RGS-IBG Annual Conference Reports (2018)

RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2018, Tuesday 28 to Friday 31 August 2018, Cardiff University, Wales

The following reports are of PERG sponsored and co-sponsored sessions from the 2018 annual conference:

“Beyond a Standardised Urban Lexicon: Which Vocabulary Matters?”

Two panels were convened at the 2018 RGS on re-imagining new geographies that are better representative and inclusive of local urbanisms in cities of the Global South. Under the overarching title “Beyond a Standardised Urban Lexicon: Which Vocabulary Matters”, the panels aimed to question mainstream discourses in urban studies, and put forward new conceptualisations from Southern cities on housing, gentrification, aesthetics, infrastructure, among others. Our call for papers received over 15 submissions, and we settled on a selection of 10 papers that would represent different regions, urban policies, and grassroots experiences. Eight papers were presented that tackled a diversity of topics such as evictions in Istanbul, worker housing in Mumbai and Dhaka, water access in Cairo, the meaning of public art in cities of East Europe, the ‘favelaisation’ of Rio, aesthetics and transport policy in Delhi, localising gentrification in South Asia, and questioning the postcolonial city.

The panels were very well attended and several members of the audience expressed their interest in further collaborations on the topic. Chaired by two top scholars- Dr. Aseem Inam, Cardiff University and Dr. Charlotte Lemanski, University of Cambridge, the sessions provoked in-depth questions from the audience and created networking opportunities for post-graduate students with academics in the field. The support of research groups- Planning and Environment Research Group (PERG), Postgraduate Forum, Urban Geography Research Group (UGRG), and the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG) were especially important in the promotion of the panels and relieving the financial burden for students to attend the RGS.


‘Critical Reflections on the Changing Landscapes of Food Waste’

The 2018 RGS-IBG annual conference included two PERG sponsored sessions entitled ‘Critical Reflections on the Changing Landscapes of Food Waste’. These morning panels focused on food waste and redistribution respectively and were very well received. The papers covered a wide range of topic areas, including the role of the food waste hierarchy in the (un)sustainable management of food (both theoretically and empirically) and the negative effects of neoliberal environmentalism in the context of food waste and the retail sector. Redistribution was then considered from a number of geographical contexts (e.g., UK and US) and a variety of different perspectives. Papers addressed the hidden movement of surplus food, the implementation of the Courtauld Commitment, the social value of food waste and the role of new materialist approaches. A lively discussion followed, addressing the problematic nature of dominant approaches and the feasibility of proposed alternatives. The interdisciplinary nature of the session allowed for a variety of academic perspectives (e.g., geography, politics) and methodologies (e.g., survey work, interviews) as well as a wide range of comments and contributions from the audience. Reflecting on its initial intentions and overall outcomes, the session successfully addressed the discursive construction of food waste and its material governance, shifting categorisations of food as it moves towards waste and the importance of accounting and accountability in mobilising actions. Both the papers and the discussion made a valuable contribution to the important work that is being done in this area.