Tag Archives: Introduction

Introducing New PhD Students 2017/2018!

 Ed Armston-Sheret

Photo of Ed Armston-Sheret

Before starting my PhD, I completed the Local Government Association’s graduate scheme, the NGDP, which consisted of four placements in a host local authority. Prior to this, I worked in Westminster as a researcher for Members of Parliament. In terms of my academic background, I hold a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from SOAS, University of London and an MPhil in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge. I have also completed a Diploma in Leadership and Management. My current PhD title is “‘Wild things in wild places’: British cultures of extreme exploration, 1851–1913.” My project, funded by the TECHNE DTP, focuses on British exploration cultures in the 19th and early 20th centuries and their relationship to questions of authority, bodies, science, culture, and identity. I am interested in understanding travel as a process of re-embodiment and in the bodily experience of travel to the variously intangible, inhospitable, and inaccessible environments of ice, mountains, and deserts. I am supervised by Innes M. Keighren and Klaus Dodds. Outside of academia, my hobbies include cooking, jam making, and cycling.

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Ed.Armston-Sheret.2017@live.rhul.ac.uk

Ed Brookes

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Before joining the Royal Holloway family I studied at the University of Southampton, graduating in 2013 with a BA in human geography. With a brief interlude for various jobs and travel excursions it wasn’t until 2015 when I returned to academia, enrolling in the MA Cultural Geography course at Royal Holloway. It was during this time, and with great help from the Geography Department, that I managed to secure a PhD with funding by the ESRC. The PhD (supervised by Dr. Oli Mould and Prof. David Gilbert) is titled ‘Excavating the contemporary urban geographies of Robin Hood Gardens, London’. It aims to explore the social and cultural urban geographies of the Robin Hood Gardens housing estate in East London. It will specifically focus on how the present-day site, and its on-going political contestation, is continually ‘produced’ by historical and layered assemblages of materiality, culture and urban politics. In terms of my wider research foci I am particularly interested in the geographies of home, geographies of architecture and concepts of liminality. With a particular fascination with how individuals create and navigate the spaces in which they live as well as how intimate and ‘everyday’ architectural spaces are linked to a wider urban politics. Looking beyond my academic interests, I fill my time with manufacturing unhealthy baked goods and consuming large amounts of dystopian science fiction.

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Edward.Brookes.2015@live.rhul.ac.uk

Emily Hopkins
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Before my PhD, I undertook a BSc in Geography and a MA in Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway. Looking at urban and creative geographies, my PhD is titled Creating the Ordinary City: Creative Policy and the Making of Place and Community in Small Cities. My main interest is in creative and cultural economies, how these are being adapted and applied to smaller-scale cities, and the impacts this has on city space both materially and socially. I also have interests in creative methodologies. Oli Mould supervises me and Harriet Hawkins is my advisor. Alongside my PhD, I like to draw, cook and explore new places. This year, I’m really looking forward to my role as Project Manager for RHUL’s cultural geography cinema, Passengerfilms. I would also love to do more filmmaking, and to work on ways to support student mental health!

cityascanvas blog

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Prior to starting my PhD, I worked for several third sector organisations. I completed my undergraduate in English with Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, and veered closer to geography in my MSc in Urban Studies at UCL. My project is called Granular Geographies of Endless Growth: Singapore and the Spatial-Cognitive Fix. I am exploring land reclamation in Singapore and sand extraction in Southeast Asia, investigating how Singapore is inscribing its hinterland into itself through its nation-building project. My research is concerned with the integration of political geography and literary theory through employing critical creative writing methods. I am supervised by Phil Crang and co-supervised by Katherine Brickell. Outside of the PhD, I have had my fiction published in Ambit and Myths of the Near Future, and have a pamphlet of fiction forthcoming with Goldsmiths Press.

Frankie Kubicki 

A paper world: the collection & investigation of plant materials for paper making.

Paper is a resource that is all around us. Used for communication, packaging, display, commerce and art, it is arguably the bedrock of civilisation. With a global and ancient history that could span a multiple volume publication, this project will look at a particular period of innovation – in the middle of the nineteenth century – when inventors, botanists and industrialists were driven to find an answer to the shortages they were facing. Limited in production due to a reliance on linen and cotton rags as the base material for paper, growing empire, bureaucracies and industry dictated that demand outstripped supply. Inventors turned to nature as inspiration, and building on the works of experiment in the eighteenth century they looked to new plant fibres to provide the mass of entwined cellulose that paper is made from. Sitting at the intersections of historical geography, history of design, and the history of science and technology, this thesis aims to unite both the cultural and economic factors that shape the history of paper in the nineteenth century. This project will take an expressly material approach, using objects as its base for exploration. The heart of the project therefore is the unrivalled paper collections of the Economic Botany Collection at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. These objects will be the engine for further discoveries raising wider questions concerning the formation of knowledge about raw materials, technologies and commodities.

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Frankie.Kubicki.2018@live.rhul.ac.uk 

 

Saskia Papadakis
Saskia Papadakis
I am a PhD student at Royal Holloway’s Human Geography Department, where I am funded by the SeNSS ESRC consortium. My doctoral research project, ‘Northerners in London: Englishness, place and mobility’, is being supervised by Professor Phil Crang at RHUL and Professor Ben Rogaly at the University of Sussex. My research interests include nationality, culture and identity; the English North-South divide; and transregional migration within England. Through researching the identities and experiences of Northerners who have migrated to London, I aim to contribute to understandings of issues of migration and locality and how they play into the formation of national identities and cultural distinctions. I completed my MA in Social Research at Goldsmiths College in 2017, and I graduated from the University of York in 2014, where I read Sociology. I maintain my links with Goldsmiths through the podcast Surviving Society which I run with Goldsmiths PhD students Chantelle Lewis and Tissot Regis. We aim to contribute to public sociology by discussing current affairs, society and our everyday experiences from a sociological perspective. When I’m not thinking about society, I play the viola, and I’ve recently taken up yoga in an attempt to clear my mind.
Yunting (Tina) Qi
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I am a human geographer with specific interests around (un)skilled transnational migration, emotions and social integration. My PhD  is titled  “Homeland Re-integration: Professional Chinese Returnees to Shanghai, China”, which is supervised by Prof. Katie Willis. This research aims to interrogate how professional returnees (re)integrate into their homeland using the analytical lens of everyday emotional geographies. Based on the primary aim, there are three research question: 1) What kinds of emotions have been highlighted in everyday encounters of professional Chinese returnees? 2) How do professional Chinese returnees perceive “homeland” based on their emotional journeys in transnational and translocal migration? 3) How integrated are professional Chinese returnees to wider Chinese society? Also, this research will consider how governance and the talent policy of China influence returnees’ everyday life and emotions. Before RHUL, I received a Master of Social Sciences from National University of Singapore and a Bachelor of Science from East China Normal University.

Tat-In (Dennis) Tam

Dennis Tam

I am a PhD student in human geography. Prior to being a member of Royal Holloway, I worked as a high school geography teacher and served in the local geography society of Macau. I was responsible for geography education affairs and the International Geographic Olympiad for many years. I obtained my bachelor and master degree in Taiwan and Mainland China respectively. My research is focusing on the flows of migration among Macau and its neighbouring regions both on intra-national and international scale. My PhD is titled ‘The Identity, Social Space and Mobility of Ethnic Minorities in Macau’. Within my research, I attempt to uncover the social integration process, the driving factors and the possible influences of the migration which occurs within Macau from Southeast Asian ethnic minority groups within the last two decades. My research will mainly be supervised by Professor Katie Willis. As a geographer, I love visiting different places. To me, I feel the most interesting way to discover a city is by encountering the city’s social context under the connection with local community in an unintentional way such as by wandering in the city’s streets and lanes.

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Dennis.Tam.2017@live.rhul.ac.uk

Rachael Utting

The project is entitled ‘Collecting Leviathan: curiosity, exchange and the Southern Whale Fleet (1775-1860)’ and is supervised by Professor Felix Driver and is funded by AHRC TECHNE. The project will investigate the collecting of Pacific material culture on whaling voyages associated with the Southern Whale Fishery during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It also considers the circulation of artefacts through networks emanating from the docksides of British ports, through auction houses, curiosity shops, gentlemen’s clubs, private collections and ultimately into the ethnographic collections of major museums. The Pacific fleet was active between 1775-1860 and for part of this period was the largest whaling fleet in the world outstripping even that of the North-East Coast of America. Whaling logs, private journals, correspondence and museum collections indicate that during these island layovers, whalers interacted in various ways with local inhabitants, acquiring indigenous artefacts and other objects retained for personal interest or later sale as ‘curiosities’.On returning home, the sailors sold their curios to interested buyers. The docksides of London and other major ports became cultural contact zones due not only to the mixing of ethnically diverse ship’s crews, but also because of this trade in exotic material culture. These artefacts then moved in myriad ways – for example through informal exchange, commercial networks, family inheritance or formal donation – into personal and public museum collections. By analyzing these moments of exchange and encounter through whaling logs, journals, auction house records and public and private correspondence I propose to build an understanding of the networks of exchange spreading out from the London dockside and thereby to enhance our knowledge and understanding of early British collecting practices and the making of ethnographic collections.

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Rachael.Utting.2017@live.rhul.ac.uk

Kim Walker kim_walker_

I previously studied BSc & MSc (Research) in herbal medicine at the University of Westminster. I have been writing & editing popular books on herbal remedies and teaching workshops on plant identification, folklore and remedy making.  I love being outside and see the hedgerows as libraries of knowledge, there is so much to know, see, taste and do with plants and I love to share that with people. I currently live on and off a narrowboat where I take foraging trips and workshops throughout the summer.My interest in plants and plant history led me to work with the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where my previous research (for MSc dissertation) looked into the development of Eucalyptus as a medicine in the 19th Century. I am now be undertaking my PhD project on another medicinal part of the collection. The Title of my PHD is ‘Biocultural collections and networks of knowledge exchange in the 19th century: the quest for quinine’. Based on the large cinchona collections within the Economic Botany Collection at Kew, this collections based research will trace the networks of exchange, circulation of specimens and key players in this story, shedding light upon the development of this important anti-malarial. A collaboration with Royal Holloway,. I am supervised by Felix Driver (RHUL) and Mark Nesbitt (RBG, Kew).

 

 

David Williams

David Williams

Shared Sacred Space in the Byzantine Mediterranean. Byzantium and the Latin West.

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David.Williams.2014@live.rhul.ac.uk

Nina Willment

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Hi I’m Nina. Before completing my PhD, I completed the BA Geography and MA Cultural Geography courses at Royal Holloway. The current title of my PhD is ‘Geographies of the creative workplace: the case of British travel bloggers’ and I am supervised by Philip Crang and David Gilbert. My research seeks to advance understanding of contemporary work cultures within the creative economy through an empirical case study of British travel bloggers. My project’s primary interest is in the working lives and workplaces of these travel bloggers but it will also aim to contribute to research literature on the wider politics and economics of creative labour and the geographies of travel writing. As a result, my research will pay particular attention to: travel blogger’s constructions of their creative careers; the aesthetic, affective, curatorial and aspirational components of their work; and their varied workspaces. It also aims investigate how travel bloggers’ navigate the insecure political economy of their industry. I’m the events manager for the Royal Geographical Society Postgraduate Forum and venues manager for Passengerfilms. Outside of my PhD, my favourite thing to do is to travel the world. I also enjoy upcycling furniture, drinking wine and anything to do with dachshunds.

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Nina.Willment.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk 

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Meet the editors!

Hello! We are Nina and Ed and we are the current editors of the Landscape Surgery blog. We are both first year PhD students and members of the Social, Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group at Royal Holloway University of London. We are both extremely excited to take over this role from Huw and Katy and to continue to dissect the exciting dialogue generated by this research group at our bi-weekly ‘Landscape Surgery’ meetings. We are also looking forward to operating an informative blog which highlights the research groups contributions in publications, through public events and academic conferences, interdisciplinary workshops and dialogue with other institutions. We welcome submissions from all ‘surgeons’ relating to their topical research interests, upcoming events, general PhD life, post-doc and career advice; and generally, all things Geography (and beyond!). We also welcome any guest posts and/or advice and ideas to improve the blog!  If you would like to submit a blog post or have any comments or queries, we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch with us at Nina.Willment.2013@live.rhul.ac.uk or Edward.Brookes.2015@live.rhul.ac.uk 

So here is five quick fire questions to get to know us a little bit better..

Ed Brookes

ed brookes

  1. Current Research Interests:

My current research foci centres around urban geography, with particular interests in social housing, architecture and home. My PhD combines these foci as it looks to explore the social history of the Robin Hood Gardens council estate in East London during its demolition. As part of that I’m also heavily looking into contemporary archaeology and how it can be used by cultural geography as a toolkit for exploring urban spaces.

  1. What was your MA dissertation about?

In short it was about corridors. I wanted to examine some of the spaces that we overlook in our everyday lives, the corridor being a place many of us frequently walk through but spend little time thinking about. Using this as my framework, I explored the corridor artwork of two artists; Bruce Nauman and a Danish architectural duo called ‘AVPD’. Using their work, I attempted to highlight how the corridor can provide a means to engage with the often-overlooked aspects of lived architectural space.

  1. What do you do outside academia?

Outside of academia I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy… probably an unhealthy amount. Films and board games also take up a good chunk of my spare time. I also love to cook, so am frequently found trying out new recipes for cakes and other unhealthy baked goods.

  1. What is your favourite song to work too?

Well I can’t work to anything with lyrics otherwise I get distracted. But anything by Thomas Newman is good. If I had to pick one of his pieces it would be ‘Any Other Name’, which was used in the film American Beauty (A good watch if anyone hasn’t seen it).

  1. What is your favourite book

Probably a cliché but it’s got to be ‘1984’ by George Orwell. Dystopian fiction at its best. Also, its got some solid corridor imagery.

Nina Willment

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  1. Current Research Interests:

My current research interests are around the intersection of economic and cultural geography, especially in relation to creative work. In particular, I am interested in the politics of creative labour and forms of aesthetic, affective and curatorial labour. I’m also interested in digital and visual methodologies and how these can be used to understand the changing form of the workspace. I’m currently trying to figure out a new empirical foci through which I can develop these themes.

  1. What was your MA dissertation about?

Within my MA dissertation, I wanted to examine the forms of aesthetic labour undertaken by DJs involved in London’s grime music scene. I developed three areas of focus to investigate the concept of aesthetic labour relating to the physical, performing and digital body of the grime DJ. Through these three foci, I aimed to expand the currently limited conceptions of aesthetic labour to include ideas of digital aesthetic labour and ideas of aesthetic labour as the propagation of affective atmospheres.

  1. What do you do outside academia?

Outside of academia, I absolutely love travelling! I try to go away as much as I can (probably why I have no money) Apart from that, I love walking my miniature dachshund (probably why I own waaay too much sausage dog stationary) and upcycling furniture (probably why procrastination always ends in the need to rearrange my room).

  1. What is your favourite song to work too?

Ahh I’m one of those people that have to be in absolute silence to get anything done but if I’m ever having writers block or feel a bit down, I always whack on Clean Bandit’s New Eyes album and instantly feel a bit better!

  1. What is your favourite book?

I’ve absolutely adored the Harry Potter books since I was a kid but more recently I’ve fallen in love with Brandon Stanton’s ‘Humans of New York’ book series, which has been adapted from his Humans of New York blog. I’m also a fan of Khaled Hosseini’s and love his ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ novel.

Nina Willment

 

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Introducing New Staff

Janet Bowstead British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

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I am currently (2016-2019) a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. My project is “Women on the move: the journeyscapes of domestic violence.” My research continues to explore domestic violence Continue reading

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Introducing Natalie Hyacinth- Geography and Music PhD Candidate

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Greetings fellow Surgeons!

My name is Natalie Hyacinth and I am very happy to be a part of the Landscape Surgery collective. I have begun a PhD within the Geography and Music departments at RHUL supervised by Prof. David Gilbert and Dr. Henry Stobart. My PhD is part of and attached to a larger joint research project with UCL entitled ‘Making Suburban Faith’…which is again part of a larger AHRC funded ‘Connected Communities’ research programme…phew! So there are lots of new and exciting things ahead.

The preliminary title of my PhD is “Music and popular creativity in suburban faith communities”. My focus will be on music, sound and silence and how these work through and within the manifestation of spirituality for faith groups in the particular London suburb of Ealing. Thus my research will ‘embody’ dimensions of space (suburbia), creativity (music) and faith (performance & performativity of identity). I with the Making Suburban Faith project team embarked on a visit to 5 of the project’s faith spaces in Ealing where I recorded some sounds. As my interest and passion is music, I thought it would be great to incorporate some of these sounds into my music making. So I have set up a Sound Cloud page called ‘SacredSonix’:

https://soundcloud.com/sacredsonix

…where I will embark upon a type of ‘audio ethnography’ or a digital sound archive of the project in the spirit of the recent rise of a ‘digital humanities’. So far I have uploaded some warped type sounds I have been playing around with and some dubs/beats I have produced. All in a very rough sketch kinda mode!

My own academic background I would say is broadly within Cultural Studies and Philosophy. I completed an MA in ‘Cultural Studies’ at Goldsmiths University in 2014 and completed a BA in ‘Music and Media Management’ at London Met in 2010. I hold such a wide variety of philosophical/political interests that anything which attempts to uncover and deeply explore our strange world usually seizes some form of fascination for me. So I am into anything from the philosophy of technology (I actually like and have written on Heidegger..!), Diaspora Studies and Afro Futurism to Poetry & Spoken Word, Feminism, Roots, Dub and Hip Hop music to now of course…Cultural Geography!!

I am always up for collaboration so if anyone would like to work together to make or perform something creative or anything really, please do get in touch.

All the best,

Natalie

Email: Natalie.Hyacinth.2015@live.rhul.ac.uk

Blog: https://sacredsonix.wordpress.com

Making Suburban Faith Project Website: http://www.makingsuburbanfaith.org

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Introducing Katherine Stansfeld, new PhD student

Hello! I joined the Geography Department at RHUL this October (2014) as a new PhD student. I am jointly funded by a CASE Award from the South East ESRC DTC and Ordnance Survey. My supervisor at Royal Holloway is Prof. Phil Crang and my second supervisor is Dr. Gwilym Eades, with Dr. Jenny Harding being my supervisor at Ordnance Survey.

My provisional PhD title is ‘Mapping Vernacular Geographies in Places of Super-diversity’. I intend to explore how, in the context of ‘super-diversity’ and multicultural London, the ‘vernacular geographies’ of different people represent both cultural complexity and shared spaces of encounter and civic culture. As well as in the context of wider arguments for the ‘thrown-togetherness’ of place, I aim to evaluate how contemporary cartographic and geographic information can map places as constellations of trajectories. I am hoping to discover how the power of mapping can be used by Ordnance Survey to engage and provide for ‘super-diverse’ users. I’ll be focusing on one particular area of London (likely North-East), which is still to be confirmed!

Katherine Stansfeld

 

My background is in Sociology, institutionally from Goldsmiths where I completed my MA in ‘Critical and Creative Analysis’ and prior to that the University of Bristol where I received a Bsc. in Sociology. My interests include (but are not limited to) urban multi-culture, the diversity and hybridity of forms in cities, identity and belonging to place, critical cartographies, migration and integration as well as the power of everyday encounters for change. To name just a few topics! I have a background as a research assistant with the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) at Goldsmiths, doing projects as a researcher with community-arts organisations. I developed my interest in visual urbanism at Goldsmiths, as I have a great passion for photography, which I am hoping to bring to my PhD. I also (incidentally) developed my love of cultural geography while at Goldsmiths, reading lots of Nigel Thrift, Michael Keith, Tim Cresswell and Doreen Massey and feel honoured to be so welcomed to this department and Landscape Surgery!

Prior to this I took a year out and spent time living in Florida, US and Cape Town, South Africa (I’m half South African) as well doing some traveling in Colombia. I spent time making portraits and photos in each place, and I’m currently (in my spare time?) putting it together into a photo-book entitled ‘finding my place’ (so watch this space).

If you’d like to be in touch, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Email: katherine.stansfeld.2014@live.rhul.ac.uk

Twitter: @katsta_

PhD Website: https://mappingsuperdiversity.wordpress.com/ 

Personal Website: https://cargocollective.com/kstansfeld

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Introducing Benjamin Newman – CDA Student

Hello Surgeons!

I’m Ben, an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) student working in partnership with the department and the Royal Ben Newman Geographical Society (with IBG). I am supervised jointly by Dr. Innes Keighren and Dr. Catherine Souch (Head of Research and Higher Education Division at the RGS), with Prof. Klaus Dodds offering guidance and support for good measure.

My journey at Royal Holloway started some 5 years ago when I joined the department as a young, fresh-faced undergraduate student. I completed my undergraduate degree on the BA Geography course, where I was introduced to the world of historical geography on the second-year research field trip to New York. I moved on to the MA in Cultural Geography (Research) in 2013 (notwithstanding that fact I hadn’t previously undertaken any of the cultural geography modules available at undergraduate level). Despite an apprehensive start, I enjoyed the new and varied concepts introduced in each of the seminars and creative practices (which including strapping a Go-Pro to a dog), however, almost inevitably, I found myself back in the archive to complete my MA dissertation.

Throughout my time at Royal Holloway, I used the respective dissertations to hone the clumsy archival research skills that would have been on display in the New York Public Library years earlier. My undergraduate dissertation took me to the League of Nations Archive on the United Nations campus in Geneva and considered the conception, implementation, and circulation of the League of Nations’ interwar nutrition programs. Since the glamour of New York and Geneva things have come slightly closer to home. Under the guidance of Prof. Felix Driver, I found Richard Dennis’s and others fascinating work on nineteenth-century modernity and formulated a project considering the new lived experience and politics of the first, deep-level electric underground railway in London (and the world).

Now I am here, starting another exciting adventure, it was never meant to happen like this, but Harriet could sell ice to the inuit or, more appropriately, PhDs/MAs to students who aren’t quite sure if they are ready for the next step. Although I have been at Royal Holloway for years, I have been exposed to a range of geographic concepts not least at LS. Broadly I am interested in historical geographies of the nineteenth century (I think it’s a great time period to work in given its turbulence and rapidity, the emergence of new geographic experiences and knowledge making) and the mobility of people, objects, and knowledge during that period. I am currently working under the title: “Geography in Dialogue: Print Culture at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), c. 1830–c. 2000”. The project uses The Geographical Journal (GJ) as an empirical focus. First printed in 1831, a year after the founding of the RGS, the GJ’s long-standing tradition of publishing lectures delivered in the Society alongside the questions and discussions which followed them, offers an important insight into the circulation and reception of ideas within geography and the nature of the discipline’s dialogues throughout time and space. As a CDA student, the project was formulated by my respective supervisors and, therefore, currently a significant portion of my time is dedicated to the reworking of the project within the loose parameters already set out in the original AHRC proposal.

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