Glacier Shallap – Or the Sad Tale of a Dying Glacier

18 December 2019

Hay Festival and the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, a part of UK Research and Innovation) have today released Glacier Shallap – Or the Sad Tale of a Dying Glacier, the latest film in from Trans.MISSION II, a global project pairing leading environmental researchers with award-winning storytellers to communicate cutting-edge science.

Jemma at the Hay Festival

Copyright: Hay Festival

Written by and starring Peruvian writer and actress Erika Stockholm, the short film draws on the work of Cabot Institute’s Professor Jemma Wadham and her team of glaciology experts in the High Andes.

First performed as a piece of theatre at a special event during Hay Festival Arequipa last month, the new film spotlights Peruvian glacial retreat and its impact on water security and resilience to natural hazards. In it, Stockholm tracks the glacier’s rapid melting of the past 50 years, giving voice to the glacier itself as our warming world brings about its end. Glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru have lost an astonishing quarter of their area since the 1980s.

At a time of unprecedented public interest in how human actions affect the environment, Trans.MISSION II is pairing NERC researchers from Peru, Colombia and the UK with artists and storytellers in each country to create stories about ongoing research projects.

Trans.MISSION II is the first international public engagement collaboration project for NERC, with new pieces of work to be launched at subsequent events in Cartagena, Colombia (30 January-2 February 2020) and in Hay-on-Wye, Wales (21-31 May 2020).

Erika Stockholm said:

“We wanted to explore the problem of melting glaciers from a more emotional perspective through a story that connects fact with feeling. Our aim is for non-specialists to understand what is happening and to consider how to reverse this tragedy of climate change.”

Professor Jemma Wadham said:

“I’ve been passionate about glaciers and their changing wildernesses since the age of 14 and have seen first-hand the impacts of climate warming on our glaciers. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Erika to create powerful stories about changing glaciers in the tropical Andes of Peru, touching people in a way that would be difficult to achieve using scientific facts alone.”

Andy Fryers, Sustainability Director at Hay Festival, said:

“We are really pleased to be launching this collaboration between Erika Stockholm and Jemma Wadham. Wherever we are in the world, Hay Festival is a home for storytellers, a space for writers and readers to come together and explore the biggest challenges of our time. Trans.MISSION II offers a new platform for collaboration between storytellers from two different worlds, artists and scientists. We hope that by building this shared space for engagement at the cutting edge of environmental research with NERC, we can find new ways to imagine a better future together.”

Alison Robinson, Director of Corporate Affairs, Futures & Change at NERC, said:

“I am so pleased that NERC is again able to work with Hay Festival, this time to take Trans.MISSION II to a global audience and bring those stories home again to the UK. Trans.MISSION II brings cutting-edge environmental science alive by allowing people to grapple with the challenges in their own way and come together to share their experiences and expertise, informed by excellent science. Trans.MISSION II is a collaboration between researchers and storytellers, and brings important new perspectives on our world. We are very excited to see what people can gain from these stories as they unfold.”

Jemma and Erika at the Hay Festival

Copyright: Hay Festival

After Peru, Colombia’s collaboration will focus on the importance of biodiversity and will feature Colombian art critic, curator, translator and author Juan Cardenas, while the UK will look at droughts and water scarcity, with participants to be announced soon.

An artist, illustrator or animator will then be commissioned to create an overarching piece – an animation, infographic or animated text – that will combine and communicate the common themes. These pieces will aim to inform, engage and inspire members of the public and future researchers in environmental science and the processes of research.

The project follows 2018’s UK-only pilot, which saw three films released: Message from Antarctica by polar researcher Emily Shuckburgh and illustrator Chris Haughton, Clean Air Starts at Home by Aardman Animation Studios director Dan Binns and atmospheric chemist Professor Ally Lewis (voiced by Marcus Brigstocke), and the Weather Watching series by poet Nicola Davies and climate scientist Ed Hawkins. View them online at

Erika Stockholm is a Peruvian writer, theatre producer and actress, and President of the Asociación Cultural ¡Al teatro por primera vez!. This non-profit association’s main aim is to encourage and promote culture to children, teenagers and adults who have few resources to take part in cultural and artistic activities. She has published 10 children’s books, among them María Julia y el árbol gallinero and, most recently, Pabellón, spotlighting the plight of Venezuelan refugees. Her stories have been translated and adapted to theatre, and used as a model in workshops on literature and creativity.

Jemma Wadham is Professor in Glaciology from the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol (currently on secondment). She researches hydrological and biogeochemical processes that occur within glacier and ice sheet systems and in their fore fields, which have a regional or global impact. She has published more than 100 scientific articles and book contributions and is currently leading field expeditions to glaciers in Peru, Chile, Greenland and the Himalaya.

For more information on Professor Wadham’s involvement check out the entries on NERC’s Engage Blog.

You can find an English downloadable version of the story here:

You can read more information about the project and NERC’s work in South America here:



Our videos are hosted by YouTube and require JavaScript to be enabled to view them.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Hay Festival have joined forces for Trans.MISSION II, a global project pairing leading environmental researchers with award-winning storytellers. Peruvian writer, theatre producer and actress Erika Stockholm and the Cabot Institute’s Professor Jemma Wadham have worked together to create this story about Peruvian glacial retreat and its impact on water security. Glacier Shallap – or the sad tale of a dying glacier is based upon NERC and Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica (CONCYTEC) funded research programme Peruvian Glacial Retreat and its Impact on Water Security & Resilience to Natural Hazards. More information is available here.

Our videos are hosted by YouTube and require JavaScript to be enabled to view them.

Notes to editors

About Hay Festival

Hay Festival is a not-for-profit organisation that brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be.

Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas. The Festival’s global conversation shares the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences live, in print and online. Hay Festival also runs wide programmes of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages.

In 1987, the festival was dreamt up around a kitchen table in Hay. Thirty-two years later, the unique marriage of exacting conversations and entertainment for all ages has travelled to editions in 30 locations, from the historic town of Cartagena in Colombia to the heart of cities in Peru, Mexico, Spain and Croatia. The organisation now reaches a global audience of hundreds of thousands every year and continues to grow and innovate, building partnerships and initiatives alongside some of the leading bodies in arts and the media.

Acclaimed author, actor and writer Stephen Fry is President of the organisation; Peter Florence is Director; and Caroline Michel, CEO of leading literary and talent agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop, is Chair of the Festival board.

About Hay Festival Foundation

Hay Festival Foundation is a registered charity created to support the aims of Hay Festival in the UK and internationally. The Foundation brings people of all ages together to support educational initiatives and opportunities. It is committed to access, inclusion and to the pursuit of excellence. The Foundation is supported through philanthropy and charitable grants with donations welcomed at

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, is Chair of the Hay Festival Foundation and works alongside trustees Rosie Boycott, Caroline Michel, Maurice Saatchi, and Alice Sherwood.

Coming up…

  • Hay Festival Medellín, Colombia (29-31 January 2020)
  • Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (30 January-2 February 2020)
  • Hay Festival Abu Dhabi, UAE (24-27 February 2020)
  • Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye, Wales (21-31 May 2020)
  • Hay Festival Europa28, Croatia (3-5 June 2020)
  • Hay Festival Querétaro, Mexico (September 2020)
  • Hay Festival Segovia, Spain (September 2020)
  • Hay Forum Moquegua, Peru (November 2020)
  • Hay Festival Arequipa, Peru (November 2020)
  • Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye Winter Weekend, Wales (December 2020)

About NERC

NERC is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world’s most exciting research projects, tackling major environmental issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is part of UK Research & Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

About UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

UK Research and Innovation is also delivering specific aspects of  the UK government’s no-deal planning for EU Exit.  To keep up to date please visit our dedicated pages. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

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