Night Lab Launches at the Museum

19 February 2014

Young professionals enjoying a social event at the Museum.

Download a PDF of the media release.


The South Australian Museum’s exciting new event aimed at enticing young people to engage with science – Night Lab – launches this evening on North Terrace.

Media are invited to cover the premiere of the Museum’s exploration-the­­med youth event, which sold out a week before it was due to launch. This is a shining example of successful artistic and cultural collaboration in Adelaide.

Museum Director Brian Oldman said while the city stages its artistic delights as part of the Fringe and Adelaide Festivals, the Museum will launch this science event to celebrate discovery.

“We are very pleased to announce that Night Lab has sold out so far in advance of its launch. The Museum has identified a need among young people to explore new ideas and be inspired in a great setting. We look forward to welcoming the hundreds of guests here on North Terrace tonight.”

Guests will be able to mingle with Night Lab’s notable speakers and enjoy films in various locations, while enjoying wines, Little Creatures beers and Pipsqueak Apple Cider, as well as expedition-inspired food. Peter Morse’s film, Mawson’s Huts, will be shown inside the Flinders Dome, in which the images are projected 360 degrees around the viewer.

The Museum has partnered with DocWeek to screen three films exploring survival in harsh environments. To open the event, polar explorer, author and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis AM and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival David Sefton will have an intimate and unscripted discussion about survival, what’s left to be discovered, the understanding we have of ourselves and our preconceived limitations.

Mr Sefton said, “I’m delighted that the debut of Night Lab will provide the opportunity to interview the amazing Tim Jarvis. Having read all about his epic trip, I’m excited to hear more from the man himself. I think it’s great that the Museum is providing an opportunity like Night Lab for Adelaide’s 18-35 demographic.”

Polar adventurer Tim Jarvis AM recreating the Mawson expedition.

Polar explorer Tim Jarvis will share his adventures with Night Lab audiences.

Enthusiastic to connect with young people and share his story of survival in Antarctica, Mr Jarvis said Night Lab was an opportunity to inspire the curious.

“Mankind relies upon adventurous souls taking a few risks to progress. This human spirit of adventure lies at the heart of artistic expression, advances in science, medicine or politics, or any other sphere you care to mention. If for some people this spirit manifests itself in the need to climb mountains and cross oceans, just to discover what lies inside their own being, then so be it.

“We should not lose this desire to explore nor demean those who seek to, whether it is the adventure of personal discovery or a more literal journey of exploration they seek.”

DocWeek Director Joost Den Hartog said, “We are excited to show three amazing films about extreme explorations of the human condition as part of Night Lab. Through these documentaries audiences are allowed to be part of the experiences of those who explore parts of the earth we are unlikely to visit ourselves.

“I am particularly excited to screen the National Film and Sound Archive’s restored copy of Home of the Blizzard, Frank Hurley’s 1913 film about Mawson’s Antarctic expedition. It is not only the start of Australia’s documentary tradition; it is also one of the first signs of Australia’s tremendous aspirations as a budding nation.”

Night Lab has been designed by Amanda Sefton Hogg, the Museum’s Special Projects Curator, to excite and build an appreciation for science and discovery among the intelligent and driven 18-35 demographic.

Ms Sefton Hogg said, “Night Lab is a boutique event tailored for Adelaide's young adults, who don't want their science and culture ‘dumbed down’.”

“The program offers an entertaining night out in one of the city’s most intriguing venues.”

Melbourne Street café and craft shop E for Ethel will conduct an Antarctic-style yarn-bombing station. Guests can relish in the fun of knitting Mawson’s famous balaclava and his sledge, and be photographed on the evening.

Central to the intention behind Night Lab is bringing to life the scientific collections held at the Museum. On Wednesday evening, the collection centred on Sir Douglas Mawson – a world-renowned explorer from Adelaide – will be featured. Collection Manager of the Museum’s Australian Polar Collections Mark Pharaoh said seeing how people can be inspired and fascinated by the items he cares for is one of the more special parts of his job.

“Mawson led Australia’s first really major overseas scientific expedition at the age of 29 – having organised it and raised the funds, all while holding down a full-time job. And while the expedition is now best known for his dramatic sole survival ordeal, the resilience he demonstrated remains an inspiration even now, in a time when the “R word” is better appreciated and being cultivated in our younger generations.”

Mr Pharaoh will be on the ground during Night Lab to share his expertise with guests.

“Bank robber or crusader? Scientist and explorer Douglas Mawson in his balaclava has been seen as many things by many people. Come and make up your own mind!” he said.

The Museum invites members of the media to attend and cover the event.


Night Lab: Science, Culture, Curiosity
Wednesday 19 February, 6pm – 9pm
South Australian Museum, North Terrace


Night Lab sponsors