Tag Archives: Katherine Brickell

Crossing the Gender Divide

Eileen Healey filming in the Alps, 1950s. Courtesy The Daily Telegraph.

Benjamin Sacks

This month, as the Royal Geographical Society marks the centenary of Robert Scott’s tragic expedition to the South Pole, it is all too easy to view exploration as ‘a man’s sport’. We conjure images of Scott, Shackleton, Hillary and Norgay, and Fuchs, bravely fighting the elements in their attempts to overcome the earth’s extremes. But women’s vital roles in the history of exploration has received considerably less attention. In the most recent issue of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Katherine Brickell and Bradley L Garrett (Royal Holloway, University of London) sought to address this discrepancy. Their article chronicled the work of women in filming expeditions during the great age of Himalayan mountain-climbing (c.1930-c.1960). Acknowledging the important use of film in nineteenth and twentieth century exploration, Brickell and Garrett recalled the experiences of Eileen Healey, ‘a visionary British female mountaineer and amateur filmmaker’, who died on 8 September 2010 at 89 (1).

In the summer of 1959, Healey joined nine other women, led by Claude Kogan, a French swimwear designer-turned-alpine climber, on a expedition to the Himalayas. They hoped to climb – and film for all to see – Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth-highest peak. The expedition, which began amid tremendous media furore, horribly ended when an avalanche killed Kogan, the Belgian Claudine van der Stratten, and two male Sherpa guides. After the disaster, she kept her 16-mm film stored in her house; according to The Guardian, it was not publicly screened until a half-century later, in 2009.

Healey’s self-deprecating, humble style belied her true cinematographic abilities. She borrowed her husband’s portable movie camera, and began the film with a plate reminding the audience that she had no prior experience. Yet her work, as Brickell and Garrett articulated, was talented, insightful, and ultimately ‘a rich resource for geographical [and cultural] research’ (2). Their focus on Healey served two key motives: (1) to remind geographers of the critical role women have played (and will continue to play) in geographic exploration, research, and documentation; (2) a general request for geographers and explorers alike to begin filming their experiences again, and not to solely rely on internet blogs or ‘sensationalist media’ (2-3).

 Katherine Brickell and Bradley L Garrett, ‘Geography, Film and Exploration: Women and Amateur Filmmaking in the Himalayas‘, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series (2012): 1-5.

 Ed Douglas, ‘Eileen Healey Obituary‘, The Guardian, 22 November 2010, accessed 18 April 2012.

 In 2009, an all-female Commonwealth expedition successfully skied to the South Pole. Find out more at the Kaspersky Commonwealth Expedition.

Content Alert: New Articles (13th April 2012)

The following Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.

Original Articles

Body capital and the geography of aging
Maurizio Antoninetti and Mario Garrett
Article first published online: 4 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01089.x

Commentary

Combining sustainable agricultural production with economic and environmental benefits
Amir Kassam and Hugh Brammer
Article first published online: 10 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00465.x

Original Articles

Spatialising the refugee camp
Adam Ramadan
Article first published online: 10 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00509.x

The geographies of community-oriented unionism: scales, targets, sites and domains of union renewal in South Africa and beyond
David Jordhus-Lier
Article first published online: 10 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00504.x

Corpses, dead body politics and agency in human geography: following the corpse of Dr Petru Groza
Craig Young and Duncan Light
Article first published online: 10 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00502.x

Towards geographies of speech: proverbial utterances of home in contemporary Vietnam
Katherine Brickell
Article first published online: 10 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00503.x

The biopolitics of animal being and welfare: dog control and care in the UK and India
Krithika Srinivasan
Article first published online: 4 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00501.x

‘An instruction in good citizenship’: scouting and the historical geographies of citizenship education
Sarah Mills
Article first published online: 4 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00500.x

Boundary Crossings

Geography, film and exploration: women and amateur filmmaking in the Himalayas
Katherine Brickell and Bradley L Garrett
Article first published online: 10 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00505.x