RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2019

PGF Sponsored Sessions for the RGS Annual Conference August 2019:

  1. Harrie Larrington-Spencer (Manchester University); “New and emerging research within Gender and Feminist Geographies”; co-sponsored by the Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group.
  2. William Jamieson (Royal Holloway) and Amy Walker (Cardiff University); “Postgraduate snapshots of trouble and hope”; co-sponsored by the Social and Cultural Geographies Research Group.
  3. Adam Searle (Cambridge University) and Jonathon Turnball (Cambridge University); “More-than-human haunted landscapes: trace-ing binaries of hope/desolation”.
  4. Faye Shortland (University of Birmingham) and Caitlin Hafferty (Cardiff University); “Multiple understandings of the ‘rural’: a diverse methodological approach”; co-sponsored by the Rural geographers Research Group (TBC)
  5. James Brooks (Manchester University) and Nina Willment (Royal Holloway); “Our Earth, the trouble is…
  6. Yu-Shan Tseng (Durham University) and Ludovico Rella (Durham University); “Infrastructures as Theory and Method”; co-sponsored by the Economic Geography Research Group, Urban Geography Research Group, Digital Geography Research Group (TBC).
  7. Charles Goode (University of Birmingham) and Quintin Bradley (Leeds Beckett University); “Communities and the trouble with house-building: citizen engagement in planning for new homes”; co-sponsored by the Planning and Environment Research Group.
  8. Flossie Kingsbury (Aberystwyth University); Breaking Barriers: A Discussion on Disability and Chronic Illness in Academic Geography”
  9. Olivia Taylor (University of Sussex), Anna Twomlow (Imperial College London) and Caz Russell (University of Birmingham); “Reasons to be Cheerful? Interdisciplinarity and innovation in Disaster Risk Reduction”
  10. Hannah Sender (UCL) and Raktim Ray (Open University) ‘Researching the contested city: Developing creative methodologies and negotiating ethical dilemmas’

Communities and the trouble with house-building: citizen engagement in planning for new homes

The aim of this themed session is to draw together the latest international research on citizen engagement in planning for housing development with a particular focus on public objections to house-building.

Policy makers have become increasingly attentive to the motivations of citizens opposing housing development. In economies predicated on financialised housing markets, public objections to new house-building challenge policy makers to resolve conflict without disturbing the prevailing liberalised development model (Inch 2012). Their responses have included the introduction of third-party rights of appeal, and the devolution of statutory development planning to local communities (Brownill & Bradley, 2017; Ellis, 2000; Willey 2006).

Set against a crisis of housing affordability, and the widening gulf between housing as a public good and a private gain, this session asks how we should understand citizen objections to house-building (Gallent, Durrant & Stirling 2018). The planning objections of publics are still routinely delegitimised on the grounds that they act as self-interested NIMBYs who express their private interests and not societal concerns (Dear & Taylor, 1982; DeVerteuil, 2013). Studies of public opposition to new house building, however, show that objectors frame their challenge on environmental, ecological and heritage grounds in the context of democratic rights to be included in decisions over neighbourhood change (Cook, Taylor & Hurley, 2013; Matthews, Bramley, & Hastings 2015; Ruming, Houston & Amati, 2012; Wolsink, 2006).

In this themed session, we welcome papers that broadly reflect these issues and in particular that address the following themes:

• The causes of citizen objections to house-building and case studies of conflict and/or resolution
• Third party rights of appeal; neighbourhood planning and other institutional responses to citizen engagement in planning
• Community-led models of housing development
• Green Belt, heritage, conservation, and environmental concerns affected by housing development
• Questions of spatial knowledge, and the role of place and place attachment in community responses to housing development.

Researching the contested city: Developing creative methodologies and negotiating ethical dilemmas

Contested cities are particularly challenging contexts to conduct research in, due to their complex spatial identities, multi-scaler politics and ‘live’ nature of the contestation. The challenges also exist as ‘field’ is often represented as a discursive space of social relations and negotiation of power dynamics (Katz, 1994; Silva and Gandhi, 2018). Doing ethical research in the context of contested cities requires practices of reflexivity and continuous negotiations between different power relations (Sultana, 2015).

This workshop encourages postgraduate researchers to present and discuss their methodological approaches to conducting research in contested cities. Individual participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own methodological choices in short presentations and group discussions. As a group, the workshop participants will propose and critique methodological approaches across varied contexts and scales to co-develop shared principles for researching contested cities.

We ask participants to each make a 5 minute presentation. We encourage you to bring an object or image which evokes the ‘contested’ research site you are researching

Infrastructures as Theory and Method

The social sciences are experiencing an “infrastructural turn” both as a way of re-discovering the material basis of countless social relations (Star 1999; Star and Bowker 2006; Harvey 2012; Harvey and Knox 2012; Beer and Burrows 2007, 2013; Beer 2013; Harvey 2015; Appel, Anand, and Gupta 2015), and by rediscovering and making visible the ways in which cultural, social and political relations are inscribed, negotiated, and contested over and through infrastructures (Larkin 2013; Easterling 2014; Howe et al. 2016; Nelms and Maurer 2014).
Geography is no stranger to this turn: first, infrastructures have provided a focal point in urban geography to investigate their inherent values, materiality, and politics, as well as their socio-political implications. The implications of urban infrastructures are various but significant, such as the splintering urbanism deepening the urban inequality (Graham and Marvin 2001; Graham, 2005) and different governmental practices (Graham, 1998; Graham and Collier 2011). Furthermore, a growing scholarship focuses on the materiality and the politics of design underpinning digital and software infrastructures, as well as the topological spatialities that these assemblages assume (Ash 2010; Kinsley 2014; Amoore 2016; Straube 2016; Bratton 2016; Beer 2013). Together with other concepts from Science and Technology Studies and Social Studies of Finance, such as devices, economic geography has used infrastructure to capture the materiality underpinning money and markets (Erturk et al 2013). Another strand of economic geographical research has unpacked the relevance of infrastructures and logistics for global production networks (Gregson, Crang and Antonopoulos, 2017; Mezzadra and Neilson 2015). Lastly, infrastructures used as a metaphor, is becoming the entry point for non- and more-than-representational research into life, affects, and atmospheres (Berlant 2016).
However, as the scope of research on infrastructures expands, there is a growing need for conceptual and theoretical clarity to capture the complexity and intricacies of the social phenomena that infrastructures entail. Hence, this session aims to take stock and advance theoretical and methodological debates around infrastructure.
This session welcomes submissions focused on themes including, but not limited to, the following:
• New conceptualization and theoretical syntheses of infrastructure
• Methodological reflections on how to study infrastructures
• Infrastructures and temporality
• Infrastructures, digital geographies, and Im/materiality
• Embodied and lived experiences of infrastructure
• Imaginaries, enchantments, and promises of infrastructure
• Politics, infrastructures, and power
• Infrastructures, devices, and markets
• Infrastructures and logistics

Our Earth, the trouble is…

Are you a geography (human or physical) postgrad with a keen eye on the changing nature of our Earth? Or want to find out more about the science behind our Earth? Then consider submitting an abstract for our upcoming conference session at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2019 (August 28-30th) held at the RGS in London. Any questions, please do not hesitate to email us! The deadline for abstracts is 8th February.

Session abstract

Geographical science research has made enormous advancements in our understanding of the changing nature of the Earth, revealing current and potential impacts that will affect people today and in coming decades. This understanding is crucial because it allows decision makers to frame topics such as climate change and air quality in the context of large challenges facing the world. As a result of the growing research and recognition that Earth system change poses a serious risk for both human societies and natural systems, often the questions being asked encompass both “What is happening?” along with “Why?” and “What can we do about it?”. Research into the underlying science can help answer these important questions.

Nonetheless, a number of large uncertainties still exist within our understanding of the Earth-climate system. This session will explore advances in recent science in relation to Geography, with an emphasis on work in progress. Areas of particular importance include research in areas of conflict, both geographically and within the topic, research that looks to drive future change and improvement, and research into our changing geographical landscape, covering both physical and human geography.

This session is aimed at postgraduates and early career researchers who would like an opportunity to present their research in a supportive academic environment, and at researchers at all stages of their careers that are interested in presenting papers or snapshots that actively engage with our changing geographical landscape.

Session format

Paper and Snapshot session – we propose to encourage both paper and snapshot formats. The session will allow some more detailed talks at 10 minutes + 5 minutes questions, but also 5-minute snapshot sessions + 5 minute questions. The snapshots can be the use of a single slide with a video, animation or image, for example, to allow the speaker to introduce and highlight the area of research they are involved in/area of conflict they find in their research subject. The snapshot is intended to be either a literal or metaphorical prompt through which the topic of the presentation can be represented and apprehended. As such it is envisaged that the snapshot will be the main artefact around which each contribution is orientated.  This will be further defined by session participants once we have called for papers.

cfp rgs-ibg 2019 // MORE-THAN-HUMAN HAUNTED LANDSCAPES: TRACE-ING BINARIES OF HOPE/DESOLATION // sponsored by @PGF_RGSIBG ‏and , convened by @admsrl and t // inviting papers from all disciplines and in a range of formats, please get in touch for more information

Breaking Barriers: A Discussion on Disability and Chronic Illness in Academic Geography
The aim of this session is to provide a space for both disabled/chronically ill and able academics and postgraduate students to share and discuss the issues relating to disability and chronic illness in academia. Recent polls by disability charity Scope revealed that nearly 50% of disabled people feel excluded from society (Smith and Dixon 2018: 7), and that non-disabled people are now more likely to consider disabled people less productive than they have at any point in history (Dixon, Smith and Touchet 2018: 12). Academia is not unaffected by these negative attitudes. research by the University and College Union has found that a significant number of disabled people working in academia have encountered negative and undermining attitudes in colleagues, been unable to access appropriate support, and found that discriminatory policies created a barrier to promotion and career development (2017: 2). Clearly, more work is needed to increase awareness and improve support.

This session will take a roundtable-esque format, beginning with short expert talks, then utilising live-discussion technology to allow the conversation to move from expert-led to participant-led as it goes on. With this in mind, contributions are welcomed which deal with topics such as, but not limited to:
• personal experiences of dealing with disability and/or chronic illness in academia
• ways of improving access for disabled people in academia
• strategies for reducing ableism in academia

Proposals are welcome from postgraduate students and early-career researchers as well as established academics. Contributions which deviate from the standard conference paper format are also encouraged. Every attempt will be made to ensure the session is as accessible as possible, but do let me know if you have any specific access requirements that you would like to make sure are incorporated. Thank you!

Reasons to be Cheerful? Interdisciplinarity and innovation in Disaster Risk Reduction

Reducing the risks associated with so-called ‘natural hazards’ is a wicked environmental problem faced by many across the globe. Disaster risk reduction needs to be a large scale, long term effort, which fosters innovation and collaboration between actors, sectors and research disciplines. This requires research that engages with both the earth system processes as well as complex socioeconomic dynamics that lead to vulnerability. In the face of a changing climate, this work is ever more important and urgent.

Recent years have seen efforts to fill this gap, heralded by increasingly holistic policy frameworks such as the 2015 Sendai Framework which underlined the importance of a multi-dimensional understanding of hazards, governance and prior investment in preparedness instead of response[1]. Innovative approaches that have subsequently emerged in  the disaster risk reduction field include (but are not limited to) efforts to shift to anticipatory action through improved decision processes and standard operating procedures such as forecast based action, environmental virtual observatories, decision support systems, citizen science, multi-hazard analysis, new forms of innovative disaster risk financing, and social network analysis. Many of these have been the subject of significant interest and cause for optimism within both academia and practice.

As the impacts of climate change become increasingly visible and the policy landscape rapidly tries to keep pace with this, further research about how such approaches work in practice is critical. Cautious optimism, empirical evidence of the impacts of these approaches, and openness to criticism, collaboration and improvement is necessary to ensure optimal outcomes and improve disaster risk reduction in a range of contexts.


This session will focus on emerging innovations and interdisciplinary approaches to DRR. We highly encourage applications with an interactive element, which the session convenors are happy to help develop, to ensure that activities are viable within the time and space constraints.

Each slot will be 20 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes at the end of the session for a wider Q+A, to encourage discussion and idea sharing- a critical part of interdisciplinary work!

Submissions should be sent to the convenors and include title, abstract, format and any special requirement by the submission deadline 8th February 2019.

N.B Confirmed speakers will be required to register for the conference by the early bird deadline 7th June, 2019.


Olivia Taylor, University of Sussex, SHEAR Student Cohort, O.G.Taylor@sussex.ac.uk

Anna Twomlow, Imperial College London, SHEAR Student Cohort, a.twomlow18@imperial.ac.uk

Caz Russell, University of Birmingham, SHEAR Student Cohort, CXR787@student.bham.ac.uk

Co-sponsored by Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) and PGRF at RGS(IBG)

New and emerging research within Gender and Feminist Geographies

These sessions are aimed at postgraduates and early career researchers who would like an opportunity to present their research in a supportive and constructive academic environment and at researchers at all stages of their careers that are interested in presenting papers that actively engage with discussions on current and emerging theoretical or methodological innovations in the field of feminist and gender geography.

‘Gender and Feminist Geographies’ is intended to cover a broad spectrum of research and papers are welcome from any area of feminist and gender geographical inquiry, with the aim of bringing together current and emerging themes, issues and approaches. Papers are especially welcome that connect with this year’s theme ‘geographies of trouble/geographies of hope’. Researchers at any stage in their research process are welcome, making the session a great opportunity for early career and postgraduate researchers to gain experience presenting their work. The sessions will also provide a forum to meet and discuss emerging ideas with other researchers in a friendly and relaxed environment, as well as opportunities to explore possibilities and relevance of engaging with feminist theory and methods within research.

Session Organisation:
Sessions 1: Paper presentations: involving five presentations each lasting around 15 minutes with time for questions
Sessions 2: Snapshot presentations: involving ten to fifteen presentations each lasting 2 minutes (with the option to use pictures or creative approaches), followed by an open discussion. Whilst this session is open to anyone, we hope it will provide an opportunity for those not yet ready to present full papers to engage in the conference in a constructive and productive way. This session is also suitable to those wishing to explore the possibilities and relevance of gender and feminist theory to their research.

Postgraduate snapshots of trouble and hope

We live in troubling times, and in troubled places. Indeed, politically, economically and ecologically, trouble has acquired an inconceivable planetary dimension, cumulating with significant social and cultural transformation. When we situate these troubling times in spaces and places, they open up possibilities of rupture, alterity, and hope. If ‘staying with the trouble requires learning to be truly present’ (Haraway 2016: 1), how can we as geographers make our concepts and theories ‘present’ to the trouble at hand? This session intends to explore ways in which Postgraduate Social and Cultural Geographers are ‘staying with the trouble’ to uncover these spaces of hope, possibility, and rupture, which lie embedded within existing social orders and cultural practices. Presenters are encouraged to explore how we can think through and with geographies of trouble and hope, and how we can make this dialectic present to surpass the impasse of our troubling times.

Each presentation will be centred around a single ‘Snapshot’ (whether an image, artefact, quotation, soundbite, field diary entry, or mini-video clip) which will form the focal point for 8-10 minute contributions. The Snapshot is intended to be either a literal or metaphorical prompt through which the topic of the presentation can be represented. As such it is envisaged that the snapshot will be the main artefact around which each contribution is orientated. We thus encourage participants to think critically about and fully utilise the trajectories, tensions, and textures of their snapshots as a means of enlivening understandings of their chosen topic.

Multiple understandings of the ‘rural’: a diverse methodological approach

In a time of uncertainty within rural policy it is important to understand the ‘rural’ in multiple ways to develop the most effective agricultural and environmental policy. This session invites postgraduate researchers with a focus on the ‘rural’ and multiple methodologies to present their research in a supportive and constructive environment. We are looking for researchers whose work actively engages with ideas of rural knowledge production, land management and everyday engagements with the landscape through multiple methodologies. For example, mixed-methods approaches (quantitative and qualitative), ethnographic approaches, discourse analysis, affective methodologies, or digital methodologies! The more diverse the better!
We intend for this session to be broad, and cover numerous understandings of the ‘rural’, inclusive of agricultural, environmental, heritage policy and much more. The aim of the session is to bring these multiple understandings together through the multiple methods rural geographers enact. Papers that also connect with this year’s theme of geographies of trouble/ geographies of hope are welcome and encouraged.
Researchers at any stage in the process are welcome, allowing for a vibrant discussion regarding proposed methods/methods within rural geography research. This session will allow for researchers to connect and discuss ideas together in a friendly environment.
Abstracts could include, but are not limited to:
• the politics of rural knowledge production;
• the multiple representations of the ‘rural’;
• the affective dynamics of everyday encounter with the ‘rural’;
• how multiple methodologies can be used to deepen our understanding of the ‘rural’;
• ways to work towards effective agricultural, environmental, and heritage policy;
• understanding how to combine quantitative and qualitative methodologies for the benefit of the ‘rural’.