The RGS-IBG annual international conference is an important event in the academic calendar and typically would attract over 2000 global geographers. Earlier this year, the conference took place at Newcastle University with a more traditional format, combining in person and virtual attendance since the impacts imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
A number of the CCRI team attended, with a particularly strong presence from the numerous PhD students who were convening sessions, presenting findings from recent research or simply taking an opportunity to meet with colleagues after a long-enforced hiatus on the ‘normal’ conference circuit.
Damian Maye, PhD student Pippa Simmonds and other colleagues co-convened a session entitled “Crisis, emergency and recovery in food systems: Critically evaluating the use, value and intersection of these concepts in food geography”. Pippa also presented a paper called “Deliberative approaches to the climate crisis: Adapting Climathons for rural livestock farming communities”, highlighting the methodological aspects of a recent British Academy-funded project. Former CCRI placement student Sofia Raseta also was present who contributed to the research process of Pippa’s paper.
Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins and PhD student Aimee Morse co-convened a session on resilient methods for a resilient rural. The panel of Mags Currie, Michael Woods, Ulrike Hotopp and Melanie Thompson-Glen contributed to an interesting discussion on the meaning of rural resilience and the importance of working at the interface of research, policy and practice.
Aimee also helped organise the Rural Geography Research Group’s 50th Anniversary Conference and presented ‘From the archives: highlights from 50 years of RGRG minutes, newsletters and more’, reflecting on the development of the group from 1972 to today. Damian Maye was also involved, presenting ‘Lines of flight: food geography and the rural’, exploring the theoretical and practical relationships between rural and food geographies.
PhD student Caitlin Hafferty co-convened a hybrid split session with Bruna Montuori (Royal College of Art, UK) on participatory methods for recovery and transformation. This included fifteen cutting-edge paper presentations on diverse participatory methods in research, policy, and practice. The sessions concluded with an engaging discussant with Sara Kindon (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Sonja Marzi (University of Glasgow, UK), Barbara Brayshay (Living Maps Network, UK), and Eveleigh Buck-Matthews (Birmingham City University, UK).
Caitlin also presented a paper from her PhD research in a session entitled ‘Critical Geographies of Enviro-tech Innovation’. She also hosted an informal social meet-up with the RGS-IBG Participatory Geographies Research Group to continue the discussion and foster collaborations.
Chris Short co-convened a session with Kerry Waylen of the James Hutton Institute entitled ‘Getting to grips with Natural Capital – trap or tool for transformation to sustainability?’.
This consisted of a set of presentations looking at the contrasting perspectives on natural capital where Chris then presented a paper titled ‘Responsible Investment: developing Natural Capital Funds for local benefit’, based on work with NICRE and the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership. A second session used the world café format to discussion the challenges and opportunities surrounding natural capital.