Back in April, Royal Holloway, University of London had the pleasure of holding the RGS-IGB Postgraduate Forum Mid-term conference! Blessed with unseasonably beautiful weather, we welcomed nearly 100 PhD students and early career researchers to leafy Egham! It was great to have so many people make the journey to us from across the globe join us for a few days of amazing conference presentations, posters, workshops, keynote speeches and all around great company! (In addition to what we hope was great food and drinks and that 100% Instagram-able Founders pic!)
This blog post therefore provides a run down of the events that took place over the course of the week, highlighting for future attendees what the Mid-term is all about. We kicked off the conference with a huge welcome by Head of Department Katie Willis, who introduced two wonderful keynote speeches from Professor Katherine Brickell and Jamie Bartlett. Katherine drew on two very different research projects to explore the humble brick and the stories it tells of flesh, blood, and skin. Jamie then discussed ideas of radical politics and technology, writing on social media trends, online extremism and internet societies.
Another unseasonably lovely Egham day was the setting for the second day of the conference! Day 2 begun with an opening address from Sarah Evans from the RGS and our final keynote talk by Professor David Gilbert, who drew on recent work on the suburbs of London to think about the creativities of suburban cultures, and the contrasts with the sterility of hyper-capitalised urban spaces. We were then treated to a hoard of fantastic presentations across themes ranging from embodiment and politics to identity and the city, climate politics and the environment to cultural multiplicities. After lunch, we hosted a range of workshops which got everyone actively involved and thinking about publishing in geography, re-animating nature as live cinema, navigating the challenges of researching in the developing world and desert island ethnography. If that wasn’t enough these were followed up with workshops around the geographies of listening, mental health in the academy, counter-mapping and access in the field. We then returned to another wealth of brilliant presentations exploring geopolitics, innovative methods in geography and therapeutic/precarious landscapes. The day ended with a really tasty meal and (many?) drinks in a local Egham pub which gave all delegates the chance to chat and unwind a bit after a jam-packed but extremely insightful and useful day!
The final day (boo!) of the conference came around far too quickly but was kicked off with informal research group networking over coffee. This was followed by delegate presentations exploring physical geography and conservation, mobility, migration and identity, geographies of work and labour and digital geographies. Over lunch, the organising committee and Sarah Evans had the unenviable task of judging the best poster out of all of the wonderful entries we received. The final paper sessions concluded proceedings with discussion of mobility, transport and the city, gentrification and urbanisation, development geographies, agriculture and water geographies, geopolitics, more than human geographies and alternate action, alternate voices.
The RGS-PGF waved us all goodbye with their AGM which concluded the conference and that (in a nutshell) was the 2018 Mid-term! It went by far too quickly, but I absolutely loved being part of such a friendly, vibrant and diverse conference. It was great to be able to present my work in such a positive and motivating environment and to be able to discuss ideas and concepts with scholars from across the discipline and across the world! I just want to finish on a massive thanks to our keynote speakers, to those who chaired sessions, to all of the RHUL staff and students who were involved in the event, to the Postgraduate Forum and last year’s team from Cardiff for all of their support. Most of all, I want to thank the whole of the RGS Mid-Term organising committee and everyone who attended because without you the success of the event would not have been possible!