Conferences and workshops

Weekly seminars and reading groups

Both Human and Physical Geography have exciting seminar series, where guest speakers visit to talk on their current research.

The seminars are useful for debating and networking with leaders in their field, for deepening knowledge in specific areas, and for broadening appreciation of the many areas of research that geography encompasses.

There are also reading groups on specific themes, authors and texts. These involve both staff and postgraduates and prove a great way to engage in constructive debate in a supportive, pressure-free environment.

Departmental links

All research groups benefit from having close links with other departments in the University and co-supervision of research projects across several departments is common.

Geographers regularly participate in and organise events that draw diverse audiences, such as from: Deaf Studies, Drama, Education, Law, Politics and Sociology (Human Geography); and Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Engineering (Physical Geography).

Hosting events

We have a strong track record of hosting high profile conferences in the social sciences and sciences in the School. Recent events include the following:

  • The Historical Geography Research Group (HGRG) Postgraduate Training Conference.
  • UK Antarctic Research Symposium 2014 and the International Glaciological Society Bristol Branch 2014 conference.
  • The 17th British Cave Research Association Cave Science Symposium.
  • British Hydrological Society meeting focussing on recent South West research on the use of models for environmental decision-making).

There are also opportunities for postgraduates to host their own events. Recently, final year student Charlie Rolfe organised and chaired an interdisciplinary workshop on 'Creativity: the Word, Concept and Practice'.

International discussion

Bristol Geography regularly collaborates with universities worldwide. There is the lively set of virtual seminars of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). Lectures and roundtable discussions take place using video-conferencing facilities, with an international audience and high calibre speakers.

Training and workshops

There are plenty of training events postgraduates can attend in order to learn new skills, deepen their knowledge and produce better research.

In April each year, new human geographers attend the Wessex Consortium training event at Cumberland Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, where they meet PhD students from other universities, attend lectures from invited speakers, discuss academic life and career prospects, meet socially, and present their research intentions.

Likewise, the British Geomorphological Research Group provides a similar workshop for geographers at the same location and the NERC GW4+ DTP hosts a variety of training evenets which are available to all PhD students in the School.

Glaciologists, hydrologists and those involved in Global Change initiatives alike also benefit from summer schools run across Europe that include the Geophysical and Environmental Fluid Dynamics summer school hosted by Cambridge University and the Karthaus Summer School on Ice Sheets and Glaciers in the Climate System among others.

The Bristol Doctoral College provides a diverse suite of courses geared towards transferable skills training that are available to postgraduate students.

Recent examples have included courses on career development and graphing and bibliographic software.

Case study

My research investigates the role of nature in tourism. I’m concerned with how nature affects human bodies through mundane and technologically mediated practices, and ultimately how place and self come into being.

Fieldwork has been the most rewarding part of my PhD. Aside from the knowledge that I’ve gained, it’s given me the opportunity to explore some of the more remote parts of my home country and experience, first hand, its non-human agency: climbing mountains, gazing at the northern lights, driving 4WD super-jeep vehicles on the Vatnajökull glacier, forging mercilessly cold glacial rivers, looking reindeer in the eyes...

I’m forever grateful for those experiences and to the people I met who graciously shared their knowledge and lives with me. The whole thing has been amazing.

Gunnþóra Ólafsdóttir BSc (Iceland)