Engaging geography

i. how did that happen?

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the creation of time and space for public geographies

This introductory event was held over a 24-hour period, with the aim of identifying common themes and issues about ‘new public geography’ through panel discussion and open floor debate, presentations and interventions of varying types focused on exploring ‘how did that happen?’

Over 50 people participated, from a range of backgrounds – academics, researchers, students, practitioners, and even some members of ‘the public’! The aim was to facilitate the inclusion of as wide a constituency of ‘geographers’ as possible, by creating time and space for discussion around stories of engagements, the initiation of enduring relationships and research, issues of communication/translation, engaging geographical work beyond academic publication, successes and failures, and perceptions of those on ‘the receiving end’ of geographical engagements, with a particular focus on exploring how publics value the time and expertise of geographers.

It was agreed that as much of the debate, activity, presentation and atmosphere of the seminar be ‘captured’ and made publicly accessible via this website (and others). Below is an outline of the event, and we’re in the process of adding links to video clips, pictures, write-up of small group discussion, etc. to offer some flavour of what occurred and key points raised.

We encourage people to add comments, raise questions and generally engage with what is here … see also link to Muki Haklay’s blog on the home page of this site.

The seminar ran as follows:

Friday 23 Jan

  • From 12 noon: Arrivals, lunch, informal conversations …

‘How did that happen?’: panel discussants and open floor debate

‘Conversations I’: small group debate and feedback, drawing on people’s wider experiences and thoughts on public geography*

*Participants were encouraged to do some ‘homework’ for the seminar, asking students, colleagues, research contacts, family and/or friends relevant questions around ‘what is public geography?’

Evening meal … in honour of Dr. Duncan Fuller, the driving force behind this seminar series before his unexpected death in 2008

Saturday 24 Jan

Film screening: collaborations between geographers/academics and ‘publics’

‘Public geographies in action’: presentations of (local) case studies with Q&A

  • Neil Denton (Newcastle City Council): ‘Perceptions of safety at the neighbourhood level’ (view talk opens in new window)
  • New Line Graffiti Promotions – who produced a tribute to Duncan at the event (actual dimension 8m x 1.5m)


‘Conversations II’: round up of emerging themes, ‘where do we take this’, discussion around dissemination and outputs etc

Public-orientated intervention in Newcastle city centre around the issue of ID cards… for more details see http://guerrillageography.blogspot.com/

and for a short film of this intervention go to: http://current.com/items/89798875/guerrilla_geography_group_id_card_intervention.htm

Sunday 25th Jan

Remaining seminar stalwarts team up with Urban Earth, and walked across Newcastle, taking photos as we went to make a short film – see http://urbanearth.ning.com/ for information and to join the project; see http://blip.tv/file/2020565 for the resulting film (just under 4 mins long)!!

All participants were encouraged to bring posters/leaflets/info about specific projects/research they felt relevant to debate: space was made available for this and many people both brought materials along, resulting in plenty of informal conversations around ‘how did that happen?’!!

Excerpts from the photographic exhibition that resulted from the ‘Rescue Geographies’ project, recently installed at MADE gallery in Birmingham, were mounted on one wall (see here), and some of the photos from ‘the room project’ shown on another (see www.townmoor.net ).

Date: January 23rd, 24th, 25th 2009
Convenor: Kye Askins (Northumbria University)
Location: Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne
Potential speakers: open to all ‘publics’: academic, postgraduate, practitioner, policy and beyond …


Written by kyeaskins

September 2, 2008 at 9:33 pm

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