Category Archives: RGS-IBG Annual Conference

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!
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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.

Call for papers: Educational Transitions: Changes, Contexts and Geographies

2014 RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2014, London, 26-29 August 2014.

Sponsored by the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG).
 
Session organisers: Dr Mark Holton (University of Brighton, UK), Dr Mark Riley (University of Liverpool, UK), Prof. Barbara Pini (Griffith University, Australia).
 
There has been a burgeoning of research, in recent years, seeking to articulate how geographical insights might inform educational research. Geographers have approached education from a number of perspectives, including a discussion of changing educational policies and their underlying ideologies, the internationalization and transnationalisation of education, as well as socio-cultural analyses of the rising importance of alternative spaces of education, education experiences and the emotional geographies of education. Running through these discussions have been calls for an ‘outward looking’ and ‘de-centered’ geography of education (Hanson Theim, 2009; Holloway et al, 2010) which reaches out to wider conceptual debates within geography and beyond. This session hopes to bring together various strands of work on the geographies of education, encourage further critical exploration of future agendas for this work, and explore various educational transitions.
 
These might include, but are not limited to:
·         New and alternative spaces of education
·         The [re]placing and transitioning of educational institutions
·         Multiple scales and sites of educational experiences
·         Educational identities
·         Retheorising ‘education’
·         Educational futures. 
 
Please email a 250 word abstract to one of the convenors:
 
Deadline for submission Monday 10th February 2014.
 
For further inquiries or if you would like to discuss your papers before submitting, please contact any of the convenors.

CFP: Postgraduate Snapshots: Engagements in Social and Cultural Geography

CFP: Postgraduate Snapshots: Engagements in Social and Cultural Geography
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014.

Session convenors: Emma Spence (Cardiff University) and Richard Scriven (University College Cork, Ireland)

Sponsored by the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group and the Postgraduate Forum

The aim of this session is to explore the different ways in which postgraduates are (co)producing social and cultural geographies through their research, collaborations, methods, and encounters. Postgraduate research is frequently at the forefront of changes and challenges in the discipline, with large research projects, funding agendas, and national and institutional policies fundamentally shaping the work undertaken by postgraduates, but this is largely unrecognized or lacks serious reflection and discussion. This session allows for considerations and explorations of how ‘co-production’ is manifest in this arena by engaging with the diversity of postgraduate research. 


We are seeking postgraduates to present a ‘
snapshot’ of their research and co-productions. In line with the title of the session, we seek contributions that focus on one element, such as new fields of inquiry, theoretical emphasis, emerging methods, collaborations, and innovations. We ask applicants to provide a snapshot (whether a photograph, a quotation, a field diary entry, an image of an object, or mini-video clip, for example) complete with an abstract (of max 150 words) that explains how the snapshot showcases both contemporary social and cultural geography research and elements of co-production.

It is envisaged that the ‘
snapshot’ will be the main artifact around which each contribution is orientated. In order to facilitate discussion, we encourage participants to consider presenting in innovative and engaging ways by fully utilizing their snapshots.

Please email prospective contributions to both session organisers Emma Spence (
spenceee@cardiff.ac.uk) and Richard Scriven (r.scriven@umail.ucc.ie). The deadline for submissions is Friday 14th February 2014. Please include:  

  • A title for your ‘Snapshot
  • The Snapshot
  • An abstract (max 150 words)
  • A short description of how your presentation will use your Snapshot (max 100 words)
  • Your name, affiliation and contact details (email address)

Co-production and Postgraduate Research: Call for Posters

RGS-IBG ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014 London, 27 – 29 August 2014

The Postgraduate Forum invites poster contributions from postgraduate and early-career researchers interested in presenting any aspect of their research in progress in a visual and interactive way. This session provides a friendly and supportive space to present and explore the innovative and exciting geographical research being done by postgraduates and early career researchers. It also provides participants with a rapid and intensive update and overview of emerging postgraduate geographical research. A specific session within the Conference will be provided for participants to explain and discuss their poster.

Posters may be individually or co-authored, but at least one poster author is expected to attend the conference on the day that their poster is exhibited (a session will be allocated in the conference timetable for this purpose), in order to explain their poster to, and discuss their research with, other delegates.

The conference is able to accept posters up to the following sizes: size A1 in portrait or landscape format, or size A0 in portrait format only.  Contributors are advised to consider the design of their posters carefully — prepare the best material (visually appealing and succinct) that effectively communicates your research problem, techniques, results, and what is novel and important about your work.  Further guidance will be provided to authors of accepted posters.

To propose a poster for this session, please send the following information to the session organiser Richard Scriven (r.scriven@umail.ucc.ie) before Friday 14th February 2014:
  • A title for your poster
  • An abstract for your poster’s research (max 150 words)
  • A short description of how you will make your poster visually interesting, and who the target audience is (max 100 words)
  • Your name, affiliation and contact details (email address)

Co-production and Postgraduate Research: RGS-IBG Conference CFP

Presentation and Discussion Session
RGS-IBG ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014 London, 27 – 29 August 2014
Sponsored by the Postgraduate Forum

This year, in responding to the conference theme of Co-Production, session participants are welcomed from postgraduate and early career researchers who wish to explore, speculate and discuss aspects of co-production as it relates to their research and research experiences. Elements of co-production are a central component of postgraduate research, including student-supervisor relationships, originality, innovative methodologies, collaborations, partnerships, social-media roles, online presences and multi/inter-disciplinarity. We are eager to create participatory sessions where postgraduates and early career researchers can contribute to larger discussions while showcasing aspects of their research.

We particularly welcome contributions that address the following themes:

  • Theoretical and methodological opportunities and challenges
  • Collaborations outside of the academy
  • Working closely with or being funded by institutions or commercial organisations
  • Researching with people: participants, subjects or partners?
  • Integrity, respect and ethics in the research process
  • Working with supervisors and working as part of a larger research project
  • Co-authoring with fellow postgraduates or with academics
  • Reflections on the writing-up process
  • Online research and presences

The session is intended to be interactive, with presentations followed by a roundtable discussion. Each participant will give a short (7 minute) presentation centring on an element of her/his research that relates to the theme of co-production, after which there will be a discussion of the ideas and issues raised involving speakers and audience.

Please email prospective contributions (title and a 100 word summary of key issue to be covered, along with your name, affiliation and contact details) to the session organiser Richard Scriven (r.scriven@umail.ucc.ie). The deadline for submissions is Friday 14th February 2014.  

RGS Annual Conference Programme

The provisional programme for the RGS Annual Conference is now online and searchable by session and by presenter. This really is a conference with something for everyone, with all of the research groups involved in running sessions on everything from Affordable Housing to Open Data to Climate Change and Resource Conflict. The earlybird booking deadline is the 14th June, and you can register here. The conference will be held at the RGS and Imperial College, London, from the 28th-30th August.

If you need any more tempting the postgraduate forum will be running our annual training workshop on the 27th. The symposium is a half-day networking and training event led by established geographers and other professionals and hosted by the Society’s Postgraduate Forum, covering such topics as publishing, career planning, and an opportunity to get advice from recent graduates, early-career scholars and senior academics across a range of topics. The £15 fee includes lunch, workshop costs and an evening drinks reception.

Final Call for papers: Sessions sponsored by the Postgraduate Forum at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference

New Frontiers in Postgraduate Geography

RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London. 28-30th August, 2013.

Submissions are invited for paper presentations that cover new and emerging themes in postgraduate geography. Although not restricted to, presentations are welcomed that address the conference theme of New Geographical Frontiers. In particular this session welcomes presenters wishing to share ideas about making use of different media in research, different ways of presenting and disseminating research findings and new frontiers in interdisciplinary research. Presenters are particularly encouraged to raise theoretical or methodological challenges associated with their research as these sessions provide an unique opportunity for new researchers to present work-in-progress in an open and supportive environment and to gain individual feedback on their research from those with similar experiences.

This session provides a friendly and supportive space to present and explore the innovative and exciting geographical research being done by postgraduates and early career researchers. The format consists of a series of 15-minute presentations summarizing either a completed research project or research in progress followed by the opportunity for questions and a general discussion of new and emerging themes coming from the sessions. They also provide participants with a rapid and intensive update and overview of emerging postgraduate geographical research.

Please send a title and short abstract (max. 250 words) by 10th February 2013 to the session organiser Sophie Yarker (s.k.yarker@newcastle.ac.uk)

Extended deadline Friday 8th Feb – RGS-IBG: Emerging Themes in Postgraduate Population Geography

RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2013, London 28-30 August 2013

Deadline: Friday  8th Feb

Sponsored by the Population Geography Research Group

Organisers

Suzanne Beech (Queen’s University Belfast)

Stacey Balsdon (Loughborough University)

Population Geographies continue to develop theoretically, conceptually and empirically – building upon previous calls to refine the sub-discipline (e.g. Boyle and Graham, 2001). Postgraduates are often at the forefront of these ongoing debates, and this session aims to explore the diverse, yet inter-related, nature of studies within this sub-discipline. It is hoped that this session will be both stimulating and thought-provoking, while providing a friendly and supportive forum for postgraduates to present at a major international conference. We welcome submissions that are pushing the frontiers of postgraduate population geographies forward, and they can be variously theoretical, empirical and/or methodological in their orientation.

Please send abstracts (max 250 words) to sbeech01@qub.ac.uk and s.l.balsdon@lboro.ac.uk by Friday 8th February. Paper presentations are intended to be 15 minutes in length, with 5 additional minutes for discussion.

Call for Papers: Creating Transgressive Geographies

Creating Transgressive Geographies – Crossing Frontiers Between Nature-Culture & Practice-Theory.

Session at RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 28th-30th Aug.

Much of the import, richness and potential of ongoing performative life proliferates across inter-leaving registers, materials and processes. This is particularly so (but not exclusively) in relation to boundaries of emotion-memory-action; time; human-non-human; nature-culture.

Alternative, interdisciplinary insights are needed as a starting point for understanding perception, experience and agency that do justice to a “more whole” understanding of the world and humanness created from interaction with the environment. If the world is experienced as action possibilities (instead of single states of affairs), the content/target of knowledge is how to find a way to a desired situation with the action possibilities of the current situation. This means that valuation, social structures and emotions are embedded in all action, and as Dewey has put it, form the irreplaceable foundation of rationality.

What seems striking about contemporary (human) geographical frontiers are their permeability and almost furious dynamism. For example, economic globalisation (and oppositional local-ness), regional migrations and climate change challenge scale, place and political perceptions. The rate and frequency of ‘natural’ and ‘human-created’ environmental interactions – floods, fires, droughts, logging, land-grabs, urbanisation – mean that our interpretations of urgency, memory, belonging and landscape are shaken up and (repeatedly) reconfigured.

Do we need to design creative ways to understand, celebrate and make use of diversity and hybridity, to allow passage-ways to be carved through the frontiers between action, identity, expression and place?

We seek creative geography endeavours (theoretical and/or empirical) that generate new renditions or practice particularly (but not exclusively) those based upon pragmatist and non-representational procedures, which emphasise boundary transition as a source of energy and world purchase/impact; particularly (but not exclusively) those trying to make sense of our cultural negotiations with nature: in it, with it and against it.

Deadline for submissions is Friday 8th Feb 2013. Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to Owain Jones (ojones@glos.ac.uk), Daniel Keech (dkeech@glos.ac.uk) or Kaisa Schmidt-Thome (kaisa.schmidt-thome@aalto.fi).

2nd CFP: Emerging Themes in Postgraduate Population Geography

RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2013, London 28-30 August 2013. Session sponsored by the Population Geography Research Group

Organisers

Suzanne Beech (Queen’s University Belfast)

Stacey Balsdon (Loughborough University)

Population Geographies continue to develop theoretically, conceptually and empirically – building upon previous calls to refine the sub-discipline (e.g. Boyle and Graham, 2001). Postgraduates are often at the forefront of these ongoing debates, and this session aims to explore the diverse, yet inter-related, nature of studies within this sub-discipline. It is hoped that this session will be both stimulating and thought-provoking, while providing a friendly and supportive forum for postgraduates to present at a major international conference. We welcome submissions that are pushing the frontiers of postgraduate population geographies forward, and they can be variously theoretical, empirical and/or methodological in their orientation.

Please send abstracts (max 250 words) to sbeech01@qub.ac.uk and s.l.balsdon@lboro.ac.uk by Tuesday 5 February. Paper presentations are intended to be 15 minutes in length, with 5 additional minutes for discussion.