EGRG sponsors 16 sessions at AC2017

EGRG sponsors a full programme of economic geography sessions at the 2017 RGS/IBG Annual Conference in London.

Tuesday 29 to Friday 1 September 2017

Theme: Decolonising geographical knowledges: opening geography out to the world

EGRG-Sponsored sessions:

  • Brexit: a geographical conversation
  • Labour and life: changing geographies of the workplace (1)  (2)  (3)
  • Advancing global production networks research: progress and prospects (1) lecture (2) panel: (3) general debates (4) conceptualizing strategic coupling (5) nature, resources, environment (6) labour dimensions
  • Creating and Communicating Knowledge, Practices and Values: Exploring the Dynamics of Local Anchors and Trans-Local Communities (1) (2)
  • Mortgage markets and the financialization of home in the Global South
  • Financialisation in the Global South (1): Emerging Economies and Regions (2): Low-Income Economies and Regions
  • Authors meet critics – Money and Finance after the Crisis: Critical Thinking for Uncertain Times (eds. Brett Christophers, Andrew Leyshon and Geoff Mann, Wiley, 2017)

 



Chloe Billing (Birmingham) wins 2017 PhD prize

This year received another bumper crop of entries to the competition, and this is a continuing sign of vitality in Economic Geography in the UK. All entries were of a very high standard and the EGRG committee is pleased to announce that this year’s winner is Chloe Billing, University of Birmingham for her innovative thesis entitled:

‘Satellites, Rockets and Services: A Place for Space in Geography?’

We also wish to award a Runner-Up prize to Emil Evenhuis, Newcastle University (now working at Cambridge University) for his thesis titled ‘The Political Economy of Adaptation and Resilience in Old Industrial Regions: A Comparative Study of South Saarland and Teesside’.



Blog 2017 Postgrad Conference – EGRG bursary holders

Thoughts on RGS-IBG Postgraduate Midterm Conference 2017

Being a PhD student at Cardiff University who extensively draws from the tradition of Human Geography I made a pragmatic decision to join the RGS-Midterm Conference organised this year by my colleagues from Cardiff School of Geography and Planning. It was the first time I attended any event within the network of Royal Geographical Society and I welcomed the opportunity to present my research and the possibility to connect with fellow PhDs. But what I expected to be a somewhat formal but usefully spend two and a half days turned out to be truly engaging, inspirational and enjoyable experience of a vibrant PhD community connected through interest in Human Geography.

The most enjoyable aspect of the Conference was the intellectual stimulation of diverse and current research topics such as community-led housing, digital labour or narco-drone just to name a few, and welcoming atmosphere which encouraged talking with others during breaks between sessions. And when we are at the subject of paper sessions, I must say that it was often hard to make a choice as to which session ranging from 3 to 5 topics to attend, as so many of them sounded really interesting!

Apart from paper presentations we could choose two out of eight workshops and the one I really liked was about misuse of statistics in the media. The speaker Dr Honor Young was very passionate about the topic and raised awareness about key misuses of statistics, predominantly in the British press. She also reminded us how not to engage with statistics by showing a famous clip of Russell Brand criticizing statistics as ‘the stuff people like you are using to confuse people like us’ on BBC Newsnight.

I also had an opportunity to present my research about previously unstudied financial arrangements called community shares. As I am on the third year of my doctorate, I reflected on my journey throughout my PhD and presented the initial findings. I received very positive feedback from the audience and was encouraged to start a blog about my research, which is an idea I would like to take forward in the future.

Finally, during the Economic Geography Research Group meeting led by Dr Crispin Fuller and facilitated by Amy Horton I became aware about the challenges facing Economic Geography as a subdiscipline in the field of Geography in the UK. I am very interested to learn more about this ongoing issue and contribute to this debate. Therefore, I am keen to participate in the upcoming one day workshop aiming to reassess the future role of Economic Geography, hosted by Cardiff School of Geography and Planning on the 1st of June.

The overall experience of the RGS-Midterm Conference was of true value to me as PhD researcher and aspiring scholar. I would encourage any Postgraduate student, especially PhD, with a primary interest in Geography to attend this event at any stage of their study, as it is unique opportunity to experience a friendly and highly stimulating atmosphere that keeps you inspired. I would like to thank the Economic Geography Research Group for the bursary and congratulate my colleagues from Cardiff School of Geography and Planning on the very successful organisation of the RGS- Midterm Conference.

Justyna Prosser, PhD Researcher at Cardiff University Sustainable Places Research Institute.

 

EGRG reception at RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference: More than a friendly reception

The RGS-IBG Mid-Term conference took place at Cardiff University in April, and was preceded by an Economic Geography Research Group reception that I was lucky enough to attend. This was a great chance for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) to share research progress in a friendly and constructive environment, as well as to meet PGRs from many universities in the UK who are working within the variegated geographical landscape of research topics. The different panel sessions were set up in a way that increased synergies among presenters, so the panel experience was brilliant for every postgraduate who spoke. Additionally, the coffee breaks, dinners and informal after-conference meetings were the ideal instances for consolidating the bonds developed through the conference. Considering this, I strongly recommend every postgraduate geographer to attend this conference.

However, the experience is better enjoyed if you are working within economic geography themes. Many RGS research groups offered receptions during the conference, but the one held by the Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) was awesome. I am a young economic geographer – or that is what I am trying to be – and this reception was brilliant for offering a welcoming introduction to the EGRG, highlighting their objectives, activities, and opportunities for engagement among postgraduate students. The reception also offered some participatory activities for proposing possible activities to link PGRs in economic geography with the EGRG’s program, as well as to suggest ideas of how the EGRG might contribute to our research. This reception was also the perfect moment for meeting those postgraduate researchers that are working within economic geography and learning about their approaches, methodologies, and case studies. If you are a postgraduate student in geography, you should go the conference, but if you are working in economic geography, you must!

My sense at the end of the reception was that the EGRG is open to receiving postgraduate students, and there are no excuses for staying out of the group if you share research interest with them.  The EGRG does many things, and as postgraduates, there are plenty of other things that is possible to do within the group.

Felipe Irarrazaval (Manchester University)



EGRG at Postgrad Mid-Term Conference 2017

RGS-IBG Postgraduate Mid-Term Conference: Economic Geography Research Group Reception: Wed 19 April 2017 16:00

The Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) of the RGS hosted a reception for postgraduates attending the Mid-Term Conference. They also engaged with EGRG postgrad rep Amy Horton, alongside EGRG Chair James Faulconbridge and Crispian Fuller about their pathways into working in the field, and how to get involved in the Research Group.

The EGRG also sponsored three bursaries for students attending the conference, and you can read about the experiences of award winners Felipe Irarrazava (University of Manchester) and Justyna Prosser (Cardiff University) here

About the RGS-IBG Postgrad Mid-Term Conference:

The 2017 RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference was held over the 19th – 21st April 2017. It was hosted by a team of PhD students based in the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.

This event was a great opportunity for PhD and Masters geography students to present their research and discuss ideas with their fellow postgraduates in a relaxed and  friendly environment. In addition, there were keynote talks from prominent geographers at Cardiff University and workshops covering a range of essential skills. The conference also provided plenty of opportunities to network with postgraduate geographers from all corners of the discipline.  For more information see: www.pgf.rgs.org/mid-term-conference-2017

About the Economic Geography Research Group:

Join the EGRG to become part of an active network of economic geographers. Find out more about our work, including sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG conference and the prizes we offer for postgraduate research: www.egrg.rgs.org.

 



Honouring Ray Hudson

Honouring Ray Hudson: reflecting on four decades of contribution to economic geography

Organised by the Economic Geography Research Group and sponsored by European Urban and Regional Studies

RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 1 Sept 2016.

The EGRG was pleased to honour Ray Hudson’s major contributions to economic geography during the past four decades. Four panellists offered personal and professional reflections on these contributions and their legacy for economic geography, both with reference to past and present academic and public policy debates:

Steve Musson (University of Reading, UK)

Roger Lee (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

Costis Hadjimichalis (Harokopio University, Greece)

Huw Beynon (Cardiff University, UK)

Diane Perrons (The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

IMG_5966

 



Kelly Kay (LSE) reports on SIEG2016 Kentucky

The EGRG was pleased to support Kelly Kay (LSE) to attend the Summer Institute in Economic Geography at Kentucky University this summer.  Kelly was awarded £175 towards her travel costs. A reports on her time at the Summer Institute can be found below.

Report on the Summer Institute for Economic Geography, 2016
Kelly Kay, LSE Fellow in Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science

From July 10-15 of this year, I had the pleasure of attending the Eighth Annual Summer Institute in Economic Geography (SIEG). The gathering took place at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and was organized by a very engaged and welcoming committee of faculty members. Each day was scheduled with a mixture of panel discussions, plenary lectures, and field trips. I was fortunate to see four diverse and interesting plenary lectures from Beverly Mullings, Jane Pollard, Neil Coe, and Gavin Bridge. Panel discussions ranged from theory to practice. There were conversations specific to the sub-discipline, its identity, future, and methods. There were discussions about practicing economic geography, which engaged topics like teaching, publishing in the subdiscipline, and navigating the job market. There were also a number of more theoretical, thematic panels around particular topics (e.g. markets, finance, nature). Field trips brought the participants out into the community to acquaint us with some of Lexington’s local industries (including horse racing, bourbon distilling, and automobile assembly), and to learn about the particular role that Kentucky plays in the global economy.

In addition to the formal programming for the week, SIEG was immensely rewarding because of the ample opportunities to build community and interact in more informal ways. Over the course of the week, I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet other economic geographers from around the world and to learn about their work and their experiences. Over dinners at faculty members’ houses, lunch breaks, and trips to the pub, the participants built relationships that, and by the end of the week, we came to feel like a cohort of colleagues and friends. In my experience, it is rare to forge such bonds in a conference setting, and for this, I think that the Summer Institute is a really unique and wonderful space.

My own highlight from the week was a field trip to Darby Dan Farms, a thoroughbred racehorse farm and breeding operation. Lexington is a global epicenter for horse racing, so horse farms are a distinctive part of the local landscape. On the trip, we met a stallion named Shackleford, who has been retired from racing and now works exclusively as a stud for breeding. Shackleford is an incredibly valuable animal—when we arrived, we were told that he was worth $15 million—and the many employees that we met who are tasked with caring for him, cleaning him, and overseeing his breeding process serves as a testament to this value.

Prior to the field trip, I would have never expected to enjoy hearing about the strange intricacies of “live cover,” as it is called in the industry. A thoroughbred can only be called a thoroughbred if it is conceived without the use of artificial insemination. This means that the breeding of racehorses, or thoroughbreds, requires horses to be in the same place. As an environmental economic geographer, I was fascinated by the particular ways that the temporalities and geographies of accumulation were constrained and shaped by the biology of the animals and their reproductive timelines and processes. Each time that Shackleford is bred, the owner of the mare pays $20,000. Given the large amounts of capital invested, the stakes are high, and a huge amount of human labor goes into managing the reproductive encounter between two very large, powerful animals, whose value is predicated upon their health and their undamaged bodies. In addition to the managing of animal bodies and reproductive schedules, the horse trainers also detailed some fascinating links with global logistics. In horse breeding, the expectation is that the mare is transported to the stallion—an interesting gendered aspect of horse reproductive work. This means in practice that mares are often transported very large distances, usually on cargo planes. One story that we heard involved a female horse flying from Australia and having six different layovers at major international airports before finally reaching Lexington. Given the extremely valuable nature of these animals, the trainers often come along, sitting in a cramped and dark cargo plane for the duration of the journey, providing them with a firsthand understanding of the logistics networks and processes that move goods and commodities around the world.



EGRG activities at RGS-IBG 2016

Please find below a summary of various Economic Geography Research Group Activities at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in London at the end of this month. We hope you are able to join us.

EGRG Annual General Meeting (open to all – free pass available to allow the attendance of those not registered for the conference):  Thursday 1st September, 13:10, Imperial College, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, room SAF-119. At this meeting we will be electing a new Treasurer, Events Coordinator, and Postgrad representative

EGRG Postgraduate Drinks gathering –  Thursday 1st September, 6.30pm at Eastside Bar on Princes Gardens (a 3-minute walk from the conference venue).

EGRG sponsored sessions (for full details click here)

Wednesday 31 Aug 2016

  • Ethnographic methods in economic geography
  • Mapping the Marginal: Exploring the Identities, Practices, Geographies and Experiences of Digital Labour
  • Operations of capital: Studying the nexus of land, housing, and finance across the North-South divide

Thursday 01 Sep 2016

  • Honouring Ray Hudson: reflecting on four decades of contribution to economic geography
  • Scholar activism and the Fashion Revolution: ‘who made my clothes?’
  • Sustaining Economic Geography? The movement of economic geographers to business and management schools (UK)
  • Finance and Market Ideology: Interrogating the Financialization/Neoliberalism Nexus in Economic Geography and beyond

Friday 02 Sep 2016

  • Encountering Austerity
  • A critical dialogue between Geography and Area Studies: representing and understanding economic Africa
  • The geography of work, employment and poverty

 



Amy Horton (QMUL) reports on SIEG2016 Kentucky

The EGRG was pleased to support Amy Horton (QMUL) to attend the Summer Institute in Economic Geography at Kentucky University this summer.  Amy Horton was awarded £175 towards her travel costs. A reports on her time at the Summer Institute can be found below.

Report on the Summer Institute for Economic Geography, 2016
Amy Horton, PhD candidate, Queen Mary University of London

Thanks to support from the EGRG, I was able to take part in the eighth Summer Institute for Economic Geography. The event was hosted by Jamie Peck and faculty from the University of Kentucky, who – together with several plenary speakers – shared their reflections on how the field had evolved, as well as some of their latest research. Around 40 PhD students and early career researchers joined in spirited debates. Reflecting the geographical roots of the discipline, most of us came from universities in the UK and North America, but participants from other parts of Europe, Tanzania and China offered other perspectives. This short report highlights a few aspects of the week that stood out to me, and which will help to shape my thesis on financialisation and organising within eldercare.

We took up debates from previous iterations of SIEG about whether economic geography had diversified so much that it lacked any kind of unifying agenda and approach, which might limit our capacity to engage with economists and policymakers. Participants questioned whether there was in fact an invisible yet powerful centre, from which the various disciplinary ‘turns’ were narrated, while feminist and postcolonial economic geography remained marginalised. Some participants resisted the positioning of economic geography relative to economics, preferring instead to work with other geographers. Many were keen to avoid being state-centric by engaging with other actors – though a lively conversation about why economic geographers had not been more vocal about the UK’s referendum on EU membership revealed a number of concerns about publishing controversial opinions and accessing audiences who are wary of ‘experts’. A session discussing the legacy of Doreen Massey reminded us of shared foundational ideas in the field, and we found some common ground in seeking to explain uneven development. There was also agreement that our research could reach wider audiences if we gave more attention to methods to show rigour, and used a fuller range of qualitative and quantitative approaches such as surveys, big data and visual methods. Many of us felt that more thorough and continuous training would help in this respect.

Thematically, the range of research on finance demonstrated the scope for economic geography to deconstruct dominant understandings of the economy and to ‘provincialise’ western finance. Beverley Mullings presented her research on attempts by the Jamaican government and development institutions to shape diasporic subjects into risk-taking, patriotic investors, thus depoliticising sovereign debt. Jane Pollard described how she had shifted from studying Islamic banking to investigating remittances and charitable giving by Somalis in east London. By attending to different values and positions in relation to mainstream finance, she problematised standard notions of financial inclusion and exclusion. I look forward to contributing to the theorising of hybrid and global forms of finance through my doctoral research.

Discussions of markets, value and labour exposed some major divides according to geographical and theoretical perspectives. Researchers in the US examined the (arguably growing) overlap between places of work, social reproduction, and organising, and how value and subjects are produced by multiple actors including the state. A global production network approach, in contrast, focused on the firm as the key operator, in the context of rising unionisation and middle class formation in much of the global south. Productive intersections for the two approaches could include more comparative work and studies of informality and livelihoods, in light of automation and the growing ranks of unemployed, “disposable” youth. Climate change and the Anthropocene were notably absent from most of the discussion, despite interesting debates on markets in nature and new research on extractive industries. There remains, then, scope to better integrate insights from political ecology and environmental economics into our work.

Even if consensus remained elusive on what unites economy geography, many of us face similar challenges in working within neoliberalising universities (and our insights here are one way of speaking to other disciplines). We shared reflections on publishing, job hunting, securing funding and teaching. At least as helpful as the practical advice was the willingness to acknowledge the emotional difficulties and trade-offs involved, particularly given the hyper-mobility expected of new researchers in the job market and the pressures on teaching from surveillance and the sensitivity of key issues, such as race. By the end of the week, I felt much more a part of an exciting, supportive academic community. Conversations continue online, and there are plans for reunions and potential collaborations at future conferences.



Thanks to RGS-IBG summer interns for research support

The EGRG would like to express its thanks to the RGS-IBG summer interns who have provided research support for Phase 3 of the EGRG project ‘In the Business of Economic Geography’. Thank you to Marie Gallagher, Emily Brunton, Jemma Hulbert, Patrick Chorley, Douglas Jenkins, Arif Hussein, and Isabelle Green for all their hard work in transcribing the interviews.

Recent years have witnessed a noticeable migration of economic geographers from Departments of Geography (or Geography programmes more broadly defined) to Business and Management and related research centres.

The aim of this research project is to assess the scale of this trend and its broader implications for teaching, research and capacity building in Economic Geography, and its consequences for Human Geography in the UK.

Check out the project webpages for more detail: www.egrg.rgs.org/business-of-econ-geog

This project is financially supported by the EGRG and RGS-IBG and focuses specifically on UK Economic Geography in the first instance.

Key Contacts: Mike Bradshaw (Warwick), Al James (QMUL), Neil Coe (NUS), James Faulconbridge (Lancaster), Catherine Souch (RGS-IBG).  With valued RGS-IBG intern support from Anna Geatrell (LSE).



Economic Geographers honoured with 2016 RGS-IBG medals

EGRG is proud to celebrate the achievements of two intellectual heavyweights in Economic Geography, who have been awarded Royal Medals by the RGS-IBG as part of a series of awards honouring top geographers. The Society’s prestigious medals and awards recognise extraordinary achievement in geographical research and the promotion of geography, science and discovery.

Ron Martin, Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded the Victoria Medal for 2016 ‘for outstanding contributions to the field of economic geography, especially with respect to advances in regional economic development theory’.

Michael Storper, Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science, received the 2016 Founder’s Medal for scholarship and leadership in human and economic geography. His research work focuses on contemporary forces of globalisation, technological development, and industrial change.

This is excellent news for the international Economic Geography community, and a clear reflection of the major strength, vibrancy and impact of research in our field.