Post Graduate Researchers

We are an inclusive and welcoming research group who recognises the value of a multi-generational committee. We have a long history of active and valued PGR/ECR committee members and hope new members find this PGR page useful.

Postgraduate Representatives

Lingjia Zhao

I am currently a third-year Ph.D. student, funded through the Loughborough University-China Scholarship Council joint scholarship program, studying at Loughborough University. I am under the supervision of Professor Darren Smith and Dr. John Harrison.

My research aims to bridge the gap between the increasingly complex representations of rurality and the long-term vision of rural planning, with a specific focus on addressing the critical lack of attention given to authoritarian countries with robust planning systems. More specifically, my research centres on exploring the reform of the rural planning system as proposed by the Chinese Communist Party for the development of the ‘new’ countryside.

In my role as a PGR representative, I will be responsible for overseeing blog posts and making contributions to the Rural Geography Research Group (RGRG) at both the RGS mid-term and annual conferences. I also plan to organize other events aimed at advocating for fellow researchers and fostering an environment that prioritizes innovation and collaboration, all of which contribute to building a thriving research community.

You can contact Lingjia here.


Call for Short articles:

You can write about part of your research, your experience of fieldwork, reflections of doing a PhD, anything that you think will be interesting! It is a great experience to help focus and summarise your current research plans or methodology. For further information get in touch with our postgraduate representatives.

Natasha Coleman and Hannah Budge share the main themes of their latest reading group discussion on Bella Bathurst’s Fieldwork in our latest post.

Bella Bathurst’s Fieldwork (NC, 2022).

The RGRG provided two travel bursaries for this year’s CCRI Winter School. In this post, we hear from our recipients, Lamis Jamil and Daniel Jones, about their experience of the event.

Natasha Coleman and Hannah Budge share an overview of the discussion at our latest book club, for which we read Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain.

Théo Lenormand (Countryside and Community Research Institute) discusses how long-term holistic thinking can be the key to farm adaptations in the face of climate change.

Cows with calves at foot in the French region of Cantal (TL, 2018)

Natasha Coleman (Swansea University) shares her research with shooting estate communities during a pandemic.

A field sketch of a pheasant ‘drive’ described by a gamekeeper, (NC, 2021)

Niamh McHugh (University of Leicester and Loughborough University) on The Digital Marketing of Rural Real Estate – Even More Important Post-Covid?

Dent’s Terrace, Winchcombe (AM, 2019)

Théo Lenormand (Countryside and Community Research Institute) on Covid 19 Crisis – Short of Milk, Short of Cash

Cows near Beeston Castle, Cheshire (AM, 2019)

Hannah Budge [(Newcastle University) (but originally from our most northerly UK island, Shetland)] talks about women in farming in A PhD, a pandemic and the peripheral.

Hannah Budge, front, at lambing time (HB, 2020)

Dr Faye Shortland (University of Reading) on Living cultural heritage within the Lake District National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Towards Buttermere, Lake District National Park (AM, 2019)

Upcoming Events

Watch this space!

Recent Events

New and Emerging Rural Researchers, RGS Annual Conference 2022

Postgraduate Representatives 2021-2022, Hannah Budge (L) and Natasha Coleman.

The annual New and Emerging Rural Researchers sessions were delivered in hybrid form at this year’s RGS Annual Conference in Newcastle. Our outgoing PGR Reps, Hannah and Natasha, chaired two fantastic sessions in which postgraduate geographers delivered presentations on their current work.

Book Club – Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain

For more on our reading group’s discussion of Nan Shepherd’s work, please see our latest blog post.

Watch this space for more details of our next book club. As ever you do not have to have read/listen to the entire book, just be up for some friendly discussion or listening in!

CCRI Winter School 2022

Advert for the CCRI Winter School  3rd and 4th March 2022 at Park Campus, University of Gloucestershire.
Advert for CCRI Winter School 2022

Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th March, 2022.
CCRI, Park Campus, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham.

An overview of this annually held event can be found in the video below.

Postgraduate Book Club

Our Book Club returned on Friday 5th November at 11.00am. We discussed Robin Wall Kimmerer‘s Braiding Sweetgrass.

The Book Club is a great way of being involved in relevant discussions surrounding current rural affairs and importantly meeting colleagues with much in common, at a time where it is still difficult to forge such connections in person. If you would like more information about the next event (January 2022), please contact Natasha.

New and Emerging Rural Researchers: Rural Research in the 2020s

Royal Geographical Annual Conference, Thursday 2nd September 2021.
10 Postgraduate Rural Researchers presented across two conference sessions. The first focused mainly on agricultural topics, whilst the second looked at rural planning and governance.

Our postgraduate sessions feature every year at the Annual Conference. If you’re interested in sharing your work, please get in touch with our Postgraduate Representatives and keep up to date with our call for papers, which is usually released around the end of January each year.

CCRI Winter School 2021

Delivered over Zoom, 20th – 22nd January. The annual Winter School offered postgraduates the opportunity to present their work and hear from several experienced rural researchers and supervisors. Though online, Pippa Simmonds writes in our Summer 2021 Newsletter, it continued its tradition of being a supportive and encouraging space in which to share ideas and receive feedback.

Advert for the CCRI Winter School 2021

Postgraduate Symposium 2020

Online, August 2020. Though the RGS Annual Conference had been cancelled, we wanted to offer postgraduates the opportunity to present their work during a symposium around the time the conference would usually have been held. We heard from four fantastic presenters, and as Auvikki’s quote shows, it was a great opportunity to gain feedback on current work and discuss contemporary rural issues.

“Presenting at the RGRG PhD/ECR Symposium was a great possibility to share my research and receive feedback. It was a double first for me: the first presentation since I started my PhD and the first time presenting online… thanks to the chat function and short discussion after the presentation it was a valuable experience that gave me additional input to develop my work. In this time when we mostly work from home this online symposium was a very welcome and helpful platform for interaction.”

Auvikki de Boon, University of Reading

CCRI Winter School – Rurality in the 2020s. A new decade of rural scholarship?

University of Gloucestershire, 30th January 2020. The event sought to upskill new researchers in an approachable and supportive environment in a number of ways and formats. For more information on this annual event follow the link.

The guiding themes being considered this year were:

* Socio-spatial Inequalities * Governance and Policies
* Economic and technological Challenges
* Quality of Life
* Smart Villages

* Landscape Transitions
* Rural Entrepreneurship
* Agricultural Transformations
* Rural Housing & Mobilities

See our 2019-2021 PGR Representative Aimee Morse’s feedback on the CCRI Winter School 2020.