Associate Professor of Environment and Culture

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones is an environmental historian and expedition leader. 

Huw is a storyteller and seafarer, a field naturalist and wilderness guide, an award-winning author and teacher. He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, directs research projects across the world, and leads voyages to challenging places. He is a creative adventurer and conservation advocate, exploring new ways of thinking. 

Huw has written best-selling books that have now been published in eighteen languages. He continues to work as an international photo editor, an art director, an academic researcher, sometimes as museum curator, and often as polar bear guard. His first ever job was as a beach cleaner. These days he encourages his students to spend as much time as they can outside and offline.

Huw’s books include The Sea Journal, Explorers’ Sketchbooks, Imagining the ArcticArchipelago, Ocean PortraitsThe LifeboatThe Crossing of AntarcticaIn Search of the South PoleThe Conquest of Everest, and The Writer’s Map, which picked up multiple prizes including the Stanford Award for Illustrated Book of the Year. He is currently at work on new collections – Swallowed by a Whale, and The Animal Image – and a larger ongoing research project relating to wild nature and environmental histories of photography. 

In recent years Huw has been teaching in lecture halls, at festivals, on ships, by glaciers, and on remote volcanic islands, from the South Pacific to the High Arctic. He likes to navigate boats into the ice, taking people north to see whales and polar bears in the wild, or south, to penguin rookeries, albatross colonies, and yet more ice.

Huw also curates photo exhibitions and has appeared in BBC documentaries. He has been a Fellow at Harvard University and Curator of both the Scott Polar Research Institute and the National Maritime Museum in London. He won the Leif Erikson Award in 2015 for his advocacy of exploration, photography and wilderness heritage. Most recently, he was Green Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

In 2018 Huw became the new Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University, where he teaches his students about culture, history, conservation, and creativity. He is based in the Institute of Photography but also works with creative partners across many time-zones. He can mostly be found making books and messing about in boats. 

External Links

Contact details



Year Qualification Awarding body
2007 PhD: Arctic, Visual Culture, Environment, Exploration University of Cambridge
2002 MPhil: Polar Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences University of Cambridge
2001 BA: Geography, Conservation, Arctic, Himalayas University of Cambridge

Honors and awards

Year Description

Winner. The Writer’s Map, British Book Design and Production Awards, London


Winner. The Sea Journal, Gold Medal, Motovun Book Awards, Frankfurt


Winner. The Writer’s Map, World Fantasy Awards, Los Angeles


Winner. The Writer’s Map, Gold Medal, Motovun Book Awards, Frankfurt


Winner. Explorers’ Sketchbooks, First China Nature Book Award, Beijing


Winner. The Writer’s Map, Edward Stanford Award for Illustrated Book of the Year, London


Winner. Explorers’ Sketchbooks, Taiwan Open Book Award, Taipei


Finalist. Explorers' Sketchbooks, Edward Stanford Travel Book of the Year, London


Finalist. Across the Arctic Ocean, History Award at the Banff Mountain Festival


Winner. The Conquest of Everest, History Award at the Banff Mountain Festival


Winner. Mountain Heroes, Adventure Book of the Year at the World ITB Awards, Frankfurt


Finalist. Mountain Heroes, Mountain Literature at the Banff Mountain Festival


Finalist. Ocean Portraits, the Mountbatten Maritime Media Award for Best Literature, London

Membership of external committees

Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (2003-Present)

Research Interests

Research interests and expertise

Environmental Humanities
Animal History
Visual Culture
Polar Regions
Conservation and Heritage
Public History
Writing and Publishing
Public Speaking
Wildlife Film 

Research centre and group affiliations

Environmental Futures

Research Topics

  • Animal History
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Photography
  • Visual Culture

Research Outputs

Publications and research outputs

  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2019), Archipelago: An Atlas of Imagined Islands, Thames & Hudson, London, ISBN: 978-0500022566, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2019), The Sea Journal: Seafarers’ Sketchbooks, Thames & Hudson, London, ISBN: 978-0500021279, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2018), The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ISBN: 978-0226596631, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Axelsson, Ragnar

    (2017), Faces of the North: Ragnar Axlesson, Crymogea, Reykjavík, ISBN: 978-9935420404
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2017), Imagining the Arctic: Heroism, Spectacle and Polar Exploration, I.B. Tauris / Bloomsbury, London, ISBN: 978-0755600991, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Herbert, Kari

    (2016), Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery, Chronicle, San Francisco, ISBN: 978-0500252192
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2015), Across the Arctic Ocean: Original Photographs from the Last Great Polar Journey, Thames & Hudson, London, ISBN: 978-0500252147
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Lowe, George

    (2014), The Crossing of Antarctica: Original Photographs from the Epic Journey that Fulfilled Shackleton’s Dream, Thames & Hudson, London, ISBN: 978-0500252024
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Barnett, Cristian

    (2014), Life on the Line: People of the Arctic Circle, Polarworld, London, ISBN: 978-0955525582
  • Axelsson, Ragnar

    (2014), Ragnar Axelsson: Photo Poche, Actes Sud, Paris, ISBN: 978-2330017576, (Published)
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Lowe, George

    (2013), The Conquest of Everest: Original Photographs from the Legendary First Ascent, Thames & Hudson, London, ISBN: 978-0500544235
  • Lowe, George

    (2013), Letters from Everest, Silverbear, London, ISBN: 978-0955525537
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Millard, Nigel

    (2013), The Lifeboat: Courage on our Coasts, Conway and RNLI, London, ISBN: 978-1844862177
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Parry, Bruce

    (2011), Arctic: Bruce Parry, BBC and Conway, London, ISBN: 978-1844861309
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Herbert, Kari

    (2011), In Search of the South Pole, Conway, London, ISBN: 978-1844861378
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2011), Mountain Heroes: Portraits of Adventure, Conway, London, ISBN: 978-0762779918
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2010), Face to Face: Ocean Portraits, Conway, London, ISBN: 978-1844861248
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw and Axelsson, Ragnar

    (2010), Last Days of the Arctic, Polarworld, London, ISBN: 978-9935420305
  • Lewis-Jones, Huw

    (2008), Face to Face: Polar Portraits, Scott Polar Research Institute / Polarworld, Cambridge / London, ISBN: 978-0901021083

Research Students

Current research students

Huw welcomes prospective PhD students on subjects ranging from wildlife, environment and sustainability, photography and film, to creative futures more broadly. Please see our first IOP doctoral brief ENVIRO/PHOTO for more information.


Areas of teaching

  • Animal History
  • Conservation and Heritage
  • Curation
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Fieldcraft
  • Photography
  • Polar Regions
  • Public Speaking
  • Sustainability
  • Visual Culture
  • Wildlife Film
  • Writing and Publishing

Courses taught

  • BA(Hons) Marine and Natural History Photography

Professional Engagement

Independent professional practice

Author and Editor

  • 2020 Swallowed by a Whale: How to Survive the Writing Life (London: British Library) 
  • 2019 Archipelago: An Atlas of Imagined Islands (London: Thames & Hudson)
  • 2019 The Sea Journal: Seafarers’ Sketchbooks (London: Thames & Hudson)
  • 2018 The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands (Chicago: University of Chicago Press)
  • 2017 Imagining the Arctic (London: IB Tauris)
  • 2017 Faces of the North: Ragnar Axelsson (Reykjavík: Crymogea)
  • 2016 Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery (London: Thames & Hudson)
  • 2015 Across the Arctic Ocean (London: Thames & Hudson)
  • 2014 The Crossing of Antarctica (London: Thames & Hudson)
  • 2014 Ragnar Axelsson (Paris: Actes Sud)
  • 2014 Life on the Line: People of the Arctic Circle (London: Polarworld)
  • 2013 The Conquest of Everest (London: Thames & Hudson) 
  • 2013 The Lifeboat (London: Conway/Royal National Lifeboat Institution)
  • 2013 Letters from Everest (London: Silverbear)
  • 2011 In Search of the South Pole (London: Conway)
  • 2011 Arctic: Bruce Parry (London: Conway/BBC)
  • 2011 Mountain Heroes: Portraits of Adventure (London: Conway) 
  • 2010 Face to Face: Ocean Portraits (London: Conway)
  • 2010 Last Days of the Arctic: Ragnar Axelsson (Reykjavík: Crymogea)
  • 2008 Face to Face: Polar Portraits (Cambridge: Scott Polar Research Institute) 

Social, community and cultural engagement

Exhibition Curator

  • 2015 Across the Arctic Ocean: Photographs by Sir Wally Herbert 
  • 2014 Life on the Line: Photographs by Cristian Barnett 
  • 2014 The Crossing of Antarctica: Photographs by George Lowe 
  • 2013 Courage on our Coasts: Photographs by Nigel Millard
  • 2014 The Conquest of Antarctica: Photographs by George Lowe 
  • 2012 Last Days of the Arctic: Photographs by Ragnar Axelsson
  • 2010 Sananquaq: Inuit Art in Britain 
  • 2010 Inuit Art: Masterworks from the Arctic
  • 2009 Flood Cycle: Visual Impressions of a Changing Planet 
  • 2009 John Gale and Sons: Painting the Southern Ocean
  • 2009 Glacial Shift: Alpine Artworks by Emma Stibbon
  • 2008 Face to Face: Polar Photographs by Martin Hartley
  • 2008 Immaqa Aqagu/Maybe Tomorrow: Photographs by Tiina Itkonen
  • 2008 South Georgia: Environmental Histories at the Edge of the World
  • 2008 Nanoq: Photographs by Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson
  • 2008 Breaking the Ice: Antarctica with Jörg Schmeisser
  • 2008 The Changing Arctic: Photographs by Louise Murray
  • 2008 First Across: Pioneering Antarctic Photography
  • 2007 Freeze Frame: Historic Polar Photography 

Film Contributor

  • 2015 Everest Revealed: Imagining the Himalayas, Timeshift for BBC4 (UK) 
  • 2015 Franklin’s Lost Ships, documentary film for PBS Nova (USA), C4 (UK), CBC (Canada) 
  • 2013 Everest: Beyond the Edge, 3D docudrama for General Film Corporation (NZ) 
  • 2012 Frank Wild: Surviving Antarctica, documentary film for BBC2 (UK)  
  • 2011 Antarctica: Natural Histories of Ice,documentary film for BBC4 (UK)
  • 2008 Wilderness Explored: Arctic, Central Australia, Congo, three-part series for BBC4 (UK)
  • 2007 Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery, ABC (NZ/UK) and History Channel (USA)

Engagement with professional associations and societies

Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (2003-Present)
Polar Guide, IATTO (2010-Present)
Polar Guide, AECO (2010-Present)
Conservation Philanthropy, Polar Bears International, WDC, RZSS, WWF (2016-Present) 
Guest Curator, Guernsey Literary Festival (2019-Present)
Chair of Judges, WriteStuff Awards (2019-Present)
Elected Council Member, 1805 Club Charity (2005-2015)
Editor, The Trafalgar Chronicle Journal (2005-2015)
Curator of Art, Cambridge University (2007-2010)
Editor, The Lifeboat Project, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (2010-2013)

Professional esteem indicators

Year Description

British Book Design and Production Awards for Book of the Year, London


Edward Stanford Award for Illustrated Book of the Year, London


The Green Visiting Professorship, University of British Columbia, Vancouver


The Leif Erikson Award for ‘services to exploration and heritage’, Iceland


Elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London