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Tyneside Geographical Society Lecture: Pocketbooks, cairns and carrier pigeons: polar postal systems by Nancy Campbell

Nancy Campbell, writer

Date/Time: Thursday 17 March 2022, 5.30pm

Venue: This is an online event

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Hosted by Professor Sally Shortall, Co-Chair of the Public Lectures Committee 

How has the environment influenced communication across the circumpolar north? From the correspondence of nineteenth-century explorers to indigenous narratives and memorials, the circulation of personal histories is interwoven with topography. This lecture explores textual practice in the north and considers how contemporary readers salvage and interpret these documents.


Nancy Campbell received the prestigious Ness Award 2020 from the Royal Geographical Society for her literary response to the Arctic environment, including works of non-fiction (The Library of Ice), poetry (Disko Bay) and artist’s books (How to Say ‘I Love You’ in Greenlandic). In 2018 she was appointed the UK’s Canal Laureate: the poems written during her two-year tenure were installed along the waterways where they could be seen projected on wharves at night, stencilled on towpaths, or engraved into fish gates. Nancy’s work has been commissioned for arts and heritage organisations including the Royal Academy, the British Library, the BBC, and most recently the Dutch chamber orchestra Ensemble VONK, and she contributes regularly to the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. She grew up in the “debatable lands” of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, and is currently based in Oxford.

Live Q&A:

The lecture will be followed by a live Q&A with the speaker. You can submit a question in advance by sending an email to or during the event using YouTube Live Chat or via Twitter @InsightsNCL.

This event will be hosted on YouTube, registration is not required.