Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


Artist: Amy Richman



 Richman is a nonfiction filmmaker focused on making the complex world of academic research more approachable to a broader audience. She spent four months in the Arctic last year filming the MOSAiC expedition. She witnessed the very beginning of the expedition and is here to let us know more about the conditions there!

Into the Polar Night:

Into the Polar Night VR:

What is your professional art form?

I am a nonfiction multimedia artist and filmmaker.

How and why you ended up with polar regions in your art? What was the triggering point?

I’ve always loved science.  During the last two years of my MFA program I started looking for opportunities that supported art-science collaborations so I could create interdisciplinary work with other students on campus. 


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What are the main polar themes you generally focus on?

I would say the main themes I try to focus on in any project are wonder and curiosity. I like to believe that inspiring wonder and curiosity creates space for people to ask their own questions, which is ultimately the best way to encourage critical engagement with difficult and important conversations. 


Have you ever shared your work with an audience, as in-person or online exhibition? 

I have screened work in person for audiences in different contexts, but I’ve never made a film that’s been seen by people all over the world.  


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What was the most interesting reaction to your art?

I love when I hear people say that they’re not sure how to categorize the work: is it education outreach, is it a documentary, is it art...ha!


What is your opinion about the challenges being faced in the polar regions?

Believe the scientists when they say the climate system is changing, that the cycles within the system are changing.  That a system is complex with many remaining unknowns does not imply change isn’t happening. 


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How did you benefit your art during the current pandemic?

I got back from four months on an icebreaker ship in the Central Arctic just in time for quarantine to set in.  I made the planetarium film, Into the Polar Night, from my laptop in my bedroom in quarantine…

VR Version:

Dome Format:


Do you have any person/figure that inspires you?

I’m inspired whenever I see anyone excited about what they do.  With this film specifically, I really wanted to make something that the scientists represented in the film loved. 


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What would be your advice to the polar enthusiasts & researchers who like to use art as a tool to share their research? 

An art practice in and of itself can be a non-fiction research methodology. This is different from, say, data visualization.  I don’t know if I have advice for other people (and of course I’m not a scientist), but what I wish I could have told myself ten years ago is use whatever it is you are passionate about (or, whatever it is you notice you tend do with your spare time) as a practice or way of learning, find creative ways to collaborate with people in other disciplines and don’t try to see the finished piece before you start.  I suppose one thing I could recommend to others using art as a tool to share their research is, consider your audience.

© All pictures created by Amy Richman

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