Engaging geography

ii. geographies & policy

leave a comment »

“Engaging geography” explored and responded to two key challenges facing the discipline of geography in 2009 and beyond: the ‘state’ of the discipline, its disciplinary identity and public face, lack of interaction between academic, school, and other geographers, and the perceived inability to engage with and influence the world and public(s) ‘out there’ (see Castree et al, 2007); and the increasing calls for academics to play more prominent public roles outside their ivory tower offices, at a time of developing growth in ‘public’ variants of many social science disciplines (see Attwood, 2007).

Geographies and policy

  • Do policy makers take any notice of geographers’ expertise on what are quite explicitly geographical issues (such as inequality, climate change and development)?
  • Are geographers willingly obtuse and prone to using inaccessible, irrelevant language?
  • Do geographers focus on abstract issues of concern to the academy, but of little relevance to dealing with real world issues?

This event brought together academics interested in working in policy-relevant but critical ways in a discussion with members of research consultancies, ‘think tanks’ and government researchers to discuss how geographers might maintain their independence and ability to make fundamental critiques, while ensuring that their research has more of an impact on real life issues.

Date: 19 November 2009 10.00am – 5pm.
Conveners: Peter North (University of Liverpool) & David Featherstone (University of Glasgow)
Location: The Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK – walking distance from Lime Street.

Speakers / talks:

  • “Geography and policy: seminar introduction.” Dr Peter North, University of Liverpool, & Dr David Featherstone, University of Glasgow [download slides here].
  • “Can we draw a road-map out of obscurity and irrelevance or would the world be better off without ‘Geographers’?” Professor Danny Dorling, University of Sheffield.
  • “Geographical knowledge informing international trade union strategy”. Dr Jeremy Anderson and Dr Paula Hamilton, International Transport Federation
  • “Food fights and quarrelsome science wars: engaging policy makers in critical geographies of obesity”. Dr Bethan Evans, Manchester Metropolitan University [download slides here].
  • “Labour rights in a fragile state: working in Sierra Leone.” Dr John Stirling, University of Northumbria [download slides here].
  • “Making research count: commissioned research.” Dr Bev Bishop, Social Science Unit, Analytical Services Division, The Health and Safety Executive [download slides here]


This website aims to facilitate as wide and open exchange of ideas and information as possible relating to the seminar series. Information gathered from the participants in seminar one has been posted here.


Written by Ian Cook et al

September 2, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: