PERG Workshop 2018

RGS Planning Environment Research Group (PERG) Workshop

University of Exeter

11-12th January 2018


The Planning and Environment Research Group (PERG) want to thank all those who attended our two-day Early Careers Workshop in Exeter (January 2018).

Participants were treated to a variety of papers, from personal carbon accounting, participatory urban redevelopment, repowering & decommissioning windfarms, to behaviour change and encounters at the zoo. The scope and quality of the research presented over the workshop was fantastic to see. Along with offering feedback on the presentations. The workshop held panel and discussion sessions on preparing research for publication and academic career development.



The committee would like to thank all those who attended the workshop.

Call for papers: Sustainable Transitions

Aims of the workshop

This PERG workshop is designed to bring together those with research interests in the planning and environment field, particularly early career academics. The workshop will feature a varied format, including paper and discussion sessions, a career development workshop (for those wishing to remain in and also work outside academia) and a ‘how to publish’ session.  Our aim is to create a constructive and welcoming space for new and established researchers to learn from each other.

Thematic call for papers

There is general agreement across the political divide that in the face of the important challenges of climate change and energy security, and the myriad associated economic, social, and political issues entwined with these challenges, there is a need to alter the trajectories of current socio-technological development. There is however substantial differentiation in relation to what particular ‘sustainable transitions’ would look like, and what policy frameworks, planning procedures, and political decisions will enable different ‘transitions’ to occur.  These are central concerns for PERG. Many different visions of sustainable transitions are discernible in the varied settings of the current policy landscape: in the UK context for example, there appears to be a centralisation of sustainable development policy through planning reforms and the development of National Policy Statement’s (NPS’s) as one example, whereas on the other hand, grassroots, community-led forms of transition such as Transition Towns, offer models based around different geographical scales, technological choices, forms of public engagement, and actors involved in the transition process. Whilst the household level or more decentralised technological choices such as renewables are vitally important, the context which enables certain innovative developments is often framed nationally – the different technological and political choices pursued by the devolved Scottish government, in comparison to the rest of the UK for example, or indeed the different policy contexts shaped pursued by Germany and the UK, as another. These illustrate the complex and varied moments involved when sustainable transitions are considered, which get beyond one dimensional technocratic solutions. The differing spatialities, technologies, planning procedures, public engagement mechanisms, international, national, regional, and local policy frameworks, political and democratic interventions, and the relations between these moments, are worthy of exploration as the relation between the message of climate science as to the scope of the challenge, and the current policy implementation and decision-making frameworks, appear increasingly asymmetrical.  Themes for the workshop could include (but are not limited to):

  • The uneven geographies of transition
  • Energy choices and transition pathways
  • Planning reform in a carbon constrained world
  • Climate change negotiations/Geo-politics of climate change and planning
  • Behavioural change and sustainable transitions
  • Grassroots and community-led approaches to transition
  • Sustainable development, climate change and the political
  • STS and materialist approaches to sustainable transitions
  • Public engagement and democratic accountability within sustainable transitions
  • Co-producing knowledge and practice for sustainability
  • Household approaches to sustainable transitions
  • Planning and sustainable transitions in the context of austerity.


Participants are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to either Stewart Barr ( or Ewan Woodley ( no later than 5th November 2017. Acceptance will be confirmed by November 10th. The plan will be that papers of 3,000 words will be written for discussion and sent to the organisers by 20th December 2017. Following the model of a successful PERG event three years ago, authors will present their paper in a 10-15 minute presentation, followed by a broader group-based discussion of the written paper, facilitated by an established academic discussant, who will have read the paper beforehand and who can provide comments and advice. This will support authors and other participants in preparing their research for publication / dissemination.

Programme outline

On the first day, there will be a workshop geared towards postgraduates and early career researchers, which will involve senior academics related to PERG discussing and answering questions related to the publication process and career development. This will be followed by the first paper session. A paper session will also take place on the morning and afternoon of the second day. There will be a workshop dinner on the evening of the first day.

Registration and costs

Registration will open after the November 10th, once abstracts have been accepted.

The cost for attending the workshop will be £15. This covers room bookings and two lunches, plus coffee breaks.

Attendees will need to book and pay for their own accommodation. There are a range of accommodation options available in the vicinity of the University of Exeter, Streatham campus. Please see the following web link for details of local accommodation:

Postgraduate travel bursaries:

We have a limited number of travel and accommodation bursaries available to cover standard class return travel to the workshop within the UK and Ireland, along with one night’s hotel accommodation in Exeter. Please indicate when you register (after the 10th November) if you would like to be considered for a bursary. Funding will be allocated to students who cannot gain funding from other sources within their department.


There is no University accommodation available for the date of the symposium, but there is a wide range of bed and breakfast accommodation near to the University campus. Details of hotels and B&B’s can be found on the City Council’s website at:

Places convenient for the campus include the Premier Inn (Exeter St. David’s or City Centre) Bendene, Braemar, Clock Tower, Park View, Raffles, Telstar, Woodbine and the Premier Inn at St. David’s Station.