NEWS | Emerging Voices in Political Geography: Reclaiming success.

Call for abstracts/expressions of interest from Hannah Dickinson, Postgraduate Representative of POLGRG

As part of her role as Postgraduate Representative of the Political Geography Research Group (POLGRG) of the RGS, Hannah Dickinson is co-organising a panel for this year’s conference, focused on ‘Emerging voices in Political Geography’. The conference will take place at the Royal Geographical Society in London from Wednesday 28 to Friday 30 August 2019, with workshops and opening events on Tuesday 27 August 2019.


Last year, the emerging voices session was centred around opening-up a discussion about the different kinds of challenges we experience in academia. Whether it is applying for ethical approval, coming across complications in the field, or writer’s block, acknowledging that we are not alone in experiencing such difficulties and discussing them openly is an important step in building a stronger and kinder research community. It is imperative that we address these issues, but we also need to look beyond such challenges and think about how we can (re)learn to collectively recognise and celebrate our successes.

This year, with geographies of hope/geographies of despair as RGS annual theme, we choose to focus on the former and invite speakers to reflect on the ways in which we can reclaim success. Too often, we recognise only the monumental success, the grants and publications, without paying homage to the many ‘little’ successes that lead up to them. Crossing a crucial chapter off your to-do list, finally getting around to reading a paper, or simply starting work at the time you said you would, can feel like a success on some days. This session is about challenging the dominant neoliberal discourses around success where we are made to feel in competition with our peers in an ever-shrinking job market and, as a result, success becomes defined in very narrow terms. The aim of this session is to think about how we can reclaim success, not to list off our CVs, but to build a defiant, positive, and hopeful academic community. How can we challenge the neoliberal academy’s definition of success? How can we build a postgraduate community which is about celebrating and supporting successes?

The format of the session will consist of a series of brief presentations by postgraduate students and early-career researchers based on how we can think about, experience and celebrate success. This will be followed by breakout discussions around the themes that emerged from the presentations and will finish with some reflections from an experienced political geographer on how we can reclaim success no matter how big or small.


This sessions will take the form of multiple paper presentations of 10 minutes, followed by wider breakout discussions in a proposed ‘world cafe’ format.

Please send abstracts/expressions of interest of max 300 words, to Laura Shipp (, Hannah Dickinson ( and Viktoria Noka ( by Monday 11th February 2019.