The Ninth Quadrennial Conference of British, Canadian and American Rural Geographers

Conference Overview

Hosted by Peter Nelson (Middlebury College) and Cheryl Morse (University of Vermont), the Conference theme is Working Landscapes and Liveable Communities, offering a platform to unpick the complexities of current and future global challenges facing rural geographies in the 21st Century. Held in the USA, the  Conference sub themes are: 1) Socio-Environmental Systems; 2) Rural Methods and Ways of Knowing 3) Rural Politics and Processes in the New Global (Dis)Order; 4) Migration, (Im)mobility, and Changing Rural Populations; 5) Relational Ruralities; and 6 ) Collaborative Planning and Community Development.  This is a very intense and small conference which seeks to bring together some of the best academics in the world to debate and discuss the ‘Big Challenges’ to rural localities at this time.

Conference relevance to RGRG and creation of new ideas

Rural Geographers are facing huge opportunities and challenges in grappling with global issues.  This smaller conference approach, unlike larger settings, offers the space and time to collectively and  critically evaluate the serious issue in a face-to-face environment with researchers from across the globe.  Multi-disciplinary sessions at the RGS -IBG (2018), such as Innovation Cafes, have offered a much more insightful and invigorating experience in decoupling some of the larger societal issues we currently face.  This is a conference which allows many more of these in-depth sessions over a week for greater reflection and revisiting of issues, offering a much deeper evaluation process.  It is the intention of RGRG that knowledge exchange from this Conference can be utilised to shape future RGS sessions (topics and session style) ensuring a much more circular approach between conferences; for example, greater linkages between conference outcomes and ‘the next stage’ in addition to inclusivity and mentoring of PGRS/ECRs.  The Conference builds on RGS Conference themes (2018) ‘Changing Landscapes’ and offers a very specific platform for rural geographers to challenge current thinking and theoretical approaches and recontextualise topics such as migration, changing rural populations and relationships, and appropriate planning of these spaces for future communities.

Developing Ambassadors and Future Researchers

We are committed to including PGRs/ECRs in all our activities but understand funding at these early career stages can be inhibitive to ‘joining in’ with the very activities that build the academic voice and essential networks.  It is our intention to fully include PGRs/ECRs at a high level, where their skills and development allow, and can be enhanced.  By doing so, we believe we create an inclusive environment whereby ambassadors are developed and RGS (and geographers) gain greater momentum on the world stage.  We anticipate sharing information in newsletters with RGRG members and across universities (with an undergraduate and post graduate focus).

Conditions for funding

The Ninth Quadrennial Conference of British, Canadian and American Rural Geographers offers significant collaboration opportunities, in addition to the RGS, for PGR/ECRs to develop their critical voice.  By sponsoring one PGRs/ECRs ambassador for this Conference and linking with an experienced academic (self-funded), it is our intention to bring younger ideas and insights to the table.  We are looking for very specific research areas and skill development opportunities for these candidates, as outlined:

The successful candidates should be able to evidence:

  • Clear examples of skills in exemplar communication (verbal and written) i.e. conference proceedings / references from supervisors
  • That they will be presenting (or equivalent)
  • An ability to raise additional match funding from their University and/or Trusts and show a financial need for support
  • Experience in a significant global research area
  • Experience in cross and inter disciplinary research
  • An ambition to create impact in a globally relevant subject (i.e. migration, sustainable development, changing communities in the rural).
  • That they understand and be can convey research impact and how they will act as ambassadors for the RGRG

We will follow up with the RGS feedback in the form of written reports and twitter on the RGS twitter account of how the funding has enhanced learning and skills development. 

Expressions of interest will be circulated via the RGRG members list and, if ported over timeously, our new website which will now be on the RGS platform. The RGRG Committee will initiate a timetable for reviewing the expressions of interest and allocate the travel funds to those applicants deemed to most closely fit the criteria.