Oceanography – bridging the gap between art and science, David Munro

  • 5:15pm

  • Hunter Building, Hunter Lecture Theatre (017)
    74 Lauriston Place
    EH3 9DF

The close scientific collaboration in the Arctic between William Bruce and the ‘sailor prince’ Albert I of Monaco has emerged as an important facet in our understanding of the role of art in relation to exploration and oceanographic science in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has also resulted in David Munro’s appointment as a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The building of the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and the Oceanographic Institute in Paris by HSH Prince Albert I can be seen as fulfilling his desire to recognise art and science as the two key forces in the development of civilisation prior to the outbreak of World War I. In this endeavour he employed artists, not only for scientific illustrative purposes but also to decorate his two great temples to the oceans, drawing on the exuberance of life forms adopted as a model by the Art Nouveau movement.

A graduate in Ecology and Resource Management with a doctorate in Historical Geography, both obtained at the University of Edinburgh, David Munro was a Research Fellow at Edinburgh University for over a decade before becoming Director of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), a post which he held for 12 years from 1996.  During his time at RSGS he organised ‘The Scotia Centenary Programme’ celebrating the anniversary of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition led by the naturalist, oceanographer and polar explorer Dr William Speirs Bruce. The artistic works associated with the voyage of SY Scotia to Antarctica in 1902-04 played an important part in this programme and in the subsequent launch of International Polar Year in 2007.


Part of the History of At Research Seminar Series 2018/19.