I always like to take a look at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) annual conference programme before it starts. You can do the same, it is accessible online here. So what do I do – I first take a look at all the session titles, marking off one in each time slot that sounds interesting. I then dig a little deeper and read the paper titles. I don’t really read the abstract for the session because often they bear no relation to the papers finally selected. Great – so now I’ve got more sessions on my list than I can ever possibly attend – but that just shows how rich and varied our field is. I like to dip in and out of some sessions, plus, I also like to take a bit of time for myself during the conference – to catch up with colleagues or enjoy a coffee (and a Tunnocks bar) in the sunshine at the Royal Geographical Society. Although this year – we’re in Edinburgh and I can’t wait. My first RGS conference was in Glasgow when it was twinned with the IGU. So here are my recommendations for #ac2012 (I’ve included links to these sessions below – just click on the session title or numbered sessions).
Tuesday 3rd July
- Sessions 1 and 2: I think I’ll start the day with a spot of Ludic Geographies (1 and 2) – my friends Tara Woodyer (Portsmouth) and Fraser MacDonald (Edinburgh) have convened these sessions. What could be better than exploring our playful side on the first morning – I am hoping it will set the tone for the rest of the conference, opening my eyes and ears to the moments of playfulness, magic and, dare I say, enchantment in geography.
Yep, our first ****CLASH**** ‘Hope in a securitised world: geographies and histories of occupation’ also looks good, so does ‘Wanted, dead or Alive: Critical Geographies of Human-Animal Encounters (1): Dead? [and] (2) Alive?” The paper in this second session that caught my eye was by Bill Adams: ASBO Elephants: tags, tolerance and the language of delinquency. Who doesn’t love the sound of that paper?
- Session 3: I’ll then move on to a slightly more formal session: Chair’s plenary lecture, sponsored by Transactions of the IBG: ‘Security and Insecurity at Home: A Spatial Financial Paradox’ I usually enjoy the plenary sessions – with ideas from geographical theory applied to real world issues on a very grand scale. Plenary sessions are also an opportunity to hear really great orators. Standing up in front of 500 people is very different from the 40 or so in a stuffy seminar room. Plus, the rooms used for plenary sessions are often air-conditioned and a welcome place to retreat to after lunch.
- Sessions 4 and 5: This afternoon is going to involve some tough choices. Sadly, I can’t be in two places at once. So my recommendations are – if you’re interested in the environment and people’s relationships to it, with a bit of wellbeing and ecosystem services thrown in – I’d go to ‘The role of natural environments in health and wellbeing’ (1 and 2). However, if you’re interested in more-than-human geographies, then these two sessions are probably for you. ‘More-than-human geographies: from coexistence to conflict and killing’ (1 and 2). I heard one of the convenor’s Franklin Ginn (Edinburgh) speak at last year’s conference – his paper on slugs was tremendous, particularly the story of the lady flushing the blighters down the toilet. So, I think these two sessions will deliver the same amount of gallows humour. I mean, we’ve all swotted a fly or trapped a wasp or spider under a glass, haven’t we.