Alumna sailing to the Arctic in the name of art

A graduate artist has won a place on an Arctic expedition which aims to highlight how human activity has influenced changes to the climate and environment.

Adele Gibson, 59, was awarded an MA in Fine Art at the University of Brighton earlier this year and took up the challenge “to witness these changes first-hand”.

She said: “I am a visual artist with a background in science and more latterly, landscape oil painting. I am approaching the end of my sixth decade and wanted to step outside the comforts of my daily life, face new challenges and do something meaningful.”

Adele has been awarded a place on an international artist and scientist expedition to Svalbard, Norway, in the High Arctic in June with the organisation The Arctic Circle, an annual expeditionary residency programme bringing together artists, scientists, architects, and educators to explore remote destinations aboard a specially outfitted Barquentine sailing vessel.

Quite a challenge for someone who suffers from sea-sickness and the cold: “I plan to mitigate the cold with good Arctic clothing and I hope to remedy any sea-sickness with acupuncture – I have a friend who is going to teach me how to administer acupuncture myself.”

Adele, who lives and paints in Lewes, said she was delighted to have been selected for the trip: “It was during my research at the University that I became aware of the impact that we are having on our natural world: the changes in the Arctic are being experienced more rapidly than anywhere else in the world.

“I have visited Iceland twice and have a strong emotional response to the sublime icy and glaciated landscape there and this inspires my paintings. My residency in Svalbard will allow me to spend a longer period of uninterrupted time in the Arctic region and will also enable me to make contact and collaborate with artists and scientists who are researching similar themes.

“The project is important to me in terms of allowing me to visit a remote and very special environment and I hope to use the experience to make work that communicates the unique beauty and fragility of the Arctic region.  In the current political environment it is more important than ever before that we recognise the facts of what is happening on our planet.”

Adele has found half the £6,000 cost of the trip through the sale of her art and is crowdfunding the remainder for “flights, woolly socks, underwear and mineral watercolour pigments and other art materials”. Go to:

For more information on Adele, go to:

Express rise for University of Brighton graduate

A University of Brighton alumna has been appointed Chief Diversity Officer for American Express at their New York headquarters.

Sonia Cargan has enjoyed a 22-year career with American Express, holding a range of human resources roles in Europe, Asia, and North America, and building a track record of partnering with business leaders to drive strategic organisational goals.

Prior to becoming Chief Diversity Officer, Sonia was Senior HR Business Partner for a portfolio of American Express Groups including Global Finance, the General Counsel’s Organisation, Global Advertising and Brand Management, the Internal Audit Group and Corporate Affairs & Communications.

Sonia graduated with a BA(Hons) degree in social administration from the University in 1991: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Brighton, so much so that I settled in the town after I graduated and I consider Brighton my adopted home. My children are Brightonians and proud Seagull fans!”

Sonia completed a second course at the University, qualifying her as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She said the courses she most enjoyed related to government policy, understanding the decision making process and historical context: “As we try to effect change it’s important to understand and appreciate the journey and to recognise the broader environment.”

Sonia’s new appointment means she will lead a team of global diversity and inclusion professionals. She will serve as a conduit to the company’s 15 active colleague networks with nearly 100 chapters globally, working to promote a culture of inclusion, increase colleague engagement and provide development opportunities to help colleagues advance throughout the organisation.

She said: “I am excited to build on American Express’ long-standing diversity and inclusion best practices. In the coming months, I will be dialing up our emphasis on inclusivity to continue fostering a company culture where differences are embraced and high-performing, diverse teams are enabled to reach their full potential.”

Kevin Cox, Chief Human Resources Officer for American Express, said: “Sonia is a long-time advocate of the business results that can be achieved through the development of a diverse and inclusive organisation.

“As an executive with a wealth of global experience, she is also ideally suited to continue to elevate and evolve our diversity and inclusion strategies through a global lens.”