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International Benchmarking Review of Human Geography, Launch Event 

On the 4th March at 5.15 pm, the official report of the first ever International Benchmarking Review of UK Human Geography will be launched at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Commissioned by the ESRC, in partnership with the AHRC and the Society, the review was chaired by Professor David Ley (University of British Columbia) and undertaken by a panel of international experts drawn from Europe, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.  They examined a wide range of evidence with input from more than 160 members of the Human Geography scholarly community, university senior managers and users of research to evaluate the international standing of UK Human Geography, including consideration of its use beyond the academy.

Over wine, short presentations will outline the main findings and recommendations of the review, followed by time for questions and networking.

On behalf of the Society’s President, Professor Judith Rees, I have pleasure in inviting you to the launch and to the lecture that follows at 6.30pm by Professor Paul Boyle, CEO of the ESRC. He will be giving a lecture entitled:  ‘Measured, recorded and then what?’ in which he considers the uses that can be made of routinely collected data to give new research insights in the UKs changing society.

We do hope you will join us in celebrating the discipline and the contribution that it makes to the wider world.

I would be grateful if you could please reply to Rachel Langley in the Director’s Office (


Annual International Conference 2013 in August 2013

  • Location: Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Imperial College London
  • Dates: Wednesday 28 to Friday 30 August 2013 (with an opening event on Tuesday 27 August 2013)
  • Theme: New geographical frontiers
  • Conference chair: Jonathan Rigg (Durham University)

Conference theme

The Chair of Conference, Professor Jonathan Rigg (University of Durham), has introduced the theme of the conference and the overlapping areas of debate for delegates.

New geographical frontiers

The conference theme in 2013 is ‘New geographical frontiers’. This is one of those labels that is fairly open and can, therefore, be interpreted in a variety of ways. The frontier can be employed as a concept, a metaphor or as a point of empirical focus – and while it is a classic geographical preoccupation that has rightly been problematised, it should still command our attention. There is a set of underpinning questions which can be seen to come, loosely, under the rubric of ‘new geographical frontiers’: Where are the frontiers in geographical theory and methods and what contributions and innovations is geography making to wider debates and practices? Have we fully come to terms with the continuing call to think and research in inter-disciplinary ways, and can geography play a leading role in that initiative? What is geography’s impact and how can we further promote the role and place of geography in society and economy? Where are we, collectively, making a contribution but, equally importantly, where should we be making a contribution?

These questions relate to three, over-lapping areas of debate. First of all, to how we theorise (think) and practice (do) our geography. Occasionally gradual, incremental change can hide from view quite fundamental transformations in methodological approach or conceptual framing. The second area of debate concerns geography’s contribution to addressing the challenges that humanity faces, from climate change to international development. And third, these questions highlight the possibility, perhaps the need, to go beyond disciplinary boundaries and geographical frontiers to research new topics in innovative ways.






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