05 October 2022

Everest Exhibition Opens at the Royal Geographical Society


Re-evaluating the story

Our latest exhibition - Everest Through the Lens - opens to the public today at the Royal Geographical Society's (RGS) exhibition pavilion on Exhibition Road.

The exhibition marks the centenary of the first attempts to summit Mount Everest. Our team helped shape the exhibition's core narrative and oversaw the design and delivery.

The 1920s expeditions were one of the best-known stories during the of empire and imperial adventure. This exhibition re-examines that well-known story, one hundred years on, for a modern-day audience. It picks apart the hugely complex and deeply uncomfortable social, racial and geopolitics dynamics that shaped the expeditions. It challenges the storm of hero worship that surrounded the expeditions, and the pedestal on which George Mallory was placed. In doing so, it brings to the fore the local labourers, including Tibetans, Sherpa and Bhotiya men and women, who were a fundamental part of the expeditions.

Image: Royal Geographical Society

Through the lens

We re-examine the story through the lens of Captain John Noel's films and photography. Noel, the official expedition cinematographer, documented the expeditions in detail. His films are not only a record of day-to-day life during the expeditions, but they also helped shape the hero narrative that surrounded the climbs. By re-assessing his films, and their context, we can unpick the politics and power dynamics that were at play - and re-examine the story as a whole.

We are honoured to have helped tell this important revisionist history and contribute to broader museum trends around challenging the dominant narrative and de-centring Eurocentric hero worship.

The exhibition will be open until January 2023.

Image: Royal Geographical Society