Saturday, 10 October 2009

New SCGRG website

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Introducing the new SCGRG website

Thanks to Phil for this final message and, of course, for all his work with the SCGRG over the last three years. I’m delighted, and daunted, to follow his enthusiastic lead as chair for the next three years. It is great to be taking the helm with the group’s membership and finances in such a healthy shape, and with the support of a large and vibrant committee. Continuing to build a sense of both identity and inclusion is always a challenge with a large group, but given our depth and breadth I look forward to sustaining and building on the diversity of group activities.

A first step in this has been to develop a new website, pulling news, reports, links and more together in one place. I hope this will let everyone know more about what we do, and what we can do. It is still under development, and we welcome your feedback on this, and the other ways in which we are representing your interests. You can post comments on the web, get in touch with me, or send a note to committee members. We look forward to hearing from you via our new site at

all the best,


Friday, 4 September 2009


This will be my last post here (give or take) as I've now stepped down after my three years as Chair of the Group and am delighted that Gail Davis will be succeeding me. She'll be posting here in due course and will report on the AGM and the future plans for the group.

Anyway, I think the last three years have been good - some successful initiatives including reading weekends, conferences, workshops and of course many RGS (and AAG) sessions. We've had some good discussions about relations of social and cultural geography, and although at times the group has threatened to splinter (too big for its own good, perhaps?), it remains a vital and vibrant group and by far the largest human geography research group of the RGS-IBG.

I very much look forward to continue supporting the group and attending future SCGRG events, and wish my successor, Gail, all the best


Phil Hubbard

Friday, 21 August 2009

RGS-IBG Social and Cultural Geography Research Group AGM 2009

Thursday August 27th August 2009, 13.10

Room 1.218 University Place, University of Manchester


1. Apologies for Absence
2. Minutes August 2008 – Matters arising
3. Treasurer’s Report – Louise Holt
4. Website update – plans for hosting and redesign
5. Nominations for Chair and Secretary
6. Committee Membership (N.B. Majority of committee should be composed of RGS members)
- Thanks to Ben Anderson, Kezia Barker, Amanda Claremont, Russell Hitchings, Elaine Ho, Peter Hopkins, Jamie Lorimer, Emma Roe for their committee work over the last 3 years
- Continuing: Louise Holt (Treasurer), Jo Norcup (Schools co-ordinator), Harriet Hawkins (currently web co-ordinator), David Crouch.
- Re-election: Emma Roe, Ben Anderson
- Open posts: Membership secretary, Postgraduate co-ordinator.
7. Record of research group supported activities Sept 2008-2009
- Reinvigorating Social Geography: the politics and praxis of Social and Cultural Geography in the UK, Brighton, January 2009, Darren Smith, Kath Browne and David Bissell
- 3rd Materialities Workshop, Material Geographies: interdisciplinary perspectives, Exeter March 2009, Ian Cook and John Wylie
- Visuality/Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice, Co-sponsored by SCGRG, Royal Institute for British Architects, London, 9th-11th July, 2009, Gillian Rose and Divya Tolia-Kelly
8. Development of outline form for funding requests (see Appendix 1)
- aim to increase transparency for support offered and criteria for funding
9. Proposed research group activities Sept 2009-2010
- Geographies of Education, Loughborough, 8-9th September 2009, Phil Hubbard
10. Proposed RGS-IBG session ideas
- Attracting high profile distinctive SCGRG sessions alongside co-sponsorship?
11. Future dates
- Research Groups Sub-Committee meeting – 5th October 2009
- Deadline for Research Group Grants – 31st October 2009
- Annual report – final submission date 31st January 2010
12. Any other business
- Drinks reception in memory of Duncan Fuller, 8-9pm, Grove Village Community Centre, 17 Guide Post Rd, Ardwick, M13 9HP
13. Next meeting, RGS-IBG, London August 2010

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


The SCGRG AGM will be held on Thursday the 27th August at 13.10 in room 1.218 University Place, at The University of Manchester main campus on Oxford Road. All members are welcome to attend.

After three years in post, both Phil Hubbard (Chair) and Gail Davies (Secretary) will be stepping down at this AGM, as will a number of committee members. The RGS requires that nominations for named posts should be in writing and include the names of the proposer and seconder. Nominations for Chair and Secretary can be accepted up to the beginning of the AGM. Nominations for committee members do not need to be made in writing. Please get in touch with either myself or Phil if you would like to discuss any of these posts further.

We would encourage anyone who is considering applying to the SCGRG for money to support seminars/reading meetings or other events for 2009/2010 to prepare a short case prior for circulation to committee prior to the AGM. As a group we aim to support 3-4 events per year, so we will not generally offer support over £500 per application, and request that applications for over £250 to be submitted in time for discussion at the summer AGM. We are open to suggestions for funding of events that forward the broad aims of the SCGRG as defined in our mission statement which is online at: . All things being equal we would look to support events that benefit the greatest number of people in the group and/or widen access for new researchers.

A full agenda will be circulated shortly. If you have items that you would like added to the agenda, please let either Gail or Phil know as soon as possible.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Engaging geography 6-7th July

Engaging geography
ii. creative public geographies

All public geographies are, of course, ‘creative’. This event will examine how, in recent years, an increasing number of geographers and artists, poets, filmmakers, and other creative professionals etc. have worked collaboratively, broadening the remit of research and its outputs beyond the traditional texts and spaces of university education. In addition, geographers, artists, filmmakers, etc. are often one in the same person, and artists, filmmakers, etc. seem more and more interested in drawing upon geographical themes and vocabularies in their work. This event will explore the collaborative potentials, working practices, forms and spaces of engagement, and publics generated through recent academic/creative work on, for example, climate change, GM foods, animal geographies, ethical/sustainable consumption and postcolonial curating through a variety of project work underpinned by academic/creative collaborations.

We would like to encourage the involvement of anyone involved in, and/or interested in, this kind of work. Please check back for further details and/or let us know about any work that can be added to the numerous, diverse examples of Creative public geographies we have been able to put together here.

Date: Monday 6th – Tuesday 7th July 2009.
Venue: University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ (directions here)
Application form (including optional campus accomodation): download here.
Registration costs: £0 (for travel / accommodation bursaries, see the application form)
Places: limited.
Convenors: Kathryn Yusoff & Ian Cook (Geography, University of Exeter)
Monday 6th July

9.00 – 9.30: Registration and refreshments.

9.30 – 9.45: Creative public geographies: introduction
(Kathryn Yusoff & Ian Cook).

9.45 – 11.00: Politics and aesthetics 1: talks/provocations
(other speakers to be confirmed: please check back for details)
- Hayden Lorimer (Geography, Glasgow University)

11.00 – 12.30: Politics and aesthetics 2: responses/discussion

12.30 – 1.30: Lunch

1.30 – 3.30: Studio 1: examples and stories.
(short prepared interventions about CPGs organised in advance via the application process)

3.3.0 – 4.00: Refreshments

4.00-5.30: Walk and talk.
(Participants talk to interesting strangers and report back on their conversations)

6.30- Dinner / continuing conversations.
Tuesday 7th July.

9.00-9.30: Refreshments

9.30-11.30: Making creative public geographies happen.
(Speakers representing funders and other supporters to be confirmed)

12.00-1.00: Studio 2: future creative public geographies?
(Shorter, hastily prepared interventions resulting from discussions at the event)

1.00 - Lunch and/or leaving…

Monday, 11 May 2009

DRAFT Annual Conference Programme Now Online

Note SCGRG has 10 different sessions spread across three days. Early Bird Registration by 5 June.

View programme here


As you may know, the Society is holding a Special General Meeting (SGM) on 18th May 2009 at the request of some Fellows. The Fellows calling for the SGM wish to see the Society carrying out its own expeditions and regularly raising the funds for, and leading, its own multidisciplinary field research programmes - single large projects. Council's current strategy is to support research and scientific expeditions by increased grant-giving to a much wider range of established researchers and topics, which it has been doing since 2005. You can refer to further information on the SGM at

Whatever your views - AND PLEASE VOTE AGAINST THE PROPOSITION IF YOU WISH TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF THE SCGRG AND THE IBG-RGS - I urge all Fellows and Postgraduate Fellows of the RGS-IBG to exercise your vote (please note that research group-only members are not eligible to vote). This is an important vote for the Society as it will affect how the Society delivers its Charter objective 'the advancement of geographical science'. Fellows should by now have received voting papers from Electoral Reform Services, so please return your ballot paper to reach ERS by first post on 18th May using the pre-paid envelope provided. Or if you wish to vote in person, go to the SGM at the Society at 3.00 p.m. on 18th May.

A steaming pile of manure (from The Spectator)

"Thirty years, almost to the day, after we greeted our first woman Prime Minister, we greet our first woman Poet Laureate.
Such subversion of the purpose of an old institution to suit the current office-holder is a feature of our culture. It seems to be happening at the Royal Geographical Society, which once sent Darwin to the Galapagos and Shackleton to the Antarctic. The RGS has not mounted its own expedition since 1998. A group of young rebels is forcing a special general meeting on 18 May and a ballot to try to make the society adhere to its original purpose, as expressed in its charter, and send proper expeditions once more. They argue that these enterprises produce a mass of scientific material, and engage directly, as geographers should, with actual places, people and nature. But the bosses of the RGS are people of committee meetings, not wide open spaces. The president, Sir Gordon Conway, is chief scientific adviser to the Department of International Development, and has a record as long as your arm in the world of quangos and busybody groups (he was on the committee which first launched the idea of Islamophobia in the 1990s). The director, Dr Rita Gardner, is also an adviser to the government, and is said to believe that the Fellows of the RGS should not be so named because this is offensive to women. During Dr Gardner’s time, the society has become more a trade union for academic geographers and less a body doing its own intellectual and practical work. It has set up a Space, Sexualities and Queer Working Group to promote interest in ‘geographies [that unnecessary plural is always a bad sign] on issues related to sexualities [ditto] and queer studies’. The RGS expedition advisory centre has been renamed ‘Geography Outdoors’. The bosses are trying to secure the vote, forbidding the rebels to circulate material putting their case to the Fellows, while printing their own argument against the motion on the back of the ballot paper. In normal times, one would calculate that these Blair/Brown-era operators would prevail, but, luckily, these are not normal times; and now Joanna Lumley, fresh from her triumph over the Gurkhas, has given her support to the rebels. So perhaps Sir Gordon and Dr Gardner can be thrown into the dustbin of histories."

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Visuality/Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice

Co-sponsored by SCGRG

At the Royal Institute for British Architects, London, 9th-11th July, 2009

Plenary Speakers: Professor Elizabeth Edwards, Professor Paul Frosh, Professor Jane Jacobs

Confirmed Speakers Include: Sean Cubitt (Melbourne); Mike Crang (Durham), Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmith’s); Marquard Smith (Westminster); Jacquie Burgess (University of East Anglia); Prof Mimi Sheller (Swarthmore), Ruth Panelli (UCL); Yoke-Sum Wong (Lancaster); Craig Campbell (Alberta); Mathias Broth (Linkoping University), Oskar Juhlin (Interactive Institute); Dean Sully (UCL); Anne-Marie Fortier (Lancaster); Anne cronin (Lancaster); Tim Dant (Lancaster); Teal Triggs (University of the Arts)

Visuality/Materiality attends to the relationship between the visual and the material as a way of approaching both the meaning of visual and its other aspects. The interrogation of image as sign, metaphor, and text has long dominated the realm of visual theory and analysis. But the material role of visual praxis in everyday landscapes of seeing has been an emergent area of visual research; visual design, urban visual practice, visual grammars and vocabularies of domestic spaces, including the formation and structuring of practices of living and political being, are critical to 21st century grammars of living. The relationship between Visuality/ Materiality here is about social meaning and practice; where identity, power, space, and geometries of seeing are approached here through a grounded approach to material technologies, design and visual research, everyday embodied seeing, labour, ethics and utility. This conference is aimed at providing a dialogic space where the nature and role of a contemporary visual theory and practice can be evaluated, in light of materiality, practice, the affective, performativity; and where the methodological encounter informs our intellectual critique. The organisers are keen to encourage contributions based on research experience and practice into specific aspects of visuality and visual critique including concern with:

· What is the relationship between materiality and the visuality?

· How do we develop new theoretical approaches to new visual practices?

· What can we learn from everyday visualities?

· How can we approach ethical practices through visual practices?

· How are theories of materiality, performance, embodiment employed in research on the visual?


Monday, 9 March 2009

Geographies of Education

Click image for full sized flyer with details of conference registration

Monday, 2 February 2009

Brighton conference

Many thanks to David Bissell, Kath Browne and Darren Smith for organising a lively and very convivial conference at Brighton over Friday and Saturday. The conference attracted a good audience of around 45 delegates, including some from the US, Australia, and Germany, which allowed for some useful reflections on the status of social geography in different institutional contexts. The relationship between cultural geography and social geography was also addressed at length, with some varied views expressed about how the SCGRG can best serve the needs of a reinvigorated social geography whilst ensuring that it recognises the different traditions of cultural enquiry: whether we are seeing a 'social turn' in cultural geography, a 'spatial turn' in the social sciences or the resurgence of a welfare-led social geography was certainly a matter of debate. If there was any consensus emerging, it was around the idea that there is much good geographical work going on that talks to issues of urgent social and intellectual concern - so perhaps it matters not whether this is labelled social, cultural or socio-cultural!

So an excellent meeting, and as well as excellent position pieces (Uli Best, Linda Peak, Vinnie del Casino, Peter Hopkins, David Conraldson, Tim Cresswell) there were some nice papers that illustrated the variety and vitality of social and cultural research, plus some useful discussion groups on key themes in contemporary research. In due course, we hope to have some of the discussion written up in the journal Social and Cultural Geography.

For what it's worth, here is my introductory, contextual introduction, which was followed by a series of more nuanced presentations. Please leave any comments, thoughts!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Brighton conference

Programme for Brighton conference now confirmed: click on images for enlarged versions

Saturday, 17 January 2009

3rd materialities workshop

The third workshop in the RGS(IBG) Social & Cultural Geography Research Group sponsored material geographies series will take place on Friday 13th March at the University of Exeter.

This workshop will explore ‘Material Geographies: interdisciplinary perspectives’ (a topic suggested during the last round of consultation) through invited talks by speakers with other disciplinary backgrounds, small group ‘hands-on’ discussions, and discussant comments by speakers who are now geographers but have brought into the discipline understandings of materiality from their previous lives as artists, curators, and more.

Confirmed speakers:
» Robert Foster (Anthropology, Rochester), author of ‘Tracking globalisation’ in Tilley, C. et al (ed) (2006) Handbook of material culture. London: Sage.
» Dan Hicks (Archaeology, Oxford), co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford handbook of material culture studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press (with Mary C. Beaudry).

Confirmed discussants:
» Nigel Clark (Geography, Open).
» Caitlin DeSilvey (Geography, Exeter).
» Kathryn Yusoff (Geography, Exeter)

This workshop will begin at 11am and finish at 4pm. Further details - including registration forms, accommodation lists, etc. - will soon be posted on the workshop website - .

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

For those in the East Midlands? An invite to a private view of 'A sense of Belonging'

Private View: Friday 16th January between 5pm - 9pm
January 2009

Exhibition to explore refugees sense of belonging

An exciting new collaborative arts exhibition is to open at the Bonington Gallery in Nottingham in the new year.
Sense of Belonging will showcase the work of emerging exiled artists as well as work created out of participatory arts initiatives, and will explore the concept of belonging for refugees and asylum seekers in the East Midlands.
Using film, sculpture, mixed media textiles, painting, photography, music and performance the artists, both individually and collectively, synthesize issues of cultural identity, displacement, relationships to surroundings, personal reflections on the process of exile and belonging with a celebration of the rich cultural contributions refugees and asylum seekers bring to cities and communities.
The exhibition represents the perilous journeys people make to reach freedom both physically and emotionally, the places left behind and what makes people feel a sense of belonging a sense of being home away from home
The viewer is presented with a rare opportunity to witness the double consciousness of transnational belonging, where art may be used as a tool for social and political activism.
The exhibition includes contributions from visual artists Aria Ahmed, Jasim Ghafur and Thaer Ali; sculptors Obediar Madziva and Emmanuel Changunda; filmmaker and musician Gaylan Nazhad; and several community arts organisations Charnwood Arts in Loughborough; City Arts in Nottingham; Long Journey Home; and Soft-Touch Arts in Leicester.
The exhibition will be open from 9 to 30 January 2009, Mon- Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday 10th, 17th and 24th, 10am to 4pm.