royal Observatory, the 17th-century Queen’s House and the clipper ship Cutty Sark. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings are also major centres of education and research. The mission of Royal Museums Greenwich is to enrich people’s understanding of the sea, the exploration of space, and Britain's role in world history.

Header image: Anton Rodionov/Shutterstock.com