Category Archives: Conferences & Events

PGF-ACTS 2016 – Reflections…

Also at the 2016 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in London, PGF-ACTS or the Postgraduate Forum Annual Training Symposium provided training to postgraduate delegates. The pre-conference event gathered delegates based all over the UK and from a variety of backgrounds, all to receive relevant training and engage in networking in a supportive environment. The event featured three distinct training sessions with experienced academics explaining how to deal with a conference, getting the most out of the PhD experience, and discussing the post-PhD stage. Keep reading for a summary of the sessions, as reported by our delegates.

1. Getting the most out of the conference – Dr. Nicola Thomas 

By Greg Thomas – Aberystwyth University 

The first session entitled getting the most out of the conference was given by Dr Nicola Thomas (University of Exeter) and did not disappoint! The session, primarily aimed at those who had not been to a conference before, gave a fun, and highly interactive guide to what to expect at a conference and how to make the most of the experience.

Using the analogy of a carousel, Nicola discussed the highs and lows that everyone experiences throughout the conference journey. Personally I found it very reassuring to know that these perfectly natural, and are to be expected, and that even the most experienced of academics go through the same as those of us who are experiencing our first conferences. After this short introductory discussion came the return of arguably one of the biggest talking points of the 2015 Annual Conference, Top Trumps. The packs designed by delegates at the 2015 event were handed out and we split into groups and began to play. Using the 2015 Top Trumps facilitated further discussions around the good and the not so good aspects of our own conference journeys, as well as possible ways to overcome these.

This year’s activity was then revealed. We were tasked with designing our own nexus thinking board games, based around the highs and lows of the conference experience. When a high was hit you got to collect a piece of gold from the middle of the game; if a low was experienced you had to go back on the board. The person to get fifteen pieces of gold first won. Once the game was designed, we swapped boards, and we gave them a go!

The session was a fantastic icebreaker for the conference and got the whole room talking and interacting, and showed to delegates that we were all in the same boat sharing the same hopes and fears of the conference.

2. Making the most of the PhD experience – Prof. Klaus Dodds, Dr. Sarah Mills and Dr. Tara Woodyer 

By Amber Wilson – University of Sheffield 

The second workshop of PGF-ACTS was based around the theme of “making the most out of the PhD experience”. In advance of the workshop attendees were asked to book onto one out of three breakout sessions, in anticipation of stimulating a more detailed conversation on how to navigate potential opportunities which may arise whilst undertaking a PhD. These three breakout sessions consisted of: “engaging with the public and disseminating research to a wider audience”, led by Dr. Tara Woodyer (University of Portsmouth); “publications”, led by Prof. Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway, University of London); and “developing your personal profile” led by Dr. Sarah Mills (Loughborough University).

On the day, the workshop began with all attendees of PGF-ACTS listening to a short overview of each of the three breakout sessions, giving the option to swap sessions if necessary. The overriding message from all of the session leaders was the importance of choosing opportunities which would add value to your own, individual PhD experience but not at the detriment of writing the actual PhD thesis. It was also highlighted, that in order to make the most out of each experience it was necessary to evaluate what impact each activity may have on future career development; be it academic or non-academic. After the brief introduction, the attendees split off (almost evenly) into the “three breakout sessions” making way for a more relaxed and appropriate environment to proper discuss the each topic.

After a good thirty minutes of discussion (although this could have easily been extended to an hour’s worth), everyone returned back to the Ondaatje Theatre for the final part of the session. A volunteer from each of the breakout sessions was given five minutes to summarise the key findings, with prompting from each of the session’s leaders. This then led to a more general discussion from the panel leading the workshop including their own “top-tips” and PhD experiences as well as some of the pitfalls of engaging with activities that are beyond the basic requirements of the PhD. All three of the session leaders gave a balanced and honest account of a whole host of “PhD related activities”, which included: teaching experiences; journal reviewer comments; unpaid “jobs”; volunteering in the community; conference presentations; organising workshops and other un-related events that enhanced their overall PhD experience and their on-going careers today. In particular, it was quite refreshing to hear that, it was acceptable to be selfish in some instances (e.g. saying “yes” to a ten minute slot in your PhD supervisor’s 2nd year methods module, but also saying “no” to ten hours of unpaid seminar facilitation).

Overall, this particular workshop seemed to be well received by all attendees and was deemed particularly useful for new PhD students. Furthermore, it was clearly stated that each PhD experience is unique and that there is no “right or wrong way” of undertaking extra-curricular activities of a PhD (as the main take away point of the overall workshop). Subsequently, this workshop seemed to drive the greatest amount of discussion at PGF-ACTS from the general audience, as they required very little prompting when volunteers were sought for and when questions were asked.

3. Post-PhD: What next? – Dr. Ellie Miles, Dr. Virginia Panizzo and Dr. Matthew Rech 

By Maddy Thompson – Newcastle University 

The final session of the day brought three early-career geographers – Dr. Ellie Miles, Dr. Ginnie Panizzo, and Dr. Matthew Rech – into PGF-ACTS, to share their experiences and advice for the dreaded post-PhD stage in a panel setting. Ellie began by recounting her ‘lucky’ experiences of finding work at various prestigious museums and galleries. Despite her claims of luck Ellie’s unwavering perseverance was clear as she adhered to her father’s advice: ‘if you hang around long enough, they’ll eventually have to pay you’. For those looking to work beyond (yet not fully apart from) the academy, Ellie’s story, advice, and resulting success should serve as a motivator. Her interesting take on short term contracts was also a breath of fresh air – while they can be stressful, it also guarantees variety in your working life.

Ginnie followed, offering a perspective of a physical geographer. Similarly to Ellie, she claimed luck had contributed to her gaining her current position, yet again, it was clear that in fact hard work and flexibility were also at play. Ginnie stressed the importance in searching in less obvious places for jobs, the importance of creating and maintaining (international) networks, and the benefits that can emerge when willing to be geographically mobile and flexible.

Finally, Matthew recounted his numerous short-term contracts. While Ginnie and Ellie may be able to claim luck had helped them, Matthew’s story seemed instead to be plagued by a distinct lack of luck. Despite an impressive CV filled with post-docs and teaching fellowships, Matthew struggled to find the elusive lectureship for several years. Finally, an opening on the other side of the country gave him the chance to gain permanent employment, and a place to put his teaching and research skills to use. The resulting discussion gave our postgraduates the opportunity to question the three presenters on their regrets, challenges, and opportunities. A lively discussion was had, but perhaps the most important conclusion was that the post-PhD stage is stressful, uncertain, and precarious. It is not the light at the end of the PhD-tunnel that we may imagine. Yet with hard work and perseverance, combined with a clear idea of what your non-negotiables are, it was shown that success is possible, in a variety of post-PhD avenues.

Registration open for Geological Society Conference Sharing Educational Practice in Geoscience

Registration is now open for the 2015 Geological Society HEN Annual Meeting.

Full details and links to online registration can be found on the conference webpage:

Participation is encouraged from all Geography, Earth and Environmental Science disciplines who are involved in geoscience in its broadest context.

Free Event: Connecting Epistemologies: Methods and Early Career Researchers in the Connected Communities Programmer

See below for information about an event on research careers, identities and methods that may be of interest to list subscribers- email to register. More information on the project is here We’re especially keen for project PIs, PhD supervisors or academics supervising post docs to attend.

Connecting Epistemologies: Methods and Early Career Researchers in the Connected Communities Programme FREE EVENT 28/10/2014 City University London

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) face a variety of issues in the changing world of contemporary academia. To mark the publication of the final report from the Connecting Epistemologies project (available to download here on 28th October 2014), City University London are hosting an event that engages with questions confronting ECRs.

Connecting Epistemologies worked with a variety of ECRs, from PhD students and postdocs to early career lecturers, over the course of the summer to capture their experiences on the Connected Communities programme. The project explored their identities as academics and their methods and practices.

The afternoon will explore the way ECRs within Connected Communities may represent a new form of academic with a new form of identity; how they negotiate issues of precariousness; the skills needed to work as an ECR; and broader questions of what is legitimate as research, as methods, and as knowledge.

The session consists of three papers: one from the project team; one from AHRC reporting on the recent reportSupport for researchers in the Arts and Humanities post-doctorate; and one from Connected Communities Leadership Fellow Professor Keri Facer and project Post-Doctoral researcher Bryony Enright.

The session will then have a discussion on the future of ECRs within higher education and the arts and humanities.

All are welcome! The event is free, but to make sure we have an idea of numbers, please book a place by emailing

Venue: Poynton Lecture theatre, City University London, Northampton Sq, EC1V 0HB

1.30pm welcome and coffee

2-3pm presentations

Keri Facer and Bryony Enright (Bristol) The shaping of a new generation? Early career researchers working at the interface between universities and communities

Connecting Epistemologies team: Understanding ECRs in Connected Communities

Sue Carver (AHRC) Support for researchers in the Arts And Humanities

3pm-4pm Q&A and discussion.

LIVINGMAPS Seminar Series

During the past decade the development of open source digital technologies has for the first time put the means of mapping in the hands of ordinary citizens. They can now create maps that tell their own story; they can use GPS to plan their journeys by land or sea, they can go ‘geo-caching’ and adventure into new and unfamiliar environments in search of buried treasure…

In practice, however, the outcome has been far from empowering. These developments have occurred in the context of processes of globalization which have hollowed out the resources of locally-situated knowledge and marginalised many of its communities of interest and affiliation. As a result there is a growing tension between the enlarged scale of social networking through virtual media and the narrowing scope of social ambition and economic opportunity navigated within the urban public realm.

Against this background this series aims to bring together geographers and ethnographers, environmentalists and computer scientists, artists and writers, in a shared conversation around the possibilities of challenging panoptic and forensic cartographies which marginalize or pathologise populations perceived to be obstacles to ‘progress’,‘modernity’ or ‘public order’. It will also explore alternative strategies of ‘counter-mapping’. Each session combines theoretical and practical presentations around a specific theme. The series is organised by the Living Maps Network as part of a programme of initiatives designed to produce a re-mapping of East London’s past, present and future.

The next event is ‘Hidden Histories’ and will take place on Feb 11th at The Building Exploratory in Farringdon, London. For more details and the full programme of events please have a look at the flyer.


Workshop: Digital Humanities, crowd sourcing and travel writing

Digital humanities, crowd sourcing, and travel writing: Anna Maria Falconbridge’s diary (1794)’, with Professor Deidre Coleman (University of Melbourne and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Warwick) on

Tuesday 21st January 2014 at the University of Warwick.  

Professor Coleman has written extensively on travel writing, antislavery and Sierra Leone (e.g. Romantic Colonization and British Anti-Slavery, CUP, 2005). She is currently working on a biography of the naturalist Henry Smeathman.

Studying subjects in the arts and humanities can be a solitary pursuit.  With this workshop we want to try out a new way of collaborating using online technology and crowd sourcing. We hope to open debates, and to pool and generate knowledge on – in this case – late eighteenth-century West Africa, the history of slavery and anti-slavery, gender, race, travel writing, colonialism and West African history.

This three-hour workshop (12-3 pm) will be open to all postgraduate students, post-docs, and senior researchers, in History, English and other related subjects, from the University of Warwick and elsewhere. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The event will take place at the seminar room of the IAS, Milburn House (building 43 on the map

In preparation for the workshop, participants are encouraged to read and comment on Falconbridge’s Two Voyages (approximately 50,000 words or 94 pages). A website will give access to an online version of the text, where digital tools can be used to add comments, links and references, or simply to ask questions. Your annotations – and those of all the other participants – will appear on a single electronic version of the text between now and the workshop, thus enabling us to create a collaboratively marked-up version in advance.  The aim of this exercise is to identify themes for discussion at the workshop and also to explore digital ‘crowd sourcing’ as a method in humanities research.

We know that not everyone will be able to attend January’s workshop, but we would still encourage you to participate virtually by annotating the on-line text in advance.  Your comments and questions will help shape the workshop.

To attend the workshop and get access to the online material, please contact Hanna Hodacs ( or David Lambert (

We look forward to hearing from you and to participating with you in what should be an exciting collaborative experiment.

Citizen CyberScience Summit 2014

London: 20-22 Feb 2014

The summit will be structured as a 3-day event that offers scientists, practitioners, enthusiasts, policy makers and citizen scientists the unique opportunity to meet and discuss citizen science and citizen cyberscience, participate in activities, and develop prototypes for new projects.

The first day (Thursday, 20th February 2014) will focus on the wide range of citizen science activities, exploring the engagement, creativity and participation, outreach of citizen science to the developing world, and the undertaking of citizen science projects in challenging environments (e.g. in a rainforest or the Arctic). We also welcome talks that deal with the growing policy and environmental management implications of citizen science.

For the second day (Friday, 21st February 2014) we are calling for presentations on the technical aspects of citizen science, such as: the need for suitable hardware and software; or panels discussing with citizen scientists about their perceptions, participation and engagement; or a showcase of citizen science projects. Based upon the success of this event in 2012, we will launch a ‘think camp’/’hackfest’, which will carry on to the next day and is aimed at developing demonstrations of hardware and software that can be used in citizen science projects or simply a concentrated discussion on a specific topic of interest.

The final day (Saturday, 22nd February 2014) will include further conference sessions, workshops and development of prototypes, with an afternoon talk, presentations and awards for the best prototypes.

Overall, we hope to cover a range of topics of relevance to citizen science research, including: technical aspects of citizen science such as use of sensors; applications of smartphones for data collection or in combination with external sensors; linking the Internet of Things (IoT) and citizen science – sensor networks to human sensors; motivations, incentives and engagement patterns; citizen science with indigenous and low-literacy communities; social science, ethnographic and anthropological aspects of citizen science and creativity and learning in citizen science.

During the summit, there will be an opportunity to present short papers, run panels, organise workshops or provide showcase demonstrations. We would like to invite anyone interested in participating in this way to submit brief proposals of up to 750 words using the form:

Proposals should be submitted by 31st December 2013

Registration will open in mid-December; full details will be available on our website soon:

We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you’ll be able to join us at the summit.

Best regards,
The Citizen Cyberscience Summit Organising Committee

Call for Abstracts: How do we do research on climate change?

Climate Change Research Group Open Meeting

Wednesday 29 January 2014, King’s College London

You are cordially invited to the 2014 Open Meeting of the Climate Change Research Group (CCRG), to be hosted by King’s College London on Wednesday 29 January 2014. The meeting is open to all academics working within the field of climate and climate change, but is particularly aimed at PhD students, and covers all disciplines within the context of climate change, including social, political and physical science.

The title of the meeting is “How do we do research on climate change?” and will cover issues such as whether our research addresses the same goals and tackles the same climate change agenda. The meeting will include short presentations from postgraduates (focusing on methods used rather than actual findings), as well as a number of short talks and a roundtable discussion with leading academics.

In the first instance, please email Charlie Williams ( for a registration form. You are also warmly invited (and indeed encouraged) to submit an abstract for a short presentation along the above themes. There will be a limited amount of funding for PhD students, to cover registration and travel expenses. If you would like to apply for this, please state your reasons along on your registration form.

Please note that spaces are limited, so please email as soon as possible and by 1 December 2013 at the latest.

Care for the Future Early Career Researcher Workshop

Event Date: 18th and 19th February 2014
Event Location: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR

This open call invites Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to attend, and contribute to, the ECR Workshop for Care for the Future: Thinking Forward Through the Past. The facilitated workshop will be highly participative, interactive and open to innovative ideas from participants about future research opportunities and priorities for Care for the Future. It will offer ECRs, as potential future research leaders, the opportunity to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative activities which have the potential to generate a transformative impact on their subject area and beyond.

Funding Opportunity
Attendees at the workshop will have an opportunity to apply for funding in the form of Care for the Future Developmental Awards of up to £40,000 Full Economic Costing (FEC) to support collaborative grants with an additional amount of up to £15,000 FEC available to support international collaboration.

Further information
Applicants should complete an expression of interest, comprising of a supporting statement and a CV. Further information on eligibility criteria and applying to attend is found within the ECR Workshop EOI Guidance..

The deadline for applications to attend the workshop is 4pm Monday 11th November 2013. Applications should be submitted electronically as an e-mail attachment to (please quote ‘Care for the Future: ECR Workshop’ in the subject line). Please note that late submissions will not be considered.

Contact for Queries
If you have any queries about this call for expressions of interest or the ECR Workshop, please contact Hattie Allsop at AHRC at or on 01793 416038


HEA Postgraduates who teach workshop

18th November, RGS-IBG, London

A  one day workshop for postgraduate students and other non-permanent academic staff / associates who are involved in teaching and supporting student learning specifically in the Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) disciplines – teaching, demonstrating, fieldwork assistants, guest lecturing, marking, etc. There will be a range of sessions including using and creating Open Educational Resources, making field and laboratory work effective, giving constructive feedback in GEES disciplines, career planning. There will also be an opportunity to bring your own teaching related problems to a question and answer session. This is a superb opportunity to network and develop contacts across the GEES disciplines and beyond your own institution. Further details and registration at:

Critical Geographies of Health and Urban Well-Being

A two-day conference organised by the RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research Group.

Dates: 21-22 November 2013
Location: University of Southampton, UK

Preliminary Call for Contributions
This year’s UGRG Conference will explore the relationship between urban space and health and well-being, of how theories of urban space can inform health and vice-versa. Health and well-being may be defined using the WHO’s framework, in which ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ This conference is interested in health and well-being research that is not just ‘in’ but also ‘of’ urban space, overlapping with, informing and being informed by urban theory. This can include spatial inequality, policy mobilities, global cities and place effects, but also therapeutic landscapes, food deserts and obesogenic environments.

Guiding topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

-critical evaluation of normative health concepts such as the ‘healthy city’ movement, therapeutic landscapes -connecting urban and health theories -migration and health -gender, urban space and health -marginal urban places, marginal health?
-structural violence vs interpersonal violence through city spaces -critical disability studies -spaces of care in the city -urban health governance: governing un/healthy populations, the ‘sick’ city, the ‘bacteriological’ city, urban drug policy -biopolitics and biopower of urban life and death -global mobility of immaculate health policies -everyday mobility and health -city spaces of mental health

Papers are welcomed from researchers (including PhD students) at any stage of their careers. We will also be holding a ‘pecha-kucha’ session as we did last year. The deadline for 200 word abstracts is due 5pm Monday, 7 October 2013 to be submitted to Southampton’s Online Store (note that the abstract submission is separate from the registration)

The registration deadline will follow within 3-4 weeks, again through the Online Store. Register as early as possible – places will be limited to 50. Standard registration will be £75; for post-graduate students and unemployed, it will be £35. Please see here for details.

Please contact Geoff DeVerteuil ( if you have any questions and visit the UGRG website for this information and further updates.