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Homeward Bound leadership program to include Antarctic voyage

News story

Curtin researchers have been chosen to take part in Homeward Bound, an inspirational program framed around a two-and-a-half week trip to Antarctica, aiming to elevate the role of women in leadership and promote discussions about global environmental sustainability.

The Homeward Bound program will end with a sea voyage to Antarctica in 2016 (photo: Andrew Mandemaker)

Dr Amanda Davies, a researcher and senior lecturer within the Department of Planning and Geography, and Dr Samantha Hall, a built environment researcher within the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, have been chosen for the Homeward Bound program.

Developed by Australian leadership expert Fabian Dattner and Australian marine ecologist Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas, the program will focus on a 20-day sea voyage to Antarctica from 2 to 21 December 2016 to raise discussions about leadership practice, polar science and climate change.

Prior to this, the participants will collaborate across a series of projects. One project will study the Homeward Bound program itself to see how leadership and science training are impacting the participants, while another will examine women in science innovation.

Mrs Dattner says the program presents an exciting opportunity for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to help shape the future of global sustainability.

“The entire learning focus will be framed by the Antarctic experience,” says Mrs Dattner.

“Everything we do, everything we see, all the places we land, the people we meet, the animals we watch, all the discussions between us, the vision and values we focus on, the leadership and strategic content presented; this is all about our role in a sustainable world.”

All together, 78 women in the field of science from countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, UK and US were selected to take part.

Interested participants were required to submit a written component and a videoed two-minute elevator pitch. Dr Davies and Dr Hall were excited to build a network of likeminded professionals upon learning they were accepted into the Homeward Bound program.

“As a researcher, I am interested in identifying the social, economic and cultural barriers to the mainstreaming of sustainable practices,” says Dr Davies, who has examined issues about regional and rural change and adaptation and socio-economic viability.

“Homeward Bound presents an opportunity to be involved in the establishment of a global faculty of women scientists who are all committed to pursuing a sustainable future for our planet and society through science, science communication or science leadership.”

Dr Hall, whose research focuses on the environmental and health impacts from the built environment  says, “I kept reading about what was needed to mitigate climate change, but there were no clear roadmaps. I think this network is the start of a new roadmap.”

Her particular interests are innovation and entrepreneurship, and how to turn ideas into positive solutions for climate change.

“Climate change is no longer a maybe, but the level of impact is what we can now control. I think the power of 78 women working together across the globe has the potential to create really innovative solutions to complex issues.”

This program is the first of a 10-year initiative to build a 1,000 strong international collaboration of women in science to discuss environmental sustainability.

We wish Dr Davies and Dr Hall all the best for their voyage.

For more information about Dr Davies and Dr Hall’s involvement within the program, read Curtin University’s media release.

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