“Going public” with geography

This panel-led discussion session reflects on the constraints, risks and opportunities of “going public” with geography. In recent years there has been renewed emphasis placed on the importance of communicating research and creating “impact”.  This emphasis can be highly productive, and in Aotearoa New Zealand is reflective of a tradition of doing grounded research. In particular, Kaupapa Mâori has been very influential in provoking discussion and change in terms of what is done with information generated from research, and wider responsibilities that come with research design, conduct, and dissemination. Yet leading or participating in debates about controversial issues can generate perverse effects, particularly when combined with current funding structures. Furthermore, it can be difficult to demonstrate the direct impact of, for instance, critical geographies. This session aims to examine what it means to be critical and what it means politically, financially and personally for researchers and those we work with when geography goes public.

To form our panel of discussants, we invite contributions that examine:

-          Instances where research has been politicising, driving geographers (and other researchers) to be more public (widely defined).

-          How Indigenous knowledge and sciences are received and engaged with in public forums.

-          How and why research is funded, and how this disciplines what can be researched and how, and what is done with the results (Mountz et al. forthcoming). We would like to extend a particular invitation to those who have experience with Crown Research Institutes.

-          Whether the current paradigm constrains deeply theoretical work (that is more difficult to directly link to “impact” for publics) and whether this reinforces tendencies to “look North” for theoretical leadership.

-          What our role is within current trajectories towards science-informed rather than science-led policy development.

-          Examples of presenting critical research to government authorities and/ or industry, and examples of public research shaping policy and decision making.

-          How can we initiate and engage discussion about research? How can we engage with mainstream or other media? What possibilities exist to collaborate with communities to co-produce knowledge and strengthen public and critical voices?

Please send an outline (250 words or less) of your possible contribution to Amanda Thomas, VUW (amandacarolinethomas@gmail.com), Nick Kirk, Lincoln University (nicholas.a.kirk@gmail.com) and Ronlyn Duncan, Lincoln University (Ronlyn.Duncan@lincoln.ac.nz) by 5 October 2015




Dr Ronlyn Duncan

Lecturer in Water Management

Deputy Department Postgraduate Convenor


Department of Environmental Management

Room 174

NRE Building

P O Box 85084

Lincoln University

Lincoln 7647, Christchurch, New Zealand


p +64 3 4230427 | f +64 3 325 3845

e Ronlyn.Duncan@lincoln.ac.nz | w www.lincoln.ac.nz


Lincoln University, Te Whare Wânaka o Aoraki

New Zealand's Specialist Land-Based University




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