News

January 2021

As things continue as they are, it is a difficult time to contemplate attending conferences due to travel restrictions and the extra burdens on daily life. Yet online events, for all of the fatigue, can also be a point of connection and inspiration in these uncertain times. This was certainly the case during a pre-Christmas PhD conference (see below) which I attended in December, hosted by Cameron Byron (University of Liverpool). Appreciating the complexity of the current situation, but looking to consider an important climate issue with the launching Decade of Ocean Science, here is a Call for Papers for the RGS-IBG Conference, 2021. The session will be online. If you are interested, please do get in touch:

Ocean Governance Beyond (and Against) Borders

Kimberley Peters and Jennifer Turner

Percentage based targets for the protection, conservation and restoration of seas and oceans, within and beyond areas of national jurisdiction, have been central to global governance efforts to manage ocean health, marine biodiversity and to balance competing economic uses and environmental pressures. Such percentage targets are spatial tools, counted and measured based on the bordering and demarcation of space. Deploying/employing area(l)-based, spatial demarcations are built from solid foundations and borrow from landed forms of enacting management and governance, where bordering mechanisms are often (but not always) easier to enact. In many cases they can work. But are such approaches always the best ones for managing a mobile, fluid, three-dimensional realm such as the sea, where targets for management (from fish to ships) move? Scholars are now querying the fixed nature of marine management techniques (see Action et al. 2019; Duck 2012; Fairbanks et al. 2018; Jay 2018; Kidd and Ellis 2012; Maxwell 2015 and Peters 2020). With new calls, consolidated through the Decade of Ocean Science, to bound and border 30% of the seas and oceans within zones of protection, this session seeks to interrogate the critical question of how percentage-based targets and border-based management approaches work; whether such approaches work, and examine if alternative ways of managing the marine environment are possible, desirable and effective. Are our seas ‘locked into’ accepted modes of management, creating ever more enclosed, or even ‘carceral’ seas? Is there a need for a vision of ocean governance beyond typical, static, fixed, bordering attempts, or one that even works against them to promoting more flexible dynamic governance? The latter might require a critical shift in thinking about what is possible in management – an ability, quite literally, to think outside of the box. This session seeks to examine the advantages and disadvantages of Area Based Management Tools (from MPAs, to tools of spatial demarcation such as MSP) to explore the potential of ocean governance beyond (and against) borders.

This session invites paper which explore the central session topic described above. Themes to do so might include:

  • The politics of environmental/ocean management targets;
  • The benefits of area-based management tools and their effectiveness;
  • Studies of dynamic or mobile ocean governance;
  • Technological challenges and possibilities of governing without borders;
  • Potentials and problems of ‘fuzzy’ or ‘blurry’ governance boundaries;
  • Issues of monitoring and recording without area-based conservation tools;
  • Theoretical insights into doing governance ‘beyond’ or ‘against’ boundaries.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to me, here: (Kimberley.peters@hifmb.de) by the 26th February 2021.

The RGS-IBG conference information is here: https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/

The conference will take place from Tuesday 31 August to Friday 3 September 2021

Wave, Water, Surf, Ocean, Sea, Spray, Wind, Splash

October 2020

With the cancellation of many conferences with the global pandemic, I am so pleased to share this expression of interest for a web conference proposed by University of Liverpool, Geography PhD student Cameron Byron (@ccameronbyron): PhD perspectives: Postgraduate work on the historical and political geography nexus

 The call asks for postgraduate expressions of interest to participate in a web conference that aims to bring early-career PhD researchers into touch, whose research is positioned between historical and political geographies.

This web event seeks to bring together postgraduates working on political concepts of state, territory, governance, volume, (im)materiality (and beyond), through historical geographies and (lively) archival methodologies.

Although historical work is often political (as well as attending to social, cultural, economic, environmental processes), explicit attention to the nexus between historical and political geographies remains relatively underexplored although it is implicit in many works (although see key scholarship linking the feminist political geographies and historical work by Morin and Berg for example, 1999 or Ogborn’s longstanding work, including on the shape of historical geographies and their political resonances 1997).

Whilst there have been germinal papers on the linkages between other subdisciplines of geography (the social and cultural, as just one example) the historical and political is often more of a given through empirically defined work. As such, although the connection between political geography and historical geography is not new, this event seeks to create space for postgraduates who are engaging with contemporary political theories and geopolitical concepts, ideas and methodologies in their historical research to both share their work in this area, and reflect on the place of such work in the discipline and its subfields.

Under this banner, the event will invite speakers to present their research for 5 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes for questions (to allow ample time for sharing, discussion and debate). There will also be a proposed keynote speaker to share an end of day plenary. It is proposed the event ends with an online social/drinks reception to conclude events. We aim this to be a supportive, informal, friendly and encouraging forum to link together PhD scholars across institutions, during this time.

Before planning the event, given the challenges of online working, from varied work and home commitments to internet coverage, to web meeting fatigue, we ask for expressions of interest in this event before offering a full Call for Papers.

If you would be interested in please get in touch with Cameron Byron and Kimberley Peters (kimberley.peters@liverpool.ac.uk) (c.byron@liverpool.ac.uk) by Friday 23rd October just outlining if you would, in principle, like to attend and present in such an event.

We look forward to hearing from you and send all best wishes!

August 2020

With coronavirus impacting so many parts of academic life, MA and PhD supervision has unsurprisingly taken on different shapes or forms during the pandemic. This has, in most cases, meant a shift to online meetings using various combinations of programmes and platforms to facilitate video and voice calls. Of course, some supervisor-student teams already used such methods, but for many of us this has replaced the face-to-face office (or even cafe-based) meeting, typical for supervision. This time has also brought-about many challenges for students, personal and professional, which have been well documented.

In light of these changes, myself and PhD student Cameron Byron (@ccameronbyron) set about to trial a Reading Group (we called it a group, but really it was just the two of us) as a way to keep our hand-in with research-based academic work at a time when it was difficult to do our own research (due to issues of access, time, and even energy and momentum). At first, we planned to simply meet to chat about new and interesting papers simply as a way to check-in, as and when it was convenient. But it soon became a weekly staple: a way of meeting without the pressure of always expecting PhD ‘progress’ (however that might be defined) and as a way of engaging with work in our discipline and ‘networking’ and meeting other scholars and disciplinary colleagues (via sharing our reading of papers on social media) at a time when this has been more difficult with conference, seminar and other event cancellations.

Soon our ‘Group’ expanded to include MA student Ella Bytheway-Jackson (@ellabtwjackson), who will be following on to a PhD using the same archive repository as Cameron (more news on their work to follow!) Each week we pick a paper – something that catches of one of our eyes – typically newly or recently published, connected to our work but also, sometimes, something that just looks fascinating.

As our Group reaches its 20th ‘lockdown’ week, and ahead of a summer break in our meetings, we wanted to share our ‘Greatest Hits’ and wholeheartedly thank the authors of the papers we have read for allowing us to engage with different geographical worlds – spaces, places, times, people – as well as theories and debates in their work. I realise this kind of meeting isn’t always possible for all supervisors, all students.  I certainly don’t hold our group up as a ‘model’ for pandemic supervision. Rather, this post is a way to share what we have done, and mostly, what Cameron and Ella have done. You are both inspirational! You can access the papers we have read here, where we also provide abstract details from each paper, and a link to the webpage of each article.

May 2020

gillmem

During the middle of lockdown I received an email from the RGS (with IBG). It simply said, “Dear Dr Peters, a letter from the RGS”. I assumed it was something pandemic- or membership-related. It was a letter saying I’d been awarded the Gill Memorial Prize for outstanding early career work in Geography!

More information about the award is available here (in English and German), alongside news about other recipients of 2020 medals and awards: