From Antarctica to Outer Space: The Psychology of Extreme, Isolated and Confined Environments
In March 2016, I have been offered the chance to join the 2041 International Antarctic Expedition leaving from Ushuaia in Argentina and sailing down the Antarctic Peninsula.
As part of the expedition I will participate in the ‘Leadership on the Edge’ programme devised and delivered by Polar Medal recipient Robert Swan which will involve conducting research on the performance of small groups operating in extreme, unusual and isolated environments. The unique international nature of this expedition provides a rare opportunity to study group cohesion in a culturally-diverse set of individuals, who have never met before and who will be operating in stressful conditions. The findings will tell us more about the different personality factors and coping strategies used by individuals and groups when managing challenging events. Such research, and the information gained from it, is so important for preparing international expedition groups for travel into extreme environments, especially as journeys to remote parts of the Earth and beyond are becoming increasingly more available.
With developments in technology, it is now possible to create an immersive and real-time account of experiences and allows supporters to share in the expedition and research activities from the all over the world. Before, during and after the expedition I will keep a video diary (think Mark Watney in The Martian!) and regular research blog where sponsors will be personally thanked and acknowledged.
The chance the collect data in the field and conduct ethnographic research in Antarctica is not one I thought would ever happen. If you support this amazing opportunity and contribute to the research activities being undertaken I will do my best to share these moments with you, or involve you or your organisation in it. Alongside my own savings and backing of the University of Northampton, your support would cover some of the logistical costs, the research equipment needed for the project and allow us to share the findings.
Below is a little more information on the expedition and a link to the 2041 website.
The International Antarctic Expedition 2016, which hosts Robert Swan’s Leadership on the Edge program, will be an exhilarating and unpredictable adventure – a life changing experience for the international group of men and women joining Robert Swan and the 2041 Team to the last great wilderness on earth.
Antarctica provides a unique setting for this particular Expedition, bringing together people from across the globe to debate, discuss and determine firsthand the effects of climate change. Together with a team of expert lecturers, there will be an opportunity to see the effects of temperature rise on this icy and remote continent.
As a team, we will work together to create change in our families, companies, communities and countries. We will provide information, knowledge and insight from around the world to forge new relationships.
About Project Creator:
Currently a Lecturer in Sport Psychology at the University of Northampton. Nathan completed a PhD at the University of Birmingham, focusing on the motivational environment created by coaches in sport. Since then, Nathan has been researching psychological processes in extreme and isolated environments and worked closely with a variety of expedition-goers including world record breaking polar explorers. His interests are closely tied to promoting psychological health and facilitating optimal functioning in sport and physical activity contexts.
Link to the project: