RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2019

Postgraduate Forum Session Call for Papers at RGS (IGB) International Conference, Wednesday 28th August to Friday 30th August 2019.

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)

[1] https://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/sendai-framework

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’


The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Postgraduate Forum (RGS-PGF) invites proposals for sponsored/co-sponsored sessions for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019. The 2019 conference will be held at the RGS-IBG in London from Wednesday 28th August to Friday 30th August 2019, with pre-conference events taking place on Tuesday 27th August 2019. It will be chaired by Professor Hester Parr, from the University of Glasgow, with the focus being on ‘geographies of trouble / geographies of hope’. More information can be found at:


Full call for sessions can be found here:


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 RGS-PGF 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 proposals to Faye Shortland (fls318@student.bham.ac.uk) and Caitlin Hafferty (haffertycm@cardiff.ac.uk).

Proposals should include:
I. Title of session;
II. Name of co-sponsoring groups (if applicable);
III. Name, affiliation, and contact details for session convenors;
IV. Abstract outlining scope of session (max 300 words, excl. references);
V. Indication of preferred organisation of session (the more creative the better); VI. Indication of any non-standard arrangements.

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 full guidelines for organising sessions can be found at:

https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/programme-(1)/guidance-for- session-organisers/

The deadline for proposals is Friday 9th January 2019 and we will be aiming to inform session organisers of sponsorship by the end of the week commencing 18th February 2019. Any questions should be directed to either Faye Shortland (fls318@student.bham.ac.uk) or Caitlin Hafferty (haffertycm@cardiff.ac.uk). We look forward to receiving your session proposals.

Best wishes,
Faye Shortland, University of Birmingham and Caitlin Hafferty, Cardiff University Annual Conference 2019 Session Organisers, RGS Postgraduate Forum Committee