A facilitator’s story: Reflecting on the RGS-IBG’s Qualitative Methods Postgraduate Workshop
This is the second year I’ve run a postgraduate workshop at the RGS-IBG. The RGS-IBG and the research groups are happy to let us postgrad reps run free and explore the building, supporting and creating a space for us, the geographical academics in training or otherwise known as PhD researchers.
It has been a bottom up process. We (me and my fellow GFGRG postgrad rep, Heather Jeffrey) saw a need. We didn’t feel our institutions offered us enough methods training during our PhD studies and because both of us weren’t in geography departments we had to go outside our universities to seek out workshops. I also had a social need, I was one of only three PhD’s to start in my new research centre (name research centre?). I was lacking in geographically likeminded people. I also had no opportunities to teach which I had always wanted to engage with, so the solution was to ask the RGS-IBG if we could run a workshop. Courage, enthusiasm and energy arrived in the guise of my fellow postgrad rep for GFGRG. We soon became thick as thieves!
We had about 15 PhD students for our first workshop, we had a fantastic key note; Dr Erin Sanders who walked us through her research, a sensory ethnography of Soho and her thoughts on her PhD and subsequent early career experience. It was a warm workshop and a pleasure to facilitate, a friendly environment. The feedback, it was needed. We had got what we needed – confirmation that it was wanted and had been helpful and supportive.
Therefore, 2017 rolled up. We had some tricky times, we had to push back the workshop later in the year as Viva preps and hand in dates meant we had to give ourselves more time. However, we took on a friendly face in the form of Dan Casey which gave us the breathing space and support we needed to pull a larger event together.
We were so lucky to have Prof Gillian Rose speak on her work on #smartcities and digital geography methodologies. It was methodologically fascinating as well as being visually beautiful. Following lunch I was up with a free writing workshop, it’s purpose was twofold. To get researchers to reflect on who their participants were and what their needs may be. Secondly, to put forward an alternative way to write and to think about writing. To break down the barriers we may put up against the process of writing and break into ways to encourage creative thinking. My last session looked at mapping, we are geographers after all. The glitter came out and people had the choice to body map or produce imagined maps based on their own research idea’s. A workshop designed to help researchers reflect on their work and research practice and to play with some creative methods of data collection.
After a tea break we were back with a session on reflexivity in research. Vignettes framed the ethical jungle that research fieldwork can be. We problematised and worked through how to deal with sometimes dangerous, awkward, confusing and tricky situations that come with primary research. There was strength in having talked through these situations and we practiced the ways in which we may write up reflexivity as well as deal with difficult situations at the time.
It was an exhausting yet fantastic day. The feedback we received was glowing and so pleasing to see. Feedback received such as “Very friendly, supportive, with lots of practical info and advice. Made PhD research seem fun again …!” makes the day worthwhile. People had taken so much from the day and also given us some constructive feedback which we can take forward with us if running similar events in the future. I would again like to thank everyone involved, especially the research groups that supported us:
Participatory Geographies Research Group (@pygyrg) Social Cultural Geographies Research Group (@SCGRG_RGS) Postgraduate Forum (@PGF_RGSIBG) Gender & Feminist Geographies Research Group (@GFG_RGSIBG) Geographies of Leisure and Tourism (@GLTRGuk)
I’d ask that if you are a PhD who has had a good experience, a light bulb moment, a space created you feel has helped please consider actively creating one yourself. It is a lonely experience doing a PhD and it doesn’t take a lot of energy to create a space with and for others, even if it’s just an email around seeing if people fancy the pub. Give back, however, whenever you can and if you’re looking for a way to do this consider becoming a postgraduate representative? running a session? Running a workshop? Once you become confident, pass it on and show others J it doesn’t have to be lonely, I made sure mine wasn’t.
To take a look at the day, check out our twitter story: https://storify.com/eveleigh_bm/rqms
By Eveleigh Buck-Matthews
RGS-IGB Annual International Conference 2017: Nearly there!
The programme has now been finalised, and information is here. The conference opening plenary event and drinks reception will be held on the evening of Tuesday 29 August 2017 – all are welcome. This of course is perfect so that PGRs can attend our Annual Conference Training Symposium (ACTS) during the day, then socialise in the evening 🙂
Mid – Term Conference Blog: A few months on
Federico Bellentani, PhD candidate at Cardiff University reflects on how he found the conference useful. Read his blog here.
RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum’s Annual Conference Training Symposium 2017
The RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum is hosting ACTS, their Annual Conference Training Symposium, on 29th August 2017 at the Royal Geographical Society in London. PGF-ACTS is an annually organised training symposium consisting of series of workshops that focus exclusively on the postgraduate student experience. More information is here.
10 Tips for Overseas Fieldwork
Doing overseas fieldwork can be a challenging undertaking. You don’t know where exactly you’ll end up, where to find respondents and how to organise the meetings. Especially in a narrow timeframe, you may only have one chance to speak to those who will define your research outcomes. Laura Sariego-Kluge (Newcastle University) kindly shares 10 tips for setting up and conducting semi-structured interviews, based on her 2-month period in Australia. Read her story here.
Mid-Term Conference blogging
To start off with we’re sharing one from the Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group. Following on is a piece from Janu Muhammad, an MSc student at the University of Birmingham. Then we have Participatory Geographies Research Group‘s contribution, and the Social and Cultural Geography representative Jamie Halliwell (Manchester Metropolitan) updating you on his undertakings. Rich Gorman (Cardiff University) finishes the page with his reflection on the Rural Geographies session.
But this being a blog, his piece now comes first on the page!
RGS-IBG Postgraduate Workshop: Reflecting on Qualitative Methods
After the success of last year’s methodologies workshop, GFGRG is joint sponsoring a postgraduate qualitative workshop, which will take place on Friday 21st July at the RGS (with IBG) Building in Kensington London. There are limited spaces available, so early booking is recommended. The full workshop schedule and booking information is available on the GFGRG website here.
Any questions, please contact Eve (GFGRG Postgraduate Rep) email@example.com
Top-10 Tips for Dissertation Writing
The month of May has finally crawled around. Masters students all over the world arriving back from the Easter holidays, and dreaming of the long summer about to come. Teaching is over, a couple of exams may be on the horizon, and Morris Dancing season is officially underway. Dreams of what comes next pale in comparison to the relief of another academic year drawing to a close. Yet something is clawing at your mind, something yet to do. Much of the year has been spent moving towards one final push, one more piece of work: the dreaded dissertation.
Blog 23. PhD life: Surviving or Thriving?
In the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week, we were reminded of a recent paper on mental health of PhD students. Some of our earlier blogs spoke about how messy PhDs tend to be, how long the thesis can drag along, and how life revolves around coffee and editing. But how does this survival affect our mental state? Time for an anonymous PhD student to explain the reality of our (psychological) well-being. Read it here.
Job at the RGS-IBG
AGI ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT – vacancy at the RGS-IBG
The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is seeking an enthusiastic and efficient administrative assistant to provide membership, communications, events and general administrative support to the Association for Geographic Information (AGI).
The Society has been contracted by the AGI to deliver membership, financial and administrative services, working alongside the AGI’s Council. The AGI Administrative Officer will be employed by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) as part of that contract, to help the Society deliver administrative support under the AGI brand, to AGI members and contacts.
The closing date for applications is noon on Wednesday 10 May 2017. Interviews are planned to take place on Friday 12 May 2017.
For a job description, person specification and application process, please see www.rgs.org/jobs.
Food Geographies Working Group Writing Workshop – places available
We’re glad to announce that the Food Geographies Working Group has been awarded funds from the RGS-IBG to hold a one-day writing workshop at Bangor University on Wednesday 13 September 2017. There are still some places available, so we are offering these to geographers beyond the FGWG.
The programme can be adapted according to participants’ needs. We will also discuss the possibility of producing a special issue from the outputs of the workshop.
We will ask for a contribution of £10 from each participant, to cover catering costs. Depending on numbers, we may organise a field trip and dinner for anyone who wants to stay overnight on the evening before the workshop. Prices for accommodation would be a minimum of around £60.50 and will need to be met by the participant. There will be travel bursaries available, subject to eligibility – please see below for details of how to apply.
In order to attend the workshop, please fill out the attached registration form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday 30 April. Please also pay the £10 fee to the FGWG bank account listed in the registration form by the same date.
We are pleased to have a number of travel bursaries available, with a focus on supporting postgraduates, ECRs and the unwaged to attend. We have three grants of £100 and five grants of £50 available, which are dependent on the distance people are travelling to the workshop.
To apply for a travel grant, please send an application letter with your registration form, covering the following:
- Your current status (i.e. postgrad, ECR, unwaged etc.)
- Your institution and where you will be travelling from
- Your funding status (e.g. are you covered by a research council grant?)
- How you will be participating in the workshop, i.e. what type of piece you’re likely to write
- 350 words on what difference the workshop will make to you, and what you are hoping to get out of it.
All applications will be assessed by the FGWG workshop committee, who will make the final decision.
We hope to hear back from many of you!
Best wishes, FGWG writing workshop organisers’
Remember Me. The Changing Face of Memorialisation Interdisciplinary Conference, April 2018, Hull.
This AHRC funded project will be holding an interdisciplinary conference from 5-7 April 2018. The conference will be accompanied by a public exhibition of posters, stands and creative visual displays, a dedicated Photography exhibition and Memorialisation walking trail through the museum quarter. For more information about the conference, or to be added to the mailing list for regular updates, please contact email@example.com. The call for papers is now open and closes on 1 September 2017 and can be accessed here.
Geographies of PhDs: Applying in the UK and Canada
Following on from our previous blog, Lacey Willmott (University of Waterloo) and our very own Maddy Thompson (Newcastle University) take a detailed look at the differences and similarities in funding, applying for, and ‘doing’ PhDs on both sides of the pond. It’s here.
How to apply for PhD funding? – An expert interview
This week’s blog is based on the all-important topic of applying for PhD funding. Beth Robertson and Wilbert den Hoed took your questions to Professor Peter Hopkins (Newcastle University) who has plentiful experience of applying and judging funding applications. From this interview, Beth and Wilbert created a summary of helpful things to note when thinking of applying.
The RGS (with IBG) is seeking a part time Administrative Assistant AND a Research and Higher Education Assistant!
The latest in our series of blogs on postgrad life comes from our chair, Maddy Thompson, who writes about her experiences in Canada on an Overseas Institutional Visit.
You can read about her adventures here.
Postgraduate Forum (PGF) sponsored and co-sponsored sessions at the RGS (with IBG) Annual Conference 2017: Decolonising Geographical Knowledges
More information and a downloadable table of sessions is available here
Funding and juggling: tales from the fourth year (2)
Former PGF-chair Greg Thomas (Aberystwyth University) shares his experiences of ‘post-funding’. How did he end up in this unblessed position? What jobs did he look for? And how did the PhD writing hold up under these pressures? Read here about juggling different roles and the birth of a political career.
Coffee and editing: tales from the fourth year (1)
Newcastle University’s Matthew Scott about the shady months before submission of the PhD. What was his week like? The blog gives you a real-life insight in a period that’s never in the spotlight but everyone will go through eventually. Read here about the pit in his stomach and the voices in his head (and good things too).
Jobs at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Two job vacancies have just been announced (Head of Finance and Services and membership Recruitment Coordinator). More information here.
Questions for PhD students from Master’s students (or is a PhD like a tortoise wading through gloop?)
Our Master’s rep Beth has driven this fascinating conversation, with contributions from the PGF committee and Twitterworld. It’s turned about to be a pretty major piece, and while it probably won’t answer all of your questions, hopefully it will give you a good flavour of what’s it like to be a PhD student. Read it in all its glory here.
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Postgraduate Forum (RGSPGF) invites proposals for sponsored/co-sponsored sessions for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017
The conference will be chaired by Professor Sarah Radcliffe (University of Cambridge) with the focus being on “Decolonising geographical knowledges: opening geography out to the world”. In keeping with the ethos of the Postgraduate Forum we would particularly welcome different or non-standard, highly interactive sessions that are of equal benefit to the audience and the presenter. The RGSPGF can sponsor up to a maximum of 12 sessions; each session lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you are interested in sponsorship for a session please send a proposal to Dan Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tim Fewtrell (email@example.com). Proposals should include: The Postgraduate Forum encourages postgraduates to propose sessions. This is a great opportunity to organise a session and the Postgraduate Forum is happy to provide help with the organisation of the sessions should it be required. The deadline for proposals is Friday 13th January 2017 and we will be aiming to inform session organisers of sponsorship by the end of Friday 20th January 2017. Any questions should be directed to Dan Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to receiving your session proposals. The 2017 conference will be held at the RGS in London from Tuesday 29 August to Friday 1 September 2017. More information can be found here.
The conference will be chaired by Professor Sarah Radcliffe (University of Cambridge) with the focus being on “Decolonising geographical knowledges: opening geography out to the world”.
In keeping with the ethos of the Postgraduate Forum we would particularly welcome different or non-standard, highly interactive sessions that are of equal benefit to the audience and the presenter. The RGSPGF can sponsor up to a maximum of 12 sessions; each session lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you are interested in sponsorship for a session please send a proposal to Dan Casey (email@example.com) and Tim Fewtrell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Proposals should include:
The Postgraduate Forum encourages postgraduates to propose sessions. This is a great opportunity to organise a session and the Postgraduate Forum is happy to provide help with the organisation of the sessions should it be required.
The deadline for proposals is Friday 13th January 2017 and we will be aiming to inform session organisers of sponsorship by the end of Friday 20th January 2017. Any questions should be directed to Dan Casey (email@example.com). We look forward to receiving your session proposals.
The 2017 conference will be held at the RGS in London from Tuesday 29 August to Friday 1 September 2017. More information can be found here.
Guest Blog – Academic Jobs Post-PhD
Dr Charlotte Mathieson (University of Surrey) tells you about the first few years after her PhD in the School of English and Languages.
Top-10 Tips – Want to start a PhD?
University of Sheffield’s Dan Casey tells you about how to secure your PhD funding.
Call for Papers – RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference
This is the one we’ve all been waiting for – it doesn’t get more glamorous or prestigious than this! It’s a fantastic opportunity for all postgraduate students to present their current work and research to their peers in a friendly and supportive environment. It will take place on the Cathays Campus of Cardiff University over the 20th and 21st April 2017. Abstracts can be submitted up to January 20th, so there’s plenty of time to hone your ideas – more information on this here. Lots more details are here and the friendly Conference organisers are happy to answer any queries.
Call for Papers – The Researchers in Development Network, or RiDNet, announces 5th Annual RiDNet conference
The Conference is entitled “I, Researcher: exploring the research experience – context, self and interdisciplinary practice”, and takes place on the 27th of January, 2017 at the University of Leeds. More details here.
New, regular feature of Area: ‘Ethics in/of Geographical Research’.
Following a successful discussion forum at this summer’s RGS-IBG conference, the journal is launching a new, regular feature, ‘Ethics in/of Geographical Research’. Contributions are welcomed from across the discipline (and beyond), which reflect on ethics in the widest sense. It is the journal’s intent to publish at least one piece in this feature per issue. They are open to submissions of different kinds – from commentaries and symposia to full articles and proposals for special sections, and encourage prospective authors to get in touch with any of the Editors to discuss ideas for potential contributions.
For further details, please see here.
Future challenges for exploration and fieldwork
A selection of TED-talk style presentations to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Explore weekend. The first is on Friday 18 November 2016 at 6.30pm, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London. More information is here.
Explore: the annual expedition and field research seminar
The Society’s annual fieldwork and expedition planning weekend, 18-20 November 2016 at the Society’s headquarters in London. More information here.
The Geological Society announces the first of a new series of flagship conferences, the Bryan Lovell Meetings.
Water, hazards and risk: managing uncertainty in a changing world, 24-25 November 2016, The Geological Society, Burlington House, London. More information here.
Want to present a conference paper but don’t know where to start?
Phil Emmerson provides Top Ten Tip for submitting abstracts here
Beth’s blog highlights the start of her Postgrad journey, and she shares some of the nervousness and excitement as she starts to get to grips with it all. You can read it here.
New section ‘postgraduate opportunities’
This new page is where we will be posting information on topics such as funding and training. It’s worth checking the page regularly to keep up to date with the latest opportunities.
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016
The 2016 Annual International Conference was held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, from Tuesday 30th August to Friday 2nd September 2016 and was Chaired by Professor Peter Jackson (Sheffield University). For more information about the Annual International Conference please visit our RGS-IBG Annual International Conference page or the RGS-IBG Website.
As usual the Postgraduate Forum sponsored a number of sessions at the conference, and details of our sessions can be viewed here.
Just launched, we have a new twice monthly blog looking at the high and lows of Postgrad life, the blog intends on being a truthful look at the real lives of geography Masters and PhD students. From successes to failures, the blog will cover it all. If you would like to contribute please get in touch with Maddy Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest updates.
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