YES & NO Salon
Exploration Now

What does it mean to be an explorer? This, and other burning questions about the nature of exploration today will be examined by a panel of explorers and climate scientists in an informal conversation chaired by artist and filmmaker Cassius Matthias. Our distinguished panel will also be reflecting on the historical icons and cinematic moments that have inspired their own dreams, ambitions and personal journeys.


Cassius Matthias (Chair) graduated from Central Saint Martins with around 450 paintings. He also had a graduation film that caught the eye of legendary writer/producer of the original Brideshead Revisited, Derek Granger. Mentored by Granger in the early days, Matthias then went on to work closely with Mark Peploe (The Last Emperor), Charles Sturridge (Gulliver’s Travels), and, for a seven-year stint, the late Oscar-winning writer/director Anthony Minghella (The Talented Mr Ripley). From 2005, mentored by Minghella, Matthias began to make the first of several of his own films as writer/producer/director. In 2009 he presented his observations on how Stanley Kubrick wrote the screenplay for A Clockwork Orange as part of the Kubrick BFI Season.

In 2015 Matthias stumbled on the idea to create a new type of print publication. YES & NO cultural quarterly launched in 2017 in the UK and the US; and, in 2018, it won a prestigious D&AD Pencil. Now in its 12th edition, YES & NO has retained its independence and is sold in the finest magazine outlets all over world. Matthias is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine which is published through his London-based company Homo Sapiens Media Limited.

Prof. Stephan Harrison is a climate scientist working at Exeter University on climate change impacts, natural hazards, and climate change adaptation. Harrison has worked for 30 years on earth system responses to climate change in many of the world’s mountain regions – including in Patagonia, the Tropical Andes, the Himalayas, Tien Shan, and European Alps. From this research he has published over 150 refereed scientific papers. Harrison advises the UK Government on climate change risks for large infrastructure projects and was head of the UK Climate Change Expert Committee from 2011-2018 for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). He is currently a member of the External Hazards Committee for ONR. He is also the Director of Climate Change Risk Management ( which he set up in 2002 at Oxford University to provide scientific advice on climate change for governments and businesses. Current projects are focused on climate change impacts in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Southern Africa. These are funded by UNEP, World Bank, and DFID. He is a former holder of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.

Craig Mathieson is an accomplished and renowned explorer, having led the first dedicated Scottish expedition to the South Pole, taken a 16-year-old youth to the North Pole, and led many other expeditions to the Arctic. In 2013 he was awarded the title of ‘Explorer in Residence’ by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. In 2021, he earned a place as one of the Top 50 global influencers in newly formed ‘The Explorers Club 50’. An ex-Royal Navy seaman and accountant, in 2013 Craig left the corporate world and set up the Polar Academy, a charity.

Each year the Polar Academy inspires and motivates thousands of young adults, positively demonstrating how, by ‘inspiration through exploration’, anybody can achieve their absolute potential. The Polar Academy offers a selected number of young adults a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a major Arctic expedition. These expeditions are beyond anything that they ever thought could be possible and positively change the lives of both the participants and their families. On returning to the UK as true role models the stories about their singular experiences have a wide-ranging and positive impact on their communities and beyond.

Iona Somerville is a 19 year-old Polar Academy graduate and role model who recently qualified as a professional Sports Therapist. Somerville’s journey started at age 14 when, in April 2016, she was selected by the Polar Academy to train and take part in an Arctic Expedition to Greenland. Since then, along with the rest of the team, she has gone on to inspire her peers, giving talks and presentations to thousands of other young people about her experiences – demonstrating what is possible and achievable when a goal is set and a team comes together despite having had a lack of personal self-worth or belief. Somerville’s confidence suffered a major blow through the trauma she experienced when she found herself among the crowd at the Ariana Grande concert and bombing in Manchester in 2017. Today, however, she is a determined young role model with an unfailing passion to inspire others with her personal story of developing confidence and overcoming trauma.

Presented in association with YES & NO Magazine and The Explorers Club

Scott of the Antarctic
Sun 2 Jan 12:30, Mon 24 Jan 18:00
The Conquest of Everest
Mon 3 Jan 16:10, Wed 12 Jan 20:40 (+ intro by explorer Mark Wood)
The Great White Silence
Mon 3 Jan 18:20, Sun 23 Jan 12:10
Touching the Void
Wed 5 Jan 20:30, Sun 23 Jan 18:30
The Fight for the Matterhorn (Der Kampf ums Matterhorn)
Thu 6 Jan 18:00 (+ intro by BFI curator Bryony Dixon), Sun 23 Jan 15:20
The Red Tent (Krasnaya Palatka)
Tue 11 Jan 18:00 (+ intro by BFI curator Simon McCallum), Sun 30 Jan 18:00
YES & NO Salon: Exploration Now
Wed 12 Jan 18:30
Encounters at the End of the World
Sat 15 Jan 15:00, Tue 25 Jan 20:30
Talk: Silent Cinema: Intrepid Women
Sun 16 Jan 15:30
To the Ends of the Earth: The Transglobe Expedition + Q&A with Ranulph Fiennes
Tue 18 Jan 17:45
Antarctic Crossings: Postwar shorts + intro by BFI curator Patrick Russell
Tue 25 Jan 18:00
The Epic of Everest + live score by Simon Fisher Turner
Sat 29 Jan 19:00

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email