2019 PGF Elections

2019 AGM and Committee Elections

The AGM of the Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the RGS-IBG will be held on Thursday 25th April at lunchtime during the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Mid-term conference at Manchester Metropolitan University (24th-26th April 2019) Ahead of our AGM, we would like to open invitations for ALL committee positions for next year. Everyone is welcome to attend and to run for any available committee position, the only requirement is that you are a postgraduate student! 

These positions will run from April 2019 to April 2020 but committee members are warmly invited to stand for election in the subsequent year (April 2020-April 2021). The exception to this are the Annual Conference Officer and ACTs officer roles. These roles will run from April 2019 to Spring 2021. 

Short role descriptions are below to advise potential candidates but if you would like to know more please contact the outgoing chair of the PGF Nina Willment (Nina.Willment.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk). If you are interested in applying for any of roles, then please either attend our AGM with a 200 word summary of why you think you would be a good candidate for the role. If you would like to run for a role but will not be attending the AGM, that is absolutely fine! Just please email Nina with a declaration of interest and your 200 word summary.

A detailed explanation of the PGF election process can be found here: PGF Process for Elections

Role Descriptions:

Chair:

Due to the PGF Chair sitting on the RGS board of Trustees and needing prior knowledge of the workings of the PGF, the Chair must have served one year prior on the PGF committee before running for the chair position. In the first instance, the chair will therefore be elected from the PGF committee. If nobody from the PGF committee would like to undertake the chair position then elections will open up beyond the committee. However, this would be subject to the following constraints:

Applicants for the chair position (outside of the committee):

  • Must be a current PhD student – i.e. they cannot be a masters student
  • Should have already served as or be currently serving as PG rep on one of the other Research Group committee
 

The Chair role involves leading the online monthly committee meetings, to ensure that every position is doing ok in their role and update the committee on any RGS-IBG/other related business they need to be aware of, attending annual conference and midterm conference to support PGF run sessions and events such as ACTs alongside organising PGF socials, compiling the RGS-PGF Annual Report and attending RGS Council Meetings, Sub-committee meetings and Research Group meetings. Other than that, the chair should feel free to come up with your own new ideas to take the PGF forward. Each chair is going to be different and have a unique style of chairing, bringing something different to the PGF. and it definitely is a fun and worthwhile position!

We are delighted to announce that the incoming PGF Chair for this year (2019/2020) is Caitlin Hafferty (Cardiff University). 

Secretary:

The role of Secretary provides a fantastic opportunity to play a key role within the PGF, as well as being able to represent the views of post-graduates to the RGS. At its most basic, the role involves organising/scheduling meetings, taking minutes, liaising with all members of the committee, and putting together agendas. Beyond this, you will work closely with the chair of the committee, in more broadly organising the committee and dealing with official liaisons with the RGS-IBG’s Research and Higher Education Division (RHED). Being secretary provides an excellent opportunity to get to know a range of other Post Graduate students from the UK and internationally as you represent the RGS, and its PG contingent at a range of events. You may also have involvement in working with the organisers of the Post-Graduate Mid-Term Conference – held annually – and build a list of contacts that will not only serve you well during your time in the role, but also in the future.

Annual Conference Officer (2 POSITIONS) 

As the name suggests, the annual session conference coordinator organises the PGF-sponsored sessions at the RGS (with IBG) Annual Conference. This means advertising the call for sessions, accepting sessions proposals, providing a point for contact for anyone wanting a session sponsored by the PGF, and finally supporting those sessions at the conference. The role is not difficult; it just requires good organisation, communication with session conveners and adherence to key deadlines around session and abstract submissions. It is a great way to become more involved with the conference and play a small role in shaping the event, as well as enabling you to connect with geographers in other universities. It is also an opportunity to encourage and engage with more innovative session formats. It is a rewarding role, often helping other postgraduates to establish themselves at a big international conference in (hopefully) a less intimidating setting.

ACTs Officer:

As ACTs coordinator, it is my role to organise and coordinate the RGS ACTs conference that happens the day preceding the end-of-year RGS conference. To give some more background on ACTs, this is a half day separate conference from the end-of-year RGS conference that encompasses workshops targeted towards geography PhD students. This years has been focused on early stage PhD students, which may construe that ACTs next year will focus on students later on in their PhD. My role this year has been to come up and help design the workshops relevant and useful for this target audience, which I achieved with a little online ‘market’ research and networking. This role also requires you to find, contact and gain the suitable speakers to administer the workshops, though the RGS offers plenty of support in doing this if preferred. These workshops and talks will need to be organised into a feasible and logical conference timetable that also permit for networking and drinks breaks.

Social Media Officer: 

The social media role revolves around maintaining and expanding the PGF’s communications and advertising. The main tasks consist in running our different social media accounts and serving as a link between the PGF committee and the wider postgraduate community. This requires actively communicating with both the committee members to figure out what’s going on and being able to answer/forward questions about the PGF and its events. Naturally, this means that the periods surrounding conferences or theme days are particularly intense for the social media role. So while there is the opportunity to be very active, the PGF social media role is definitely not supposed to take over anyone’s life and some time management is necessary. So far our main channel has been Twitter, but we also maintain Facebook and Instagram accounts that we try to keep active. Over the past two years we have tried to keep up with news from different geography departments, RGS-IBG working groups, conferences and funding/career opportunities. We have typically aimed at a minimum of one original tweet and several retweets per week, striking a balance between academic and ‘lighter’ content, but some periods have been busier.

Website Officer:

The Website Officer role calls for the regular uploading of information/blogs and updating the website, which is  a WordPress site hosted by the RGS/IBG. It’s always really interesting reading what people have sent in to post; it’s a great way of feeling in touch with the postgrad community. Spending an hour or so a week – most weeks –  is usually enough except when it’s busy or when there is urgent items to upload. You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of web design, but a methodical attention to detail helps! There’s scope to play around with the site, and WordPress offers different themes with which to experiment. The site itself is pretty reliable, and when it does go down it’s a big help being able to call on the RGS/IBG for some support, so you’re not struggling in the dark. There are spam filters installed which need periodic updating, but the site itself lets you know when that’s needed. Content is often decided on and discussed at the committee meetings, but there’s always chasing up to do…. There are also sections that need regularly updating, such as funding opportunities, and at certain times of the year different sections need adding, particularly for events, which then need moving afterwards. The Website Officer and Social Media Officer work closely together to ensure news and content reaches as wide an audience as possible.

Masters Representative:

Master’s Representative is a fantastic and varied position on the committee. It seeks to offer greater visibility to the Master’s community within the Postgraduate Forum (PGF) and build stronger relationships between Master’s and PhD students. A key aim is to provide information and advice to those considering graduate study in Geography. Writing blogs for the PGF website and being active on social media are therefore two important components. Blogs may take the form of offering guidance on applying for Master’s degrees, detailing the day-to-day life of a graduate, or sharing top tips of existing PhD students. Speaking with the committee is a great way to gather ideas for potential blog posts, but there is lots of scope for creativity and making the role your own! As representative, you are also in charge of the PGF Master’s Twitter account. This involves researching and promoting existing degree programmes and future PhD opportunities, and engaging with current affairs in Geography. Keeping in touch with the committee’s social media representative is a useful way of staying on top of the latest news! Finally, online monthly meetings with the committee are an essential part of touching base, reviewing progress, and discussing new ideas and forthcoming events. The forum is a wonderful group to be a part of and Master’s Representative is a role certainly not to be missed.

Physical Geography Officer:

As part of this role for the PGF, the physical geography officer’s main aim is to find new ways that can help both the PGF and RGS as a whole bridge the gap between human and physical geography. The role requires liaising and working with the other committee members, to try and organise events, network and advertise potential events. When possible, the officer should network and talk to members of other research groups and committees to share ideas and find novel ways to bridge the gap between the two disciplines. The role is flexible and up for interpretation with discussion from other committee members, in order to achieve as much as possible.

Inclusivity Officer: 

This role will involves ensuring PGF and wider RGS events are inclusive, finding speakers and building connections across the discipline and beyond to ensure we are being representative and that all voices of the postgraduate community are being heard. Having a new visible committee member taking the reins with the role, paying closer attention to potential issues of inclusivity and the continuing structural oppressions that may shape the postgraduate experience and realities, would be invaluable both to us and the wider RGS. Moreover, the PGF is passionate about building this role and taking it forward in any direction they wish e.g. the creation of specific events, suggestions and reporting on individuals working at the margins who may be considered as keynote speakers for events/conferences. We especially welcome applications from women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ and disabled scholars.

On behalf of the existing committee, we look forward to hearing from you. There also are guest passes available for those who would like to attend the AGM but not the Midterm conference. If you would like a guest pass, please contact the current chair of the PGF, Nina Willment (Nina.Willment.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk)

Best wishes,

Nina and the current PGF committee