Call for PGR Papers: Pre-Conference Symposium of the Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG)

The FGWG is a newly established research collective within the RGS-IBG. Our primary aim is to be an interdisciplinary network for all interested in the broad area of ‘food geographies’. PGRs are critical to this, and so the opportunity for PhD and Masters students to showcase their work and influence the future direction of the FGWG is central to our 2016 pre-conference symposium.

This one-day symposium will focus on new concepts, methodologies and areas in food geographies research in order to develop collaborations and stimulate innovative research within and beyond this newly established group. Given the ongoing global crises around both food production and consumption, it remains critical and timely to cut across the existing RGS-IBG research groups and bring together all those interested in these issues to explore new ways to think about, and engage with, such challenges.

The draft schedule for the day is:

09:30     Welcome and introduction (Dr Mags Adams, University of Salford)

09.45     Keynote panel on ‘New Directions in Food Geographies?’ (speakers tbc)

11.00     Coffee

11.30     Postgraduate PechaKucha presentations

13.00     Lunch

14.00     Workshop on ‘New Opportunities for Food Geographies’

16.00     Rapporteur(s)

 

We welcome PGR presentations adopting a ‘PechaKucha’ format (PechaKucha is of Japanese origin and involves giving 20 quick-fire slides of 20 secs each, totalling 6 min 40 sec each. Your slides should be timed to advance automatically every 20 seconds). This will enable greater participation during the symposium as well as ensuring a more informal/friendly environment for presenting students. The focus of the PechaKuchas should be on your work in the area of food geographies, from the methods used to any results thus far. Through using such a format, we hope to understand the array of early career research emerging in preparation for a co-produced statement paper to be published in The Geographical Journal. Furthermore, PGRs will play a direct role in the symposium through helping to shape the very future of the FGWG.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to Dr Mike Hardman via m.hardman@salford.ac.uk by 1st July 2016.

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Details: RGS-IBG AC2015 Postgraduate Snapshots Session – Provocations and Possibilities ‘in’ and ‘of’ the Anthropocene

Friday 4th September 2015 14:40 – 16:20.
Peter Chalk – Room 1.6, University of Exeter.
(Session Number 269 in Conference Programme).


Conveners:  SCGRG Postgraduate Reps 2014-2015.
(Katie Ledingham, University of Exeter; Suzanne Hocknell, University of Exeter; Emma Spence, Cardiff University).

Sponsors: Social and Cultural Geography Research Group & Postgraduate Forum

This session will explore the different ways in which postgraduate researchers in Social and Cultural Geography are both engaging with and attending to the manifold provocations posed by the concept of the Anthropocene. Postgraduates will present a brief ‘snapshot’ of their work (whether a photograph, a quotation, a field diary entry, an image of an object, or mini-video clip) as a focus for contributions that explore the ways in which their theoretical and/or methodological interventions are acting to work with and against the rise of the Anthropocene. We encourage participants to fully utilise their snapshots in ways which further deepen and enrich the developing trajectories, tensions, and textures associated with the mobilisation of this concept.

Chairs: Suzanne Hocknell (University of Exeter) & Emma Spence (Cardiff University)

Presenters:  Luc Tripet (Universite de Neuchatel); Yannick Rousselot (Universitie de Geneve); Amita Bhakta (Loughborough University); Anna Pigott (Swansea University); Leigh Martindale (Lancaster University); Natalia Stutter (Cardiff University); Jacob Barber (University of Edinburgh).

Discussant:  Emma Spence (Cardiff University)

ABSTRACTS:
Consistency vs Constancy: a Manifesto against Striating Ontologies in the Anthropocene
Luc Tripet (Universite de Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Yannick Rousselot (Universite de Geneve, Switzerland)
Striating ontologies overcode any socio-ecological becoming, reducing it to reified and alienating structures, hence producing a regulated, striated space. We argue that it is notably through these ontologies that the rhizomatic entanglements of human and nonhuman is deterritorialized and reterritorialized into a dual stratification: Nature as resources, society as a value-producing structure. This relative movement is based upon a totalizing principle – an absolute -, the capitalism in its process of capture of the earth. Therefore, striating ontologies raise an essential issue. One does not explain anything with constant ontologies but has to acknowledge the immanence and contingency of existence in order to grasp more than reifying abstractions. For the real is never constant, one has to encounter the becomings that give consistency to our world. In the case of the Anthropocene, a pretence of constancy such as the productivist and anthropocentrist stratification annihilates the becoming-entanglements of the human and the nonhuman. More precisely, this performed blindness to our rhizomatic relation to the earth sustains the strange ideal of constant progress and perpetual growth in a finite world, from which the environmental crisis proceeds. We conclude arguing that ontologies have to embrace consistency; be(com)ing nomad ontologies, to dispense with constancy.

Accommodating disability in sustainable living: embodied tensions of access in eco-communities
Amita Bhakta (Loughborough University, UK)
In an era in which adaptation and mitigation to anthropogenic climate change has become of increasing importance, grassroots eco-communities continue to emerge as a response to combating an array of environmental challenges we face. However, with a continually ageing population, meeting our changing and embodied needs mediated through dis/ability remains to be an issue which merits further attention, particularly in the context of sustainable living. Drawing on a snapshot of field reflections of embodied experiences from the perspective of Cerebral Palsy, this paper discusses the tensions between accessibility for dis/abled people and the practices tied into sustainable living within an eco-community context. Attempts to reduce environmental impact have, in practice, provoked both physical and social exclusion for dis/abled people. Greater attention to understanding bodily difference and the body itself in finding solutions to environmental challenges is needed, through going beyond policy and towards an increased dialogue with the less able.

Imagining Anthropocene futures: glimpses from Wales
Anna Pigott (Swansea University, UK)
This research explores how the future is being imagined, envisioned and hoped for in Wales in the context of the ‘Anthropocene’. Increasingly, imaginations of the future are seen as influential to social change because they are a vital part of how possible futures are pre-experienced and set in motion (Yusoff and Gabrys, 2011), and yet it is also suggested (e.g. Harvey, 2000) that contemporary societies have experienced a decline in the hope and utopianism that once motivated social change. Wales provides an important context for this research as its Government is pioneering a cutting-edge approach to sustainability and the well-being of future generations (One Wales: One Planet, 2009). The research draws on ethnographic engagements with a range of case studies that shed light on diverse imaginaries of the future, and explores their significance in relation to both national and global narratives about the Anthropocene.

Understanding humans in the Anthropocene: Finding answers in Geoengineering and Transition Towns
Leigh Martindale (Lancaster University, UK)
Despite ‘knowing’ about and understanding that human society is the major reason for global environmental change, the evidence to date suggests we haven’t acted in accordance to this knowledge. Indeed, ‘business-as-usual’ is arguably the predominant reaction to issues of climate change and the idea of the Anthropocene. This presentation will therefore suggest how environmental discourse can be transformed – in order to become emancipatory – during the era of the Anthropocene. Using the idea of material or ‘geological politics’ (Clark, 2013; 2014) in the context of local geoengineering strategies and Transition Towns, I hope to show that the question is not ‘what is to be done’ but rather: ‘what is being done and how can we help move this forward’ (Gibson-Graham, 2009).

An Unusual Sight in Hanoi
Natalia Stutter (Cardiff University, UK)
A group of itinerant bicycle vendors in Hanoi gather at the side of the street – resting, chatting and laughing with one another. They stand at ease with their bikes parked; they are comfortable and pay little attention to passers-by. The conical hats symbolise that these women are from the countryside. Economic reformation in Vietnam and rapid urbanisation – key contributors to the development of the Anthropocene – have had adverse effects on the amount of land available for traditional agricultural practices. As a result rural families, whose members often have little formal education or skills, are forced to find alternative forms of income. Selling food in the city is one of the few options available, however the presence of mobile vendors in Hanoi is fraught with challenges. As the city continues to develop and modernise the vendors are becoming increasingly marginalised as we move further into the Anthropocene.

Psychohistory and “the Anthropocene”
Jacob Barber (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
I want to suggest that at one end of a spectrum ‘the Anthropocene’ narrative is one of hyper modernization by numbers. A project that imagines the entirety of human behaviour in the singular Anthropos, and, like the fictional psychohistory of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation universe, casts an impersonal eye into the future to make decisions about and for all of us. This is a world of hazily imagined planetary sovereignty that I fear only exacerbates the problems that prompted Crutzen and Stoermer to coin the term Anthropocene’ in the first place. At the other end of this spectrum, however, the Anthropocene appears as doing too much, trying to explain too many things under an umbrella-term that disguises a vast heterogeneity below. If this is the case, if ‘the Anthropocene’ really is doing too much and trying to explain everything, then I question the applicability of that term to anything.

Food Matters Symposium: A RGS-IBG AC2015 Pre-Conference Event

PRIORITY NOTICE:
If you are booked as a participant in this event but have not yet confirmed any transport needs to / from West Town Farm but would like to be included please get in touch with both Suzanne & Rebecca A.S.A.P.  Please also get in touch if you would like your profile and contact details to be included in the programme but have not yet forwarded details.

Remember West Town is a working farm please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Confirmed Pick-Ups:
St David’s Station:  Jeremy Brice, Ana Moragues Faus, Matt Reed, Agatha Herman, Alice Willatt, Laura Colebroke, Emma Roe, Lou Dudley, Henry Buller, Kim Ward.

Streatham Campus:  Rebecca Jones, Mags Adams, Alexandra Sexton, Eifiona Thomas Lane, Megan Blake, Andrew Williams, Charlotte Spring.


Tuesday 1st September – West Town Farm, Exeter.

Rationale:
Although food waste is beginning to appear on academic and political agendas there has been a tendency to frame the problem around individual food practices, and much less work has been done on how food becomes framed as waste at other nodes within food systems. Through employing a mixture of panel sessions, provocations, hands on sessions and group work, this symposium will bring together academics, food producers, food retailers and food activists in order to approach the problem of systemic food waste. We hope this symposium will enable a collaborative process of agenda setting for future research into food waste, food knowledges and food practices.

Conveners: Suzanne Hocknell & Dr Rebecca Sandover.

Opening Remarks & Provocations:  Prof. Henry Buller (University of Exeter).

Panellists:
Dr. Megan Blake (University of Sheffield); Dr. Emma Roe (University of Southampton); Dr. Matt Reed (The Countryside and Community Research Institute); Andy Bragg (West Town Farm); Martyn Bragg (Shillingford Organics); and Kim Chenoweth (Devon and Cornwall Food Association).

Group Facilitators:
Dr Emma-Jayne Abbots (UWTSD); Dr Mags Adams (University of Salford); and Dr Agatha Herman (University of Reading).

Closing Remarks:  Prof. Elspeth Probyn (University of Sydney).

Abstract:
Food matters are increasingly contested as lively materials that shape issues around human health and wellbeing as well as impacting on ecosystems through their production, consumption and disposal. Food materials decay rendering food inedible. Food material can be seen as unknown, unfamiliar and undesirable for consumption. Food matters can contain anxieties over provenance, authenticity and wider material impacts on our ecosystems and our bodies. However solutions to knowing food, addressing food waste and increasing access to fresh food are contested. Examples of this include the use of waste food to address issues of food poverty, processing technologies precluding edible food from reaching the consumer, or food labelling inhibiting edible food from being consumed. Through this participatory event we seek to explore these issues by not only generating debate for academic research, but by also getting our hands on food matters, and engaging with local producers’ food stories and food knowledges. By incorporating practical hands- on sessions to produce our lunch with ‘waste’ food and hearing on-the-ground experiences of producers and activists, we seek to ground academic debate on production- consumption-waste pathways with the matter of food itself, and to co-create knowledges for ongoing research collaboration.

Dinner will be hosted by Bristol Skipchen on West Town Farm from 5.30pm.  Transport will be available from the farm to the RGS opening plenary, St David’s Station, or to the Rusty Bike pub.

More Info and Event Booking Here(Limited places available).

Organised  in collaboration with:
Love Local Food, West Town Farm, OrganicARTS, Ashclyst Farm & Dairy, Shillingford OrganicsWith support from the Nature, Materialities & Biopolitics (NaMBio) research group of the Department of Geography in the University of Exeter, the Social & Cultural Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (SCGRG RGS-IBG), the South-West Doctoral Centre of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC SWDTC), and the Catalyst Project at the University of Exeter. 

N.B. this symposium is supported by the ESRC SWDTC, and we have 3 funded places for student note-takers.  The note-takers will work with group facilitators in order to produce a detailed record of the day’s discussions that can feed in to future research design.  In addition, their delegate fee will be waived and we can offer £50 each in expenses.  If you are a PhD Researcher interested in being actively involved in the symposium in this way, then please contact Suzanne Hocknell <sh422 [at] exeter.ac.uk> and Dr Rebecca Sandover <R.J.Sandover [at] exeter.ac.uk> for more information.  

(Although it can be booked independently, this symposium is also a pre-event of the RGS-IBG annual conference.  Information about the RGS-IBG annual conference can be found here.  Linked sessions within the conference include: ‘Surfaces of Distinction:  Materiality & viscerally knowing food’ one, two & three;  ‘Thinking through Food Justice & Sovereignty’; ‘Geographical Perspectives on Food in the Anthropocene’ one, two & three; & ‘Exploring the Role of Transformative Research in Struggles for Food Sovereignty‘).

……………………………..

Suzanne Hocknell is a third year ESRC funded PhD Candidate at the University of Exeter supervised by Dr Ian Cook and Professor Steve Hinchliffe.  Her research focuses on knowledges and practices of food.  More specifically her PhD work investigates how margarine is done in industry, and in the home; as well as engaging craft methodologies to create space for exploring other ways of knowing and practicing margarine.

Dr Rebecca Sandover is an Associate Research Fellow working on The Contagion project at The University of Exeter, led by Prof. S Hinchliffe. Her PhD research investigated how material and visceral relationships when growing and cooking food shapes food knowledge and consumption habits. This research was conducted at two allotment sites in South Somerset.

Workshop Synopsis: Methods (as enactments of relations)

PGF RGS-IBG Mid-Term Conference 2015, University of Sheffield
(https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/geography/phd/conference)
Facilitated by Suzanne Hocknell,
(SCGRG Postgraduate Representative).

The workshop was an interactive pedagogical session aiming to explore how different methodological approaches not only describe but are performative, participating ‘in the enactment of…realities’ (Law 2004: 45). It is important that researchers reflect on methodologies as ‘enactments of relations – that make some things (representations, objects, apprehensions) present ‘in-here’, whilst making others absent ‘out-there’’ (Law 2004: 14).

Each participant selected a broad area of sub-disciplinary research interest. This enabled us to settle into four groups – urban geographies, food communities, mobilities, and development geographies – each with between two and six members.   Individually we spent ten minutes drawing what we considered to be the key challenge in our research area, before summarising this drawing in a tweet. Each sub-disciplinary group then took a further ten minutes to explain their drawings to each other, and discuss the common themes that were emerging.  In the latter twenty-five minutes of the workshop, we continued to work within our groups in order to co-design a research project around the themes we had identified.

Within our groups, we shared our knowledges and experiences of doing research so as to think about the advantages and limitations of a range of methodological approaches to the imagined research project, who and what different methods include and exclude from consideration, and how different approaches enact different relations.

In summary, in addition to the pedagogical exercise of exploring the limitations of different methods and approaches to research, this workshop encouraged participants to communicate their research in a concise and meaningful way. Further, sharing our knowledges and experiences of doing research ‘to create something new and find commonalities across boundaries’ (workshop feedback), facilitated networking with other PhD researchers working within our respective sub-disciplines.

References: Law, J. 2004. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. Routledge: Abingdon.

(The interactive format for this workshop was inspired by the facilitator’s participation in a session run by Agatha Herman at the Food Justice Conference, University of Reading 2014).

Suzanne Hocknell is a third year ESRC funded PhD Candidate at the University of Exeter supervised by Dr Ian Cook and Professor Steve Hinchliffe.  Her research focuses on knowledges and practices of food.  More specifically her PhD work investigates how margarine is done in industry, and in the home; as well as engaging craft methodologies to create space for exploring other ways of knowing and practicing margarine.  Suzanne is currently a postgraduate representative for the Social & Cultural Geography Research Group (SCGRG) of the RGS-IBG. https://eprofile.exeter.ac.uk/suzannehocknell/

Call for Abstracts: Postgraduate Snapshots RGS-IBG AC 2015 1-4 September

Provocations and Possibilities ‘in’ and ‘of’ the Anthropocene: Postgraduate Snapshots

Session convenors: Katie Ledingham, Suzanne Hocknell, & Emma Spence.
Sponsored by the Postgraduate Forum
& the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group.

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Exeter 1-4 September 2015

The aim of this session is to explore the different ways in which postgraduate researchers in Social and Cultural Geography are both engaging with and attending to the manifold provocations posed by the concept of the Anthropocene. We are encouraging postgraduates to present a brief ‘snapshot’ of their work (whether a photograph, a quotation, a field diary entry, an image of an object, or mini-video clip) as a focus for 5-10 minute contributions that explore the ways in which their theoretical and/or methodological interventions are acting to work with and against the rise of the Anthropocene. It is envisaged that the snapshot will be the main artefact around which each contribution is orientated. We encourage participants to fully utilise their snapshots in ways which further deepen and enrich the developing trajectories, tensions, and textures associated with the mobilisation of this concept.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 13th February 2015.

Please include:
•A title for your ‘Snapshot’
•An abstract (max 150 words)
•A short description of how your presentation will use your snapshot (max 100 words)
•Your name, affiliation and contact details (email address)
•Year of research (Masters, MPhil/PhD – 1, 2, 3, 3+)

For more information or to submit prospective contributions please email:
Katie <kal210@exeter.ac.uk>, Suzanne <sh422@exeter.ac.uk> and Emma <SpenceEE@cardiff.ac.uk>