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School of Geography


Latest School of Geography newsletter now online

Date added: Thursday, October 6, 2016

QMUL celebrates 15 years of Living Wage

Date added: Monday, October 31, 2016

Grant successes in the School of Geography

Date added: Friday, March 18, 2016

Welcoming our new cohort of students

Date added: Thursday, September 29, 2016

Congratulations to the class of 2016

Date added: Thursday, July 28, 2016

Geography student wins volunteer award

Date added: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Expeditions over the summer

Date added: Monday, September 19, 2016

QMUL mourns the passing of Professor Doreen Massey

Date added: Thursday, March 17, 2016

Welcome Week

Date added: Friday, September 16, 2016

Boston during the day © Adam Packer

The best way to get to know a city is to dive right into it, exploring different neighbourhoods and engaging with the people and places that make it unique. In April, 40 Geography undergraduates spent six days doing just that in Boston — one of America’s most historic cities. The trip was the second run of the module Boston Reworked: The Making of a North American City, and it was undoubtedly memorable experience for everyone involved.  

The learning started in London with ten weeks of seminars and lectures. Students examined how Boston was built and transformed over three dramatic centuries of political and industrial revolutions, mass immigration, economic decline and reinvention. Looking archival material, historic maps, films and academic literature laid a solid foundation of understanding, but the immersive experience of being in Boston brought it all to life.

Based in Chinatown for the week, students covered the city in an ambitious way. The first few days involved heritage walks, museum visits, boat rides, a tour of Harvard University, a photography competition and independent explorations of different urban neighbourhoods. Students then got involved in academic research, joining up with a staff member to address intellectual questions aligned with their own expertise.

Professor Alastair Owens’ group investigated Boston’s African American heritage and considered the politics of memory. A key highlight was a visit to a live excavation at the childhood home of Malcolm X. Those working with Dr Regan Koch experimented with ethnographic methods at the vibrant Quincy Marketplace, exploring how creative forms of social observation and descriptive writing can help to refine and extend urban scholarship. Doctoral researcher Kristin Hussey led students on an investigation into Boston’s history of medicine, examining how developments in health knowledge established the city as a key site of scientific innovation.

It was perhaps Dr Kerry Holden’s group that had the most memorable experience. As part of a look into Boston’s knowledge economy, the group was fortunate to have an extended conversation with one of America’s most important public intellectuals: Noam Chomsky. Visiting his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), students were able to talk with Professor Chomsky about issues ranging from the political economy of scientific innovation, the changing nature of academic research, and the pressing global issues of our time including climate change and the risk of nuclear disaster.

Adam’s signed copy of Professor Noam Chomsky’s book. © Adam Packer

“One of the most exciting opportunities of visiting Boston was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and interview Professor Noam Chomsky. Producing over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics and democracy, Chomsky is a famous name on the bookshelves of academics and being given 40 minutes to discuss with him the political economy of science was insightful and enriching” – final year geographer and GeogSoc president Adam Packer reflected on the trip.

He added that “fieldwork enriches the whole university experience at Queen Mary especially as the Boston course is available as a second and third year module connecting geographers together from both years, as well as working outside of the computer room or lecture theatre. Without the efforts of our lecturers organising such a diverse range of exciting activities, we would never have been able to experience what we did on the field course and that’s the unique quality of the field courses at QMUL”.

The last day of the trip was a brilliant culmination of the weeks’ activities. Students assembled original podcasts of their research topics and shared them as a group. There was an Italian feast, and then a funk performance at one of the South End’s historic jazz venues, Wally's. It was an intellectually engaging, fun-filled week: geographical learning at its best.

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The Olympic Legacy: how has east London changed?

Date added: Tuesday, June 7, 2016

QMUL People - Edward Oliver

Date added: Monday, October 24, 2016

Postgraduate students at City Water debate

Date added: Thursday, March 3, 2016

Distinguished Book Award goes to our senior lecturer

Date added: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Succeed at university

Date added: Thursday, September 8, 2016

Study abroad with QMUL

Date added: Monday, October 3, 2016

Looking after our freshers - Springboards

Date added: Thursday, August 4, 2016

Drop, cover, hold on ... advice in the event of an earthquake!

Date added: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New publications by QMUL Geographers

Date added: Thursday, April 14, 2016

Team Alps 2016: we went back again

Date added: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Durham Castle © Lucie Glasheen

The Durham field trip is the culmination of the ‘Reinventing Britain’ module which undergraduates on the Geography BA and Human Geography BA courses can take at the end of semester 2. The module explores range of topics including the uneven geographies of deindustrialisation and crisis; Britain's new service economy; gender shifts in employment and unemployment; migrant labour; place-based competition and new forms of urban regeneration.

Lucie Glasheen (London Studies MA graduate, currently PhD student in the School of Geography), joined first years on their fieldtrip to Durham and shared the week’s activities with us:

“We arrived in Durham on Tuesday and after unpacking our bags at Collingwood College we headed into the centre. Students broke up into small groups to ask Durham residents a short questionnaire, and get their views on the ‘North/South divide’, as well as explore. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon which made the survey work much easier! Durham is a small hilly city surrounded by a river and was very pretty, particularly near the cathedral and castle. Some students were a bit disappointed to see so many chain high street shops but there were also some nice independent cafes. We got back just in time for dinner. In the evening we had a very interesting lecture by Dr Robert Shaw from Newcastle University about the different overlapping approaches to regeneration that the North East Region has employed. Dr Shaw outlined the impact of shopping- and entertainment-led regeneration, culture-led regeneration and the ‘creative city,’ expanding on his own fascinating research into the night time economy. He left us with lots of questions to take with us for the next few days.”

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art © Lucie Glasheen

“Breakfast was at eight, then we piled onto coaches and headed into Newcastle on another lovely sunny day. We broke up into small groups with a choice of two self-guided art walking tours. I’d never been to Newcastle before so it was a great chance to explore. Our tour was an odd mixture of civic statues and contemporary pieces which sometimes took us a while to find, and we tried to look around us at what wasn’t on the tour map as well. We then quickly made our way down to the magnificent Tyne and across the Millennium Bridge to Gateshead and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts. We split into two groups, and my group had a bit of time to explore the galleries before hearing from Gary Malkin, Archivist and Librarian. Gary told us the story of the development of BALTIC, from its previous life as a flour mill, and how it fits into the local area, particularly in relation to Gateshead. He then faced numerous questions from students and staff alike. After the talk we had more time to look round or grab a coffee, before walking back over the Tyne to Newcastle. We detoured through the centre of Newcastle and then made our way to the brilliantly Victorian Mining Institute. We all sat in the steep-sided semi-circular lecture theatre and learned about the history (and geography!) of local coal-mining in a very enthusiastic talk. Then we drove back to Durham. After dinner we walked over to the slightly posher St Mary’s College for a debriefing and discussion of the day. We also prepared for our small group activities on the following afternoon, before our work for the day was done.”

First year geographers by the Angel of the North © Dr Kathryn Yusoff

“We continued to have warm sunny weather, and our first stop of the morning was at the Angel of the North. The Angel, which had looked quite small from the coach, loomed over us and looked spectacular against the blue sky. Everyone lined up for a picture, although I was too busy taking my own! Then we drove on to Beamish Museum, the ‘Living Museum of the North.’ We made our way to the Edwardian town, which was full of commercial advertising and merchandising. It had a very popular Fry’s chocolate shop, as well as a bakers, a pub, stables and some very gleaming engines. We had a talk in Barclays bank from Simon Wolley, Head of Learning, who was very honest about some of the difficult discussions and decisions that surround a heritage display of the past. He also gave us the context of the foundation of Beamish, some idea of its future and expanded on its ever increasing popularity. Some people hopped on a tram back, while others of us made a quick detour through the colliery on our way back to the coaches.

In the afternoon we split into seven groups for really diverse and interesting activities. These ranged from talking to the manager and users of African Community Advice North East at the Byker estate to hearing from a Financial Inclusion Consultant and conducting a credit mapping exercise. Our group was lucky enough to be given a tour of Antony Gormley’s studios in Hexham and to chat to the studio manager, although no photos were allowed! We came back for dinner tired out but buzzing with ideas for the presentation on Friday.”

“We had a lie in on our last morning and, after vacating our rooms, headed to St Marys for a debriefing and the students broke up into small groups to create their presentations. After entertaining and thoughtful presentations we had a few hours left before our train back. Our train got back to Kings Cross at quarter to nine and after an enjoyable trip we were happy to get home.”

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Field trip season 2016 comes to an end

Date added: Monday, June 13, 2016

Tanzina’s success story

Date added: Monday, August 1, 2016

QMUL People – Professor Dave Horne

Date added: Monday, December 19, 2016

Masters graduate awarded for excellent dissertation

Date added: Thursday, April 21, 2016

Postgraduate students celebrate at winter graduation

Date added: Thursday, December 8, 2016

Field trip memo: An adventure in New Zealand

Date added: Monday, June 13, 2016

Field trip memo: Boston Reworked

Date added: Monday, June 13, 2016

Field trip memo: Durham diaries

Date added: Monday, June 13, 2016

Event Recap: Geography Alumni Reunion 2016

Date added: Thursday, December 1, 2016

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