Polar Portals

Making polar science accessible to young people


Polar Impact is an inclusive network of racial and ethnic minorities and allies in the polar research community. Polar Portals is a schools outreach programme which aims to connect children from inner-city schools with diverse polar scientists in the Antarctic.

This project is led by Polar Impact and funded by The Alan Turing Institute. 

Polar Impact


Connections are lacking between children from minority communities and science-based role models, who may therefore feel data and polar science is not an accessible career option. There is a recognised diversity problem in data science, cryosphere science, and Earth Sciences more widely. This project will connect pupils from high-deprivation schools, with ethnically and socially diverse polar scientists, through novel and creative methods. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of children seeing themselves represented in science

In autumn 2022,  Polar Portals (AR enabled postcards) will be sent via the Antarctic to schools in the UK to inspire and engage children to consider a career in polar research, especially among the target audience of 8–12 year olds from racial and ethnic minorities. The postcards will present visual artworks connected to the theme of polar regions, exploration and science.

On the reverse of the postcards, pupils will be able to access a QR code to learn about the postcard’s journey and bring it to life through AR, documenting the postcard's journey and that of the participating polar researchers through video diary entries and personal messages.

Postcard artwork will be commissioned from BIPOC artists living in polar regions, as well as a competition for school children to submit their own design.

Together with Royal Museums Greenwich, an under-18s Postcard Design Competition will be held with local schools in East London. The winning postcard will be stocked in the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust Penguin Post Office, Antarctica, and available for purchase. A temporary exhibition for all entries to the competition will be hosted at the National Maritime Museum in December 2022. 

Get involved

We are looking for polar researchers from diverse backgrounds to get involved and support the work of Polar Impact. Please contact: [email protected]  

Project partners


Centre for Satellite Data in Environmental Science (SENSE), UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, Royal Museums Greenwich