A Reflection on RGS-IBG PGF Mid-Term Conference

First Day

2014 RGS-IBG PGF Mid-Term Conference is held in Loughborough University on 14-15 April. This is my first time in Loughborough which is a lovely little town.  Loughborough is similar to Egham. Both of them university town, which have big university area and small commercial town centre.

This two-day conference has around 80 presenters.

A family photo of all the presenters

A family photo of all the presenters

We started with  Hilary’s warm up session,  in which she encourage us to keep a PhD diary (identify your motivation of doing a PhD regularly) and attend more conference to communicate with people alike, and not alike.   She mentioned a project ‘stories from the store’ in science museum interested me.

Then is the presentations. There are massive sessions to choose from, and I am amazed again by the diversity of the topics in Geography.  Some of them are focus on developing countries and some developed; some on old people and some on mobility of drunk teenagers (LOL); some on transportation and some on writing.

Hannah, Miriam, Ella, Mel, Mike and Katie had their projects presented.

Hannah presenting

Hannah presenting

 

We noticed an interesting point that in one session, two PhD students from Loughborough uni talked about ‘Studentification’, and then Mike pointed out that the person who came up with the word ‘studentification’ is actually teaching here (Professor Darren Smith). The two presenters might be his students, and his idea is proven right by chatting to new friends in Loughborough. XD

Meeting new friends in the garden

Meeting new friends in the garden

We had our conference dinner in the Ramada Hotel, which perfectly ends the first day of the conference,

dinner

dinner

 

 

Second Day

The presentation I enjoyed most is Professor John Anderson’s  ‘China and Global Change’ (on the second day).  I feel excited to look at China from a different angel. Professor John Anderson pointed out lots of problem in China, while showing his affection for the country.

All the problems he pointed out are realistic, I admit it. The central government thought we can take the same way as the western took in the 20 century, but now it realizes that the damage to environment will be too huge to fix if we have the same way of developing (economy first, and then we will fix the environment). So it is taking action now. I was in Chine during Feb 2014, and in this month, several (7 or something like that) iron and steel plants and some cement hills in suburban Beijing had been torn down, to control the producing of steel in order to control the building of new houses, and to control the usage of coal in order to pollute the environment less.

Pro John Anderson on China and Global Change

Pro John Anderson on China and Global Change

 

Although some action have been taken, I still think the problem is serious and I like the ending of Professor John Anderson’s presentation: if the Chinese continuing taking the same way as the western did, and if the West of China has the same developed level as the East of China, ‘WE ARE F**KED!’  I like how he deals with the conclusion and makes it sound more serious. The more serious the problem sounds, the worse the situation we are in, the central government will pay more attention to the environment. It was a very great presentation! And I am touched about Professor John Anderson’s feeling of China. He must love it and hate it!

I realised my shortness of  reading and dealing with geography journals, so I joined the publishing workshop, which was very helpful.

I have heard some ideas of my souvenir geographies project and found 4 participants who are will to join the research.

To sum up, there are a lot to take in from the conference and we have enjoyed it.

rhul table

rhul table

We even started writing for the Landscape Surgery blog on the train back to London. XD

writing for landscape surgery on the train back to London

writing for landscape surgery on the train back to London

 

souvenirs from the conference

souvenirs from the conference

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Aside

Postcard as a METHOD

So! After days of preparation, postcards for pilot field work are ready now.   I have prepared two kinds of postcards: one is normal pictorial postcards as we see in any souvenir shop, and the other is customized. There are 20 postcards for each kind (well, the customized one has 24 of its kind, because of the print shop owner’s kindness XD ).

 

Pictorial postcard

Pictorial postcard

 

This is a two sides pictorial postcard. The pictorial side is kept as it is; while I put a questionnaire and my post address.   There are several questions about the authenticity of souvenirs, and the questionnaire is tailored for tourists, who have limited time on the spot and I hope they can finish the questionnaire when they have time (e.g. in the bus or in their hotel rooms), and then they can send it back to me any time they feel like.

 

The second set of my postcards are customized.

 

Customised postcards: text only

Customised postcards: text only

 

In the second kind of postcard, there is no picture and I moved the post address to the front, making it possible to have space for another question on the back.  Comparing to the pictorial ones, the text only postcards are simpler and plainer. Maybe its simplicity and plaining will make the tourist want to keep them less, so I will have a better returning rate.

 

two different sets

two different sets

 

 

We will see how it works out in the field!  🙂