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!