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."