After months of hard work and preparation, 23 students from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) will embark on a 21-day expedition to Antarctica on 14 December.
This journey is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Students will undertake interdisciplinary research projects leading to original artworks that will help raise awareness about the importance of protecting our fragile environment.
Among the attendees for a reception held on 13 December to mark the group’s departure were Dr Rebecca Lee Lok-sze, the first person from Hong Kong, and the first woman, to conquer the North Pole, the South Pole, and Mount Everest; plus representatives from sponsors and partners, along with CityU’s senior management and faculty.
“CityU students are prepared to discover and innovate throughout their studies as a central feature of our new Discovery-enriched Curriculum. Our students are ready to explore the unique characteristics of Antarctica, using interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives that they have acquired at CityU,” said Professor Arthur Ellis, Acting President, at the reception, wishing the students a safe and productive journey.
Professor Jeffrey Shaw, Dean of the School of Creative Media (SCM), said in his address at the reception that the extreme environment would be a catalyst for creativity and innovation.
“This challenging trip will enable students to create media art and design projects that offer new approaches to understanding one of the world’s most fragile environments,” he said.
Mr Scott Hessels, SCM Associate Professor and the leader of the Antarctica team, thanked CityU, donors and the partners for their generous support.
“The students have done a strenuous amount of preparation for this trip, including intensive physical, first-aid and equipment training, since September. They are ready for the challenge,” he said.
The Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation and UCan are the chief sponsors for the journey. The students are also sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, XSories, LUSH, Parrot and DOS Teamwear. FringeBacker is a partner in the expedition.
The student participants expressed their excitement ahead of the expedition.
“As an avid traveler, I have always wanted to visit Antarctica. Also, from an academic standpoint, being able to perform interdisciplinary research in such a remote and pristine location is truly exciting. The University is giving us a tremendous opportunity and we are very lucky to have been selected,” said Debarun Dhar, a computer engineering student.
Angson Chow Yun-fu, an SCM student, said humans rarely set foot in Antarctica, an isolated continent filled with stories and myths.
“Chances are I will only go to Antarctica once in my life,” he said. “The voyage is a chance for me to see the fascinating land, allowing me to appreciate the world in its raw and wilder form. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity given.”
The projects conducted by the students in Antarctica will include tracking penguins, studying lichens, and examining the physical properties of icebergs and the aurora. They will return to Hong Kong on 3 January 2014 and will showcase the outcomes of their artistic projects in an exhibition later in the year.